UFS hosts the 3rd Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program
The Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program (SA-YSSP) is a 3-month program designed to develop capacity in systems analysis and expose scholars to an array of additional competencies and skills required to be successful in knowledge-driven societies. It is jointly organized by the University of the Free State (UFS), the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). As UFS welcomed participants of the third SA-YSSP, two exciting announcements were made at the opening ceremony held on 3 November 2014. Firstly, the Deputy-Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, announced that the DST will fund a second 3-year cycle of the summer program. Secondly, Mr Nathaniel Tindall, Ms Delin Fang and Ms Seuneu Tchamga from the class of 2013 were announced as recipients of the first IIASA-NRF systems analysis scholarship which affords them the opportunity to spend up to 6 months at IIASA to continue their research. The three top participants of the class of 2014 will also receive the same opportunity following an internal and external review of the papers resulting from their SA-YSSP research project.
The young scientists presented their preliminary findings at the mid-program workshop which was held on 10-11 December 2014 and streamed live to audiences around the globe. They will depart shortly for a week-long capacity development seminar on translating research to policy and practice, hosted by the African Doctoral Academy at Stellenbosch University. The week will culminate in a policy colloquium with presentations by inter alia Dr Phil Mjwara, Director-General, Department of Science and Technology; Prof Daya Reddy, President of the Academy of Science of South Africa and Dr Vuy Mahlati of the National Planning Commission.
At the conclusion of the 3-month summer program, the young scientists will present their findings in a colloquium scheduled for 29-30 January 2015 in the CR Swart Auditorium on the Bloemfontein campus of the UFS. The presentations will also be streamed live via http://livestream.ufs.ac.za/ and questions or comments to the speakers can be relayed in real time on twitter using the hashtag #SAYSSP. On 30 January, the program will commence with a lecture entitled World population trends and adaptive capacity to climate change presented by Prof Wolfgang Lutz, Director: World Population Program, IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria and Founding Director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna, Austria.
The SA-YSSP is a strategic partnership between the DST, NRF, IIASA and UFS which allows for an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving and solution-finding in the areas of energy security, climate change, food and water security and poverty alleviation and equity, all of which are aligned with the research priorities outlined in the DST’s Ten-Year Innovation Plan. Visit www.ufs.ac.za/sa-yssp or www.iiasa.ac.at/sa-yssp for additional information on the SA-YSSP.