The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) was inaugurated in May 1996 by the former President of South Africa and patron of the Academy, Nelson Mandela.
For about one century, two bodies aspired to the position of being South Africa’s national science academy – the Royal Society of South Africa (RSSAf), with a royal charter
The benefits that the Academy aspires to bring to South Africa (and the wider world) are the sustainable provision of a professionally managed organisation that can mobilise the best intellect, expertise and experience.
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) aspires to be the apex organisation for science and scholarship in South Africa, recognised and connected both nationally and internationally.
ASSAf, in its unique position as the only national science academy that is officially recognised by the South African government through the ASSAf Act (Act 67 of 2001), as amended, aims to provide evidence-based scientific advice on issues of public interest to government and other stakeholders.
ASSAf’s strength resides in the quality and diversity of its Membership; internationally renowned scholars elected by peers, who give of their time voluntarily in the service of society. The Members are regarded as the ‘brains trust’ of the nation. ASSAf uses its Members as a collective resource for evidence-based solutions to problems.
The key objective of the Academy is to promote and apply scientific thinking in the service of society.
The strategic priorities of the Academy are closely matched to those of the nation.
The core function of any national science academy is to honour and recognise the country’s most outstanding and celebrated scholars by electing them to Membership of the Academy.
ASSAf Members are drawn from the full discipline spectrum. In 2016, ASSAf has 501 Members drawn by self-categorisation from 11 categories. ASSAf is self-perpetuating and new Members are elected annually.
The ASSAf Council comprises 12 members elected by the membership as a 13th member appointed by the Minister of Science and Technology as a representative of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI).