July 2013
Contents / home
Debates winners in New York
SA learners scoop silver in Beijing
SA scientist impresses in FameLab
Nanotech draws attention in Kenya
SAASTA salutes David Block
Science Centre CEO awarded
Young science brainpower awarded
75 years of coelacanth research
Join in recording the diversity of life
Open your own Science Spaza
The Universe is expanding
"Space Skype" links kids
Coastal and marine science in SA
Internship programme
A scientist for a day
iThemba LABS - advancing knowledge
Ex ZooClub members' success
In the news
Upcoming events
It's a fact!

Nanotechnology holds audience spellbound at Kenya's National Science Week

  Kenya's National Science Week celebrates the role of science, technology and innovation in the socio-economic development of the country.
  Delegates included, from left: Dr Soichiro Shiraishi, Resident Director of the Nairobi Research Station; Dr Peter Ndemere, (Executive Secretary of the Uganda National Council for Science and Engineering); Dr Kevit Desai, Chairman of LIWA Kenya Trust, a link between the private sector and academia, Prof. Shaukat Abdulrazaka, CEO of the Kenya National Commission of Science and Technology; Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka, Programme Coordinator of Nanotechnology Public Engagement Programme (NPEP) and HYSA Public Awareness Platform, SAASTA, South Africa.
The National Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Week, organised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, is a major event on the annual calendar of the Kenyan Government.

It has been set aside to showcase and celebrate the role of ST&I in the socio-economic development of the country. The main objective is to encourage the scientific community and the public to participate in scientific engagements towards addressing critical national problems.

The event brings together, in a collaborative way, various role players in the country's national innovation system - consisting of academia, industry and government - to share and engage in ST&I issues. Activities include paper presentations in a scientific conference; an exhibition of innovations from individual innovators, students from institutions of higher learning and high schools; as well as robot contests by tertiary institutions.

The theme for 2013, "Science, Technology and Innovation for the realisation of Kenya's Vision 2030 and beyond" is aligned with the national vision to transform Kenya into a newly industrialised, middle-income country providing a high-quality life to all its citizens in a safe and secure environment by the year 2030.

Nanotechnology, the science of the future

SAASTA representatives Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka and Sizwe Khoza were invited to participate in this year's festival in Nairobi on behalf of the Nanotechnology Public Engagement Programme (NPEP).

Zamxaka delivered a stirring presentation titled Nanotechnology Public Engagement: The Case of South Africa. He introduced the topic of nanotechnology, focusing on engagement, outreach and awareness. Although many applications of nanotechnology were shared with the audience, it was the technology's potential in solving health/medical problems that kept the audience engrossed.

Zamxaka touched on a number of nanotechnologies that are currently being applied, such as the research conducted by the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland on biodegradable nano-sized particles that can easily slip through the body's sticky and viscous mucus secretions to deliver a sustained-release medication cargo. It is believed that these nanoparticles, which degrade over time into harmless components, could one day carry life-saving drugs to patients suffering from dozens of health conditions, including diseases of the eye, lung, gut or female reproductive tract.

Festival outcomes

The festival was a huge success - realising the expected output of creating awareness around science and technology in Kenya, enhancing the overall objective of public understanding of the benefits and consequences of scientific inventions; and accomplishing innovative scientific solutions for the future.

By Daphney Molewa, SAASTA