ASSAf Programmes

Science Advisory Programme

In order for ASSAf to fulfil its science advisory role regarding key challenges facing the nation, a variety of consensus and assessment studies are undertaken. Activities are aligned closely with government’s strategic goals. ASSAf has expanded its science advisory activities to include the publication of not only in-depth consensus study reports, but also policymakers’ booklets on key topics and commentaries on national policies. Evidence-based study activities form the core of the Academy’s function and are aimed at providing science advice to government on a range of topics to support policy development. ASSAf’s science advisory activities are guided by its Standing Committees, which provide strategic direction and guidance. ASSAf has Standing Committees on Health; Scholarly Publishing in South Africa; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education; Biosafety and Biosecurity; Humanities; and Science for the Reduction of Poverty and Inequality.

ASSAf established a Standing Committee on Biosafety and Biosecurity in 2009 to raise awareness of biorisks and promote the conduct of safe science.

Climate change is currently one of the most critical global issues facing the world. ASSAf’s activities in this area are selected to complement research efforts of climate scientists in South Africa.

Energy is an important driver of economic development. ASSAf has established energy as a core focus area and is building a substantial portfolio of activities.

Recently, ASSAf commenced activities which can be broadly categorised under the theme of environment and health.

Given the critical importance of health issues for South Africa, health forms a strong focus of ASSAf’s activities. A Standing Committee on Health, established in 2011, provides strategic direction to the Academy.

ASSAf’s Membership embraces the full disciplinary spectrum and includes many Members from the broad Humanities and Social Science (HSS) disciplines. ASSAf is committed to ensuring that the HSS disciplines are a focus of attention.

ASSAf originally constituted its Standing Committee on Science for Poverty Alleviation (CSfPA) in 2006 to contribute to one of the five new national missions outlined in South Africa’s Research and Development (R&D) Strategy.

ASSAf is ideally positioned to provide regular assessments of the state of science in South Africa, given its ability to draw on the expertise of its Members and its reputation as an impartial and credible voice.

ASSAf established a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Standing Committee in 2008 to provide strategic direction to the Academy’s role in the STEM education field.

Water is a fundamental concern of virtually every nation, playing a diverse and often inter-dependent but vital role in the individual and collective lives of its entire citizenry.


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