To all Media
01 October 2015
DAAD/SAASTA symposium to inspire the next generation of science communicators
The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), in collaboration with the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) (or German Academic Exchange Service), will host the first DAAD/SAASTA Science Communication Symposium tomorrow and Saturday, 2-3 October 2015.
The event will take place at the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement Auditorium – 211 Nana Sita Street, Didacta Building, Pretoria Central.
Ten science postgraduate students under the DAAD scholarship programme from various South African Universities, such as the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Cape Town, are expected to attend the symposium. These students will explore why communicating science is important, especially in South Africa, and the benefits of communicating science.
Science communication benefits include influencing change in behaviours and attitudes in society, informing discussions and debates on research findings and using opportunities to correct misinformation or misconceptions.
Further, it is expected that the symposium will help them improve their science communication skills. “The importance of science communication in South Africa cannot be overstated,” said one of the participants Dr Nelusha Shunmoogam-Gounden, an NRF Postdoctoral Fellow in Pharmacology.
“The importance of science is well known but the very understanding of the various research and development projects that take place in the institutions of South Africa are lost to the masses.”
According to Maryam Bibi, a PhD student in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Cape Town, science communication can be thought of as the ability to convey scientific information to those often referred to as “layman”.
“The German Academic Exchange Service believes that the Science Communication symposium is the important to develop future science communicators for the future and teach the next generation of scientists the necessary communication tools now, because it will make it easier for them later on in their careers to communicate their research work ,” said DAAD South Africa Communication Officer, Ms Meghan Beukes.
Mr Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka, Science Communicator at SAASTA, believes that the symposium would come in handy for the participants. “As the next generation of scientists and researchers, it is very important for postgraduate students to develop science communication skills in order to communicate their scientific research to various audiences using different platforms,” he added.
The two day symposium aims to train postgraduate students on how to become science communicators in the near future. It will further explore opportunities for postgraduate students to collaborate with SAASTA in science engagement initiatives.
Date: Friday 02 October 2015
About the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA)
SAASTA is a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF) with the mandate to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of science, engineering and technology in South Africa.
SAASTA’s contribution to the NRF’s vision is to grow the pool of quality learners today who will become the scientists and innovators of tomorrow.
It aims to be the leading science advancement agency in the country by promoting and communicating the value and impact of science, technology and innovation in a dynamic knowledge economy. It also intends to contribute significantly towards building a science, engineering and technology (SET) human resource base.