Improved Nutritional Assessment in South Africa
The study was conceived as a follow-up to the consensus report on HIV/AIDS, TB and Nutrition (2007). One of the key findings of the 2007 report was the (surprising) national deficit in modern nutritional assessment methods, particularly tests of micronutrient status that were grounded in the most up-to-date understandings of relevant physiology and pathological chemistry. The aim of the follow-up study is to address this finding, seeking to identify the best assessment modes to contribute to the prevention and treatment of these pandemic infectious conditions in the country. The six micronutrients identified as being most significant are vitamins A and D, folate, and the trace elements, zinc, selenium and iron.
State of Humanities in South Africa
This consensus study aims to examine the present status and role of the Humanities in South Africa and to suggest ways to strengthen and advance the contribution of the Humanities to national life and development in South Africa.
Low Carbon Cities
The Academy will be conducting a Consensus Study on Low Carbon Cities. The overall goal of the study is to identify key areas of intervention that would position Durban on a pathway towards a low carbon city. The study has been commissioned by the Environmental Management Unit of the eThekwini Municipality (City of Durban). The panel is led by the Executive Officer of ASSAf, Prof Roseanne Diab. The study is financially supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)
Restricted Section for LCC Panel Members
Science for Poverty Alleviation
ASSAf originally constituted its Committee on Science for Poverty Alleviation (CSfPA) to contribute to one of the five new national missions outlined in South Africa’s R&D Strategy. The Committee was augmented in 2007 to generate forum-type studies of selected topics in three broad areas to assist government policy-makers and others, in the fight to alleviate poverty in South Africa. The three broad multidisciplinary areas were: small-scale agriculture; health of poor communities; and general environmental and other sustainability aspects of smaller (secondary) cities. The committee is working on the following projects:
Improving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) in Africa
The project aimed to raise awareness on the extent of maternal, newborn, and child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and to identify recent lessons from evidence-based interventions in maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). The main product of this project was a policy-makers’ booklet produced by ASSAf on behalf of all African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI) academies, including South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and the US National Academies. The booklet was to be distributed at the ASADI-V meeting in Ghana in November 2009. Click here to view booklet.
Genetically Modified Organisms in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities
The study aimed at engaging African scientists in assessing the current challenges, opportunities and risks associated with the use of GMOs. It was undertaken in collaboration with the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) and the Uganda National Academies of Sciences (UNAS). Click here to view report.
Improving Energy Access in Africa
This study has embarked on a forum-based study on “Improving Energy Access in Africa”, which has been identified as a theme for the sixth African Science Academies Development Initiative (ASADI VI) which was hosted by the ASSAf in November 2010. A preliminary planning meeting attended by South African energy experts and representatives from African science academies was held on 23 September 2009. General themes for the follow-up workshops to be hosted by ASSAf were identified. It is planned to incorporate representatives from Mauritius, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in these follow-up workshops as part of the development of science academies in southern Africa initiative. A policy makers booklet was published as an outcome of this study.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education
This forum-type study aims to serve as the interface between academic institutions and education authorities in matters related to school curricula. It will, inter alia, review examinations and assessment at school level and investigate curriculum concerns. ASSAf is also involved in an InterAcademy Panel-funded collaborative project with other African Academies, aimed at reviewing and analysing policies and best practices in science education in each of the countries.
A Standing Committee on Biosafety has been established to investigate oversight mechanisms in South Africa to regulate the conduct of safe science; to raise awareness of scientists about risks involved; and to address the extent of the implementation of biosafety measures in laboratories and what needs to be improved.