January 2015
Contents / home
Bloodhound's supersonic quest
Deputy Minister visits SAASTA
SAASTA Highlights Report
SAASTA takes science to Beijing
Natural Science Olympiad
Community media pilot project
Crystallography kits for schools
PUB celebrates 10 years of biotech
Reaching visually impaired learners
School debate finals
Science communication workshops
KAT-7 seen as design highlight
Meet Nithaya Chetty
Eskom Expo 2014
SKA SA exhibits at BRICS EXPO
Algoa Bay Hope Spot launched
Inspiring environmental scientists
In the news
Upcoming events
It's a fact!

The NRF is geared to engage people with science

  Joanne Riley, Science Editor in SAASTA's Science Communication unit, presents an "Introduction to Science Communication" workshop at the University of Limpopo
The Science Communication team at SAASTA has been involved in drawing up a strategic plan to integrate Science Engagement more consistently across NRF-funded projects. As part of the plan, emerging researchers are already being invited to SAASTA's various science communication development workshops, critical thinkers' forums and round tables.

The renewal of the NRF's Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA) division during 2012/2013 saw an emphasis placed on the value of communication of research and broader engagement with public audiences. This is requiring a more integrated approach to science communication and engagement across the NRF as a whole. SAASTA will assist to ensure that the knowledge that is produced through NRF funding is more widely disseminated, shared, understood, and used broadly for the common good, especially by the general public.

Rich pool of experts

The national facilities and NRF-funded researchers, particularly emerging researchers, provide a rich pool of experts who can play a crucial role in engaging the public with science, engineering and technology and inspiring learners to pursue careers in science. The integration concept will afford NRF-funded researchers, including established and emerging researchers, the opportunity to be involved in various aspects of science communication, outreach and awareness.

Emerging researchers will not have to reinvent the wheel, but can join existing and established outreach and awareness activities. Researchers can get involved at a strategic level and use public engagement as a tool to reach the public or specific communities with their research.

Science communication workshops

Grant holders of the NRF's Thuthuka funding instrument participated enthusiastically in science communication workshops at the Universities of Limpopo, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal recently. The participants represented diverse fields including health sciences, water research, biological sciences, agricultural sciences, educational studies, social science and humanities.

The introduction of key concepts in science communication initiated lively discussions around responsible communication, challenges in communicating science and opportunities for communication. The participants also shared their insight into the perceptions around science in their local communities.

Feedback from the workshops has been positive. Many participants have requested further workshops to delve more deeply into science communication through specific platforms such as radio, TV, popular writing and social media.