National liaison activities focus on promoting science within the country.
Recognition of Excellence through Awards
ASSAf Science-for-Society Gold Medals are the apex awards of the Academy and the South African science system and are awarded in recognition of outstanding achievements by individuals. Up to two gold medals are awarded per annum for outstanding achievement in scientific thinking for the benefit of society.
AU-TWAS Prize for Young Scientists
The AU-TWAS award scheme aims to recognise and reward talented young scientists in Africa. The AU-TWAS Prize for Young Scientists in South Africa is managed by ASSAf, on behalf of its partners, the African Union Commission (AUC), TWAS and the DST. Through this award, the AU and TWAS jointly recognise and reward an outstanding scientist in South Africa. The recipient should be under the age of 40, living and working in South Africa, and have a record of research publications in internationally recognised science journals.
Sydney Brenner Fellowships (suspended)
The Sydney Brenner Fellowships, administered by the Academy and supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (OMT). The award was established when Dr Sydney Brenner donated a portion of his 2002 Nobel Prize to ASSAf to permit ASSAf (in partnership with the OMT) to offer a prestigious postdoctoral Fellowship for research in molecular biology to be undertaken in South Africa over two years by an outstanding young scientist. The emphasis in the selection is on the excellence of the academic track record; evidence of unusual creativity and ingenuity in addressing scientific problems; both the novelty and feasibility of the proposed approach; and the quality, adequacy and appropriateness of the host environment.
Committee of Heads of Organisations for Research and Technology (COHORT)
ASSAf acts as secretariat to the Committee of Heads of Organisations for Research and Technology (COHORT).
Regional and National Lectures
Scholarly lectures provide an opportunity for South African researchers to engage with leading international scholars and at the same time raise the profile of the Academy and promote relations with other organisations. ASSAf also annually hosts a Distinguished Visiting Scholar. Regional lectures, in collaboration with the Royal Society of South Africa, are offered on a regular basis at UCT.
ASSAf Distinguished Visiting Scholars
The Academy annually invites one or more distinguished scholars from abroad to present lectures at various higher education institutions around the country. The scholars are internationally prominent academics who are inspirational speakers and usually with an ability to bridge the divides between disciplines.
The purpose of the Distinguished Visiting Scholars’ Programme is to fulfill one of the Academy’s strategic goals, viz. the promotion of innovation and scholarly activity. Through interaction with distinguished individual scholars from around the world, ASSAf aims to enrich and stimulate research endeavours at South African higher education and research institutions.
South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS)
The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) serves as a platform for young scientists in South Africa. SAYAS aims to contribute towards solutions to national and global challenges facing society; provide a platform for young scientists to influence policy decisions; contribute towards the development of scientific capacity in South Africa through mentoring and role-modelling of future scientists; and foster opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations amongst young scientists.
In addition to SAYAS, young scientist activities at ASSAf include the following:
- Annual Young Scientists' Conference: The theme of the conference is aligned to the African Union year theme
- Dissemination of information on international opportunities
- Database of young scientists in South Africa
- Nomination of young scientists to regional and international activities
- Nomination of young scientists to serve on ASSAf panels