Representatives from SADC countries deliberated on science cooperation in the region at a two-day conference on strengthening collaboration between the science and business communities.
The conference was hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
While southern Africa boasts many excellent science research centres and has an outstanding entrepreneurial community, science and the private sector often sit alongside each other and there are few connections or strategic collaborations. Such collaborations, however, could make a considerable contribution to developing quality scientific solutions that can shape and improve the daily lives of all people in the SADC region.
The purpose of the Science Business Dialogue Conference was to
• deepen participants’ understanding of different aspects of the Science Business Dialogue by providing expert input and discussion;
• enable participants to establish new relevant contacts and networks – with scientists, entrepreneurs and policymakers – within their own field of activity;
• integrate different experiences across the region towards a particular SADC perspective, also moving forward future initiatives and overcoming regional challenges;
• present and discuss a variety of successful Science Business Dialogue models, to serve as inspiration for possible new projects that link science and business.
Topics that were discussed at the conference included The Role of Science for Industrialisation in SADC Region and Bridging the Gap between Science Business Society in the SADC Region, while Food, Nutrition, Security and Sustainable Agriculture will also be highlighted.
Mr Daan du Toit, Deputy Director-General, DST, delivered the keynote address while Prof Francis Peterson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, presented an overview of Science, Business and Society in the SADC region.
The conference was attended by some 100 participants from the SADC region including Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania, Angola, Congo, Seychelles, Mauritius, Swaziland, Namibia and Kenya. Representatives from Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom are also expected. The conference was attended by His Excellency Mr Walter Lindner, German Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa and Prof Volker ter Meulen, Immediate Past-President, German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, among others.