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IYBSSD launches in South Africa

Thursday,25 August 2022 marks the launch of the United Nations International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD) in South Africa. This occasion will take the form of a virtual roundtable facilitated by Prof Himla Soodyall, Executive Officer, Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

The IYBSSD was officially inaugurated with an opening ceremony on 8 July 2022 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and aims to mobilise stakeholders at all levels for a better integration of scientific results into public decision-making processes and for the inclusive development of basic sciences. Basic sciences need the input of the Global South, especially from Africa, where half of the world’s people under 25 years of age will still be alive by 2050.  Dr Bonginkosi Emmanuel “Blade” Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science & Innovation, represented  South Africa at the opening ceremony. ASSAf will coordinate South African participation on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and National Research Foundation (NRF).

Prof Jonathan Jansen, President of ASSAf will lead a session at the roundtable on the Interdisciplinarity between Basic Sciences and the Social Sciences and Humanities in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

This will be followed by a session comprising of thematic presentations moderated by Prof Stephanie Burton (Vice-President of the ASSAf Council and President of the Royal Society of South Africa, among others). The thematic presentations will address using basic sciences to accelerate innovation to achieve the SDGs, Dr Sudesh Sivarasu, Co-chair: South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS); using science to inspire the next generation of scientists, Dr Beverley Damonse, Group Executive: Science Engagement and Corporate Relations, National Research Foundation (NRF) and the public engagement of science, Dr Nnditshedzeni Eric Maluta, HoD and Coordinator: Vuwana Science Resource Centre, University of Venda.

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) takes great pride in coordinating South African participation in the IYBSSD on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and National Research Foundation (NRF).

More information

Media are invited to attend the roundtable. Click here to register and receive the Zoom meeting room link.

Ina Smith –

Henriette Wagener –


Issued by the Academy of Science of South Africa

ASSAf was inaugurated in May 1996. It was formed in response to the need for an Academy of Science consonant with the dawn of democracy in South Africa: activist in its mission of using science and scholarship for the benefit of society, with a mandate encompassing all scholarly disciplines that use an open-minded and evidence-based approach to build knowledge.

ASSAf thus adopted in its name the term ‘science’ in the singular as reflecting a common way of enquiring rather than an aggregation of different disciplines. Its Members are elected on the basis of a combination of two principal criteria, academic excellence and significant contributions to society. 

The Parliament of South Africa passed the Academy of Science of South Africa Act (Act 67 of 2001), which came into force on 15 May 2002. This made ASSAf the only academy of science in South Africa officially recognised by government and representing the country in the international community of science academies and elsewhere.