Professor Jerome Singh, Head of CAPRISA’s Bioethics Department, was recently elected as one of the founding members and Cochairperson of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).
SAYAS was officially launched by the Deputy Minister for Science and Technology, Mr Derek Hanekom, on Tuesday, 26 September at a function in Pretoria. Twenty leading young scientists were inaugurated as founder members of SAYAS.
The group were selected from among the best scientific minds in South Africa and represent a diverse range of talent in terms of race, gender and scientific discipline.SAYAS was borne out of the
need for young scientists to contribute towards solutions to the important national and global
challenges facing society. It will represent the voice of young scientists on national and international
issues and give them a platform to influence policy decisions. It is envisaged that SAYAS would become one of the apex advisory structures to government on science and policy matters, along with Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the SA National Innovation Council and the Council for Higher Education.
SAYAS also aims to contribute towards the development of scientific capacity in South Africa through mentoring and rolemodelling of future scientists, and by fostering opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations between young scientists. It particular, it will bridge the gap left between the more senior and well established Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the younger scientists who represent the future but are not part of ASSAf. SAYAS will also promote science awareness among learners, young scientists and society in general and act as a bridge between young and senior scientists. At a global level, SAYAS will link up with
the Global Young Academy of sciences to provide opportunities for South African young scientists to interact internationally with other young scientists. ASSAf has blessed the formation of SAYAS, recognizing the importance of establishing a forum for younger scientists and has provided support for turning the concept into a reality. The Department of Science and Technology has also given its approval and will meet with SAYAS in the near future to discuss future opportunities. SAYAS was taken from a concept to launch by a dedicated team of young scientists working with ASSAf in less than a year. At the first General Assembly, the founding members thanked the working group for their dedicated hard work and promised to work hard to make SAYAS a success.
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