NRF Science Engagement Forum: Fostering Integration and Innovation in Science Engagement

16 November 2023

Science Engagement Forum 2023

The National Research Foundation (NRF) Science Engagement Forum, a pivotal initiative dedicated to enhancing science engagement within the organization, unfolded from Monday, November 13, to Wednesday, November 15, 2023. This significant event, hosted both in-person at the NRF Atrium and online, saw the convergence of SE Forum representatives from across NRF Facilities and Business Units, each with their unique expertise in different fields of science, corporate governance and research advancement with the ultimate aim of strengthening collaboration within the NRF’s science engagement operations.

Purpose and Structure: The Science Engagement Forum, chaired by the Managing Director of SAASTA, emphasizes an integrated approach to science engagement within the NRF. The forum ensures effective management, coordination and positioning of science engagement within the NRF, through the direction of the Deputy CEO: RIISA and leadership of the Managing Director of SAASTA.

While the forum under the guidance of the MD of SAASTA, conducts its meetings at least four times a year, with the flexibility for special sessions when required, this time around the focus was a pause to reflect, set our ambitions as we lay a ground towards our business operations endeavour. It is our believe that a more inclusive and collaborative approach is essential to ensure the success of our shared objectives, whilst aligned with the vision of One NRF. The aim is to establish a cohesive environment that accommodates the diverse perspectives of all stakeholders, thus enhancing the effectiveness of our strategic direction.

Working Groups and Problem Statements: Four working groups were formed to address key problem statements

Day 1 – Setting the Stage: The forum kicked off on November 13, 2023, with a Science Engagement Workshop, focusing on an integrated and consolidated approach within the NRF. Dr Mamoeletsi Mosia directed the proceedings, and the day included sessions on NRF overviews, program states, progress mapping, and open discussions.

Day 2 – Strategy Development: On November 14, the emphasis shifted to strategy development under the guidance of Mr. Michael Ellis. The day included discussions on draft problem statements, breakaway sessions, and a closing session highlighting the strategic direction.

Day 3 – Strategy Implementation and Monitoring: The final day, November 15, led by Mrs. Joyce Khunou, delved into strategy implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Presentations on each problem statement, consolidated feedback, and a monitoring and evaluation workshop concluded the comprehensive three-day forum.

The NRF Science Engagement Forum has undoubtedly paved the way for enhanced collaboration, strategic planning, and innovation in science engagement, fostering a stronger connection between the organization and the public.