All international activities are carefully meshed with those of the DST’s own international programme and with the relevant programmes of the NRF.
Science Academy Development Initiative
ASSAf is leading a Southern African Development Community (SADC)-wide initiative in collaboration with the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) to promote the development of science academies in countries where these do not exist.
African Science Academies Development Initiative (ASADI)
ASSAf is a primary partner, together with Nigeria and Uganda, in the African Science Academies Development Initiative (ASADI) programme, funded by the United States National Academies of Sciences (USNAS) through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. ASADI continues to make a major contribution to the development and recognition of ASSAf and for improving cooperation between African science academies and their Members/Fellows. ASSAf is now into its fourth year of ASADI funding.
Each year an African academy hosts an annual meeting. The 2009 ASADI annual meeting, with a focus on Improving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa, took place in Ghana in November 2009. ASSAf will also host the 2010 ASADI annual meeting, the focus of which will be ‘Improving Access to Energy’.
Network of African Science Academies (NASAC)
The Academy is a founder member of NASAC, and is currently a Vice-President. ASSAf has partnered with NASAC on a variety of activities e.g. IAP water project and the initiative to strengthen existing science academies and assist in the creation of new science academies in the southern African region.
InterAcademy Panel (IAP)
ASSAf is one of over 100 member Academies of the IAP, head-quartered in Trieste, Italy. ASSAf can thus enhance its national science academy role within our country by drawing on the experience and capacity of the world’s science academies for South Africa’s benefit. ASSAf has been successful in securing funding for many collaborative projects through the IAP, e.g. Science Education; Water Programme for Africa; and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities. Funding for 2010 has been obtained for a project on inquiry-based Science Education for Girls.
In collaboration with the Water Research Commission (WRC), ASSAf hosted an IAP Water Programme for Africa workshop in June 2008 and produced a report. It continued to participate in the IAP Science Education Study led by the Uganda National Academy of Sciences and participated in the IAP Programme on Digital Knowledge Resources and Infrastructure in China.
InterAcademy Council (IAC)
The President of ASSAf has been elected to serve on the Board of the InterAcademy Council (IAC) for the period 2009 to 2013.
InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP)
ASSAf’s membership of the IAMP provides valuable contact with the main medical academies world-wide.
The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)
ASSAf is an active collaborator of TWAS, which has programmes to stimulate scientific development in developing countries and co-sponsors ASSAf’s Young Scientist Award.
ASSAf has recently established a South African National Chapter of TWAS, as well as a National Chapter for the Third World Organisation of Women Scientists (TWOWS).
ASSAf hosted the 20th General Meeting and the 11th General Conference of TWAS in Durban in October 2009.
The Third World Organisation for Women in Science (TWOWS)
The Third World Organisation for Women in Science (TWOWS) is an international organisation whose central role is to promote women’s access to science and technology (S&T), enhancing their greater involvement in the decision-making processes for the development of their countries and in the international scientific community.
Created in 1989, TWOWS’ overall goal is to work towards bridging the gender gap in S&T. TWOWS uses its forum for intellectual discussions to assist in the development of national capabilities to evolve, explore and improve strategies for increasing female participation in science. ASSAf announced the establishment of a National Chapter of the Third World Organisation for Women in Science (TWOWS) in October 2009. With the establishment of a TWOWS National Chapter, it is planned to initiate activities that will accord strongly with South Africa’s S&T policy of increasing the participation of women in science.
ASSAf participates in the annual meetings of the G8+5 academies, where the national science academies of the 13 countries discuss key issues of common interest and provide evidence-based advice to the heads of state and issue statements ahead of the G8+5 Summit. In March 2009, the meeting took place in Rome and ASSAf contributed to a joint statement on climate change and the transformation of energy technologies for a low-carbon future. A further statement compiled by NASAC, together with individual member academies, was issued on the brain drain problem in Africa.
Bilateral Agreement with the Russian Academy of Sciences
ASSAf participated in joint committee meetings with the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The bilateral agreement with the RAS was strengthened through the joint hosting of a workshop in Cape Town in February 2009. The purpose of the workshop was to identify priority areas of collaboration in the fields of biotechnology, nanotechnology and cyberinfrastructure.