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Finalists announced: 2018/2019 NSTF-South32 Awards   #NSTFawards2019

Posted by Lynette Pieterse on Friday, 31 May 2019 15:45

 

Finalists announced:

2018/2019 NSTF-South32 Awards

Recognising excellence and outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology and innovation in South Africa   #NSTFawards2019


The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) is pleased to announce the group of finalists contending for the prestigious NSTF-South32 Awards. This is the 21st  year of the annual NSTF-South32 Awards.
 
The NSTF-South32 Awards: The NSTF Awards were established in 1998 as a collaborative effort to recognise outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation by SET-related professionals and organisations in South Africa. This includes experienced scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity builders, and organisational managers/leaders, as well as data and research managers.
 
Our partner: South32 is a mining company that de-merged from BHP Billiton in 2016. It took over the co-branding sponsorship agreement for the annual NSTF Awards.
 
The ‘Science Oscars’: The NSTF-South32 Awards are referred to as the ‘Science Oscars’ of South Africa. They are the largest, most comprehensive, and most sought-after national awards of their kind in the country. They were also the first science awards in South Africa.

 
   

 

NSTF-South32 Awards’ theme: The theme for the 2018/2019 NSTF-South32 Awards is the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. This is in recognition of the 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT2019) as declared by the United Nations (UN). The 21st annual Awards Gala Dinner will celebrate this theme on 27 June 2019.

 

 


There are a few changes to categories and criteria this year.

  1. Special Annual Theme Award: The NSTF is making a special theme award this year for a contribution to SET and innovation for Materials for inclusive economic development. This is in recognition of the UN celebration of the IYPT2019. The theme provides a focus on research in materials science and the development of materials to support relevant aspects of economic development in South Africa. 
  2. Communication award: This award for outreach and awareness of SET and innovation within the last 5 years also considered nominations for professional science communicators working in the field.
  3. New partners: The NSTF welcomes two new category partners this year.  The Lewis Foundation is the sponsor for the Green Economy Award. The National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) is the sponsor for the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) award under the Innovation Awards.  The NIPMO sponsorship includes prize money for the Innovation Award: SMME winner.
 

 


A transformed country where SET and innovation contribute to a high quality of life for all who live in South Africa, where the profile of SET professionals is representative of the nation’s diverse population and where the education system is effective, particularly in terms of performance in SET subjects and the promotion of innovation.
 
Realising the vision: The NSTF-South32 Awards is the NSTF’s flagship event and one among other strategic activities through which the NSTF realises this vision. Partnerships for specific awards (such as that with Eskom, Lewis Foundation, NIPMO and the Water Research Commission) recognise contributions that have the potential to make a positive impact on South Africa, and on the world.


It is an extraordinary honour to be an Award finalist; also given the quality of the nominations received, the fierce competition that nominees face, and continued growing interest from the community every year.
 
Join the NSTF membership and pioneering partners/sponsors in applauding the 2018/2019 NSTF-South32 Awards finalists. These comprise individuals, teams and organisations, as applicable, who have made an outstanding contribution to SET and innovation in South Africa under the categories below:

  • Listed alphabetically according to surname of nominee or name of team/organisation under each category
 

 

Lifetime Award

(by an individual up to 15 years or more)

  • Prof Jill Adler – Department (Dept) of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair: Mathematics Education, School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)
  • Prof John Bolton – Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar, Dept of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town (UCT)
  • Prof Robin Crewe – Senior Research Fellow: Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria (UP) and also in the Management category
  • Prof Wilhelm Bouwer du Preez – Director: Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing Research Centre; Associate Professor: Central University of Technology, Free State and also in the Special Annual Theme category
  • Prof Mary (Mairam) Gulumian – (2018-present) Head: Toxicology Research Projects, National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH); (1980-2017) Head: Toxicology section, NIOH; Professor: Haematology and Molecular Medicine, Wits
  • Prof Bavesh Davandra Kana – Professor: Research and Teaching; Co- Director: DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research; Research Associate: Centre for AIDS Prevention Research in South Africa, Wits and also in the Corporate Innovation category
  • Prof Alison Lewis – Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, UCT and also in the Engineering Research Capacity Development and Special Annual Theme categories
  • Prof Valerie Mizrahi – Director: Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine; Professor: Dept of Pathology; Director: South African Medical Research Council / National Health Laboratory Service / UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit; Co-Director: DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Research, UCT
  • Prof Kenneth Ozoemena – Professor: Materials for Energy and Electrochemistry, School of Chemistry, Wits and also in the Special Annual Theme category
  • Prof Beric Skews – Director: Flow Research Unit, School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, Wits
  • Prof Xiaohua Xia – Professor: Dept of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, UP

TW Kambule-NSTF Awards: Researcher

through research and its outputs
(by and individual from 6 years up to 15 years of research work from the commencement of the research career, predominantly in South Africa)

  • Prof Novel Njweipi Chegou – Associate Professor: Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department (Dept) of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University
  • Prof Serena Coetzee – Professor: Head of Geography Dept, Geo-informatics and Meteorology; Director: Centre for Geo-Information Science, University of Pretoria (UP)
  • Dr Thomas Ebenhan – Research Fellow: Nuclear Medicine; Acting Manager: NuMeRI, Pre-clinical Imaging Facility, UP
  • Prof Andre Ganswindt – Professor and Director: Mammal Research Institute, Dept of Zoology and Entomology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, UP
  • Prof Vishnu Jejjala – Dept of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) Chair: Theoretical Particle Cosmology; Professor: Physics, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)
  • Prof Tandi Matsha – DST/NRF SARChI Chair: Cardiometabolic Health, Dept of Biomedical Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and also in the Data for Research category
  • Prof Mervin Meyer – Professor: Biotechnology; Director: DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre – Biolabels Research Node, Dept of Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape (UWC) and also in the Management category
  • Prof Ntobeko Ayanda Ntusi – Professor: Medicine; Chair and Head: Dept of Medicine, University of Cape Town (UCT) and Groote Schuur Hospital; Principal Investigator: Cape Universities Body Imaging Centre, UCT; Editor-in-Chief: South African Heart Journal; Principal Investigator: Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa
  • Prof Marla Trindade – Professor: Dept of Biotechnology; Director: Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics; DST/NRF SARChI Chair: Microbial Genomics, UWC
  • Prof Lindiwe Innocentia Zungu – Executive Dean: Graduate Studies, University of South Africa and also in the Special Annual Theme category

TW Kambule-NSTF Awards: Emerging Researcher

through research and its outputs
(by an individual up to 6 years of research work from the commencement of the research career, predominantly in South Africa)

Prize sponsor: proSET (Professionals in SET), a sector of the NSTF representing professional bodies and learned societies

  • Dr Mahabubur Rahman Chowdhury – Senior Lecturer: Department (Dept) of Chemical Engineering, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
  • Dr Jennifer Fitchett – Senior Lecturer: Physical Geography, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Prof Elvis Fosso-Kankeu – Associate Professor: School of Chemical and Minerals Engineering, North-West University and also in the NSTF-Water Research 
  • Commission (WRC), and Engineering Research Capacity Development categories
  • Dr Wynand J Goosen – Post-doctoral Research Fellow: Dept of Science and Technology /National Research Foundation  Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Dept of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University
  • Dr Mardé Helbig – Senior lecturer: Computer Science Dept, University of Pretoria(UP)
  • Dr Vhahangwele Masindi – Research Scientist: Magalies Water; Principal Researcher; Council for Scientific and Industrial Research ; Research Fellow: University of South Africa; Part-time Lecturer: University of Venda and also in the Corporate Innovation, and NSTF-WRC categories
  • Prof Eshchar Mizrachi – Associate Professor: Dept of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, and Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, UP 
  • Dr Bohani Mtileni – Senior Lecturer: Dept of Animal Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology
  • Dr Hlumani Ndlovu – Lecturer: Division of Chemical and Systems Biology, Dept of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, University of Cape Town
  • Prof Izak van Zyl – Associate Professor: Transdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Informatics and Design, CPUT

Management Award

through management and related SET and innovation activities

(by an individual over the last 5 to 10 years)

  • Prof Robin Crewe – Senior Research Fellow: Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria  and also in the Lifetime category
  • Prof Mervin Meyer – Professor: Biotechnology; Director: Department (Dept) of Science and Technology (DST)/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre – Biolabels Research Node, Dept of Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape and also in the Researcher category
  • Prof Mammo Muchie – Research Professor: DST/National Research Foundation South African Research Chairs Initiative Chair (Tier1): Innovation Studies, Tshwane University of Technology
  • Dr Happy Marumo Sithole – Director: Centre for High Performance Computing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and also in the Data for Research category

Engineering Research Capacity Development Award

(by an individual over the last 5 to 10 years)

Sponsored by Eskom since 2003

  • Prof Elvis Fosso-Kankeu – Associate Professor: School of Chemical and Minerals Engineering, North-West University and also in the NSTF-Water Research Commission, and Emerging Researcher categories
  • Prof Alison Lewis – Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Cape Town (UCT) and also in the Lifetime and Special Annual Theme categories 
  • Prof Eric Wilhelmus Josephus van Steen – Department (Dept) of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) South African Research Chair Initiative Chair: Reaction Engineering, UCT
  • Dr Abimbola Olukemi Windapo – Associate Professor: Dept of Construction Economics and Management, UCT and also in the Special Annual Theme category

NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy Award

through research and innovation in South Africa towards achieving biodiversity conservation, environmental sustainability and a greener economy
(by an individual or an organisation over the last 5 to 10 years)

Sponsored by The Lewis Foundation since 2019

  • Prof Elizelle Juaneé Cilliers – Professor and Chairperson: Urban and Regional Planning, North-West University and also in the Communication category
  • Process, Energy & Environmental Technology Station (UJ-PEETS) – Technology Station Manager: Ms Nicoleen Janse van Rensburg, University of Johannesburg
  • Dr Dyllon Garth Randall – Senior Lecturer: Department of Civil Engineering, University of Cape Town (UCT) and also in the Communication category
  • Prof Martine Visser – Director: Environmental Policy Research Unit; Professor: Economics, School of Economics; Research Chair: African Climate Development Initiative, UCT and also in the NSTF-Water Research Commission category.

NSTF-Water Research Commission (WRC) Award

towards achieving sustainable water management, knowledge generation and solutions
(by an individual or an organisation over the last 5 to 10 years)

Sponsored by the WRC since 2017

  • Prof Elvis Fosso-Kankeu – Associate Professor: School of Chemical and Minerals Engineering, North-West University and also in the Emerging Researcher, and the Engineering Research Capacity Development categories
  • Dr Vhahangwele Masindi – Research Scientist: Magalies Water; Principal Researcher: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research; Research Fellow: University of South Africa; Part-time Lecturer: University of Venda and also in the Corporate Innovation, and Emerging Researcher categories
  • Prof Martine Visser – Director: Environmental Policy Research Unit; Professor: Economics, School of Economics; Research Chair: African Climate Development Initiative, UCT and also in the NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy category

Data for Research Award

for advancing the availability, management and use of data for research
(by an individual or an organisation)

  • Mr Abraham Jacobus Herbst – Director: Department of Science and Technology (DST)/South African Medical Research Council South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN); Chief Information Officer and Faculty Member: Africa Health Research Institute
  • Prof Tandi Matsha – DST/National Research Foundation South African Research Chair Initiative Chair: Cardiometabolic Health, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and also in the Researcher category
  • Dr Happy Marumo Sithole – Director: Centre for High Performance Computing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and also in the Management category
  • Stellenbosch CT facility Team – Team leader: Prof Anton du Plessis, Stellenbosch University 

Innovation Awards: Corporate Organisation

for innovations and their research and/or development
(by a team or an individual over the last 5 to 10 years)

Prize sponsor: SA Innovation Summit

  • Africa Space Innovation Centre (ASIC) – Director: Prof Robert van Zyl, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing Unit, Central University of Technology, Free State – Director and Team Leader: Mr Gerrie Booysen
  • Forensic DNA Laboratory (FDL) team – Professor and Team Leader: Prof Maria Eugenia D’Amato; Professor: Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of the Western Cape.
  • Prof Bavesh Davandra Kana – Personal Professor; Co-Director: Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); Research Associate: Centre for AIDS Prevention Research in South Africa; Research Fellow: Stellenbosch University (SU) and also in the Lifetime category
  • Marian Island Marine Mammal Programme – Team Leader: Prof Nico de Bruyn, Associate Professor, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria
  • Dr Vhahangwele Masindi – Research Scientist: Magalies Water; Principal Researcher: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); Research Fellow: University of South Africa; Part-time Lecturer: University of Venda and also in the Emerging Researcher, and NSTF-Water Research Commission categories
  • Prof Alexander Quandt – Acting Chair: Materials for Energy Research Group; Focus Area Co-ordinator: Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials, Wits and also in the Special Annual Theme category
  • Solar Thermal Energy Research Group (STERG) – Team Leader: Prof Sybrand Johannes van der Spuy, Associate Professor and Solar Thermal Spoke grant holder, SU
  • South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) Science Processing Team – Manager: Mr Khutso Ngoasheng
  • The Smart Spectrum Sharing Team – Team Leader and Chief Research Scientist: Dr Fisseha Mekuria, CSIR

Innovation Awards: Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME)

for innovations and their research and/or development
(by a team or an individual over the last 5 to 10 years)

Sponsored by the National Intellectual Property Management Office including a prize, as well as an additional prize sponsor: SA Innovation Summit

  • Joint nomination between Bio Catalysis Team, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Team Leader: Dr Lucia Steenkamp, Principal Researcher: Biosciences, CSIR; Biodx (Pty) Ltd; Clive Teubes Africa (Pty) Ltd; and Puris Natural Aromatics Chemicals Division, Puris (Pty) Ltd
  • Hydrox Holdings (Pty) Ltd Team – Team Leader: Mr Cornelis Johannes de Jager, Chief Executive Officer 
  • Pennine Energy Innovations (Pty) Ltd – Directors and Co-Founders: Dr Dudley Jackson and Mr Richard Mutshekwane 

Communication Award

for outreach and creating awareness
(by a team or individual over the last 5 years)

  • Prof Michael Noel (Mike) Bruton – Founder and Director: Mike Bruton Imagineering; Retired Research Scientist and Science Administrator; Active Science Communicator
  • Prof Elizelle Juaneé Cilliers – Professor and Chairperson: Urban and Regional Planning, North-West University and also in the NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy category
  • Ms Mologadi Makwela – Communications Officer: Department (Dept) of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence: Food Security, University of the Western Cape
  • Dr Dyllon Garth Randall – Senior Lecturer: Dept of Civil Engineering, University of Cape Town and also in NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy category
  • Dr Tanja Reinhardt – Coordinator: Science and Technology Education Centre, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Wits Communications Services – Head: Shirona Patel, University of the Witwatersrand

Non-Governmental Organisation Award

including technology transfer, and education and training activities
(over the last 5 to 10 years)

Prize sponsor: SA Innovation Summit

  • Eskom Expo for Young Scientists – Executive Director: Mr Parthy Chetty
  • Outlook Foundation – Chief Executive Officer: Mr Segomotso Edison Kelefetswe

Special Annual Theme Award: Materials for inclusive economic development

in recognition of the United Nations ‘International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements’

(awarded according to criteria in any of the other categories but which meet this objective)

  • Prof Wilhelm Bouwer du Preez – Director: Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing Research Centre; Associate Professor: Central University of Technology, Free State and also in the Lifetime category
  • Prof Emmanuel Iheanyichukwu Iwuoha – Department (Dept) of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation South African Research Chair Initiative Chair (Tier 1): Nano Electrochemistry and Sensor Technology; Senior Professor: Chemistry; Director: Sensor Laboratories, University of the Western Cape
  • Dr Maya Jacob John – Principal Researcher: Polymers and Composites Competence Area, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Port Elizabeth 
  • Prof Alison Lewis – Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Cape Town (UCT) and also in the Engineering Research Capacity Development and Lifetime categories
  • Prof Kenneth Ozoemena – Professor: Materials for Energy and Electrochemistry, School of Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and also in the Lifetime category
  • Prof Alexander Quandt – Acting Chair: Materials for Energy Research Group; Focus Area Co-ordinator: Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials, Wits and also in the Corporate Innovation category
  • Dr Abimbola Olukemi Windapo – Associate Professor: Dept of Construction Economics and Management, UCT and also in the Engineering Research Capacity Development category
  • Prof Lindiwe Innocentia Zungu – Executive Dean: Graduate Studies, University of South Africa and also in the Researcher category
 

 

Adjudication: The accreditation and selection process for the NSTF-South32 Awards are made by an adjudication panel of independent judges. They represent six different sectors of the NSTF membership. This adjudication panel, in conjunction with the Award partners, review the nominations to select the finalists and winners each year. A panel of experts, appointed by the NSTF Executive Committee, also assists the panel by reviewing and validating the final selections.
 
Youth programmes: One of the features that make these awards unique is that youth outreach is an integral part of the awards. Two NSTF Youth outreach programmes are run annually in conjunction with the NSTF Awards. 

  • The NSTF Brilliants Programme identifies and celebrates the top achievers (90% or more) in physical science and mathematics studying in science, engineering and medicine from the previous year’s matric examinations. It exposes these young people to the SET community. Eighteen students (a man and a woman from each province) are recognised as potential future leaders and innovators.
  • Success is not about where you are, but who you have elevated in the process. The NSTF Share ‘n Dare Programme is an output of the NSTF-South32 Awards that profiles award winners as youth role models. Award winners share their experience in the SET field at science centres, schools and universities across the country. They encourage the youth to take up careers in SET. Thousands of South Africans are also reached through community and campus radio station awareness talks.
 

 

The announcement of the winners will take place at the prestigious NSTF Awards gala dinner on 27 June 2019 in Gauteng.
 

 

 

The patron of the NSTF Awards, the Minister of Science and Technology, presides over the presentation of awards. The current Minister, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane confirmed her attendance to participate in the proceedings this year (dependent on the President’s appointment of his Cabinet). The event is a glamorous affair attended by the cream of the crop of the SET community. It is the largest event of its kind and is open to the public. Almost 700 guests attended the event last year. The SET community is invited to book tables for their organisations to celebrate the achievements of the finalists. Contact Ms Kgaugelo Teffo at enquiries@nstf.co.za or call +27 (0)12 841 2717 or 012 841 3987.
 

 

 

There are two media partners of the NSTF Awards to ensure national public recognition of the winners, as well as to facilitate the communication of science to the broader public.  They are:

·         Business Report, carried by The Star, Pretoria News, Cape Times, and The Mercury newspapers

·         Mail & Guardian

Both these newspapers carry supplements about the winners the day after the Awards gala dinner (Friday, 28 June 2019). Unique advertising opportunities are available for your brand. Contact Ms Wilna Eksteen at enquiries@nstf.co.za or call +27 (0)12 841-3987/4995.

Social Media: Join the conversation on social media and tag us in your posts:

  • Awards hashtag: #NSTFawards2019
  • Facebook: @NSTFSA
  • Twitter: @NSTF_SA
  • LinkedIn: National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)
  • YouTube: National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)


Organisations are invited to join hands with the NSTF to widen the reach and impact of the NSTF-South32 Awards and youth programmes. Partnerships are available on new and existing award categories and the youth outreach programmes. Contact Ms Wilna Eksteen at enquiries@nstf.co.za or call +27 (0)12 841-3987/4995.

 

 

Send us your news

The NSTF invites all our members, as well as all SET and innovation role players, to send us information on meetings, conferences and activities of interest to the broader S&T community. Please send us your news by the 20th of the month, for distribution at the beginning of the following month, to enquiries@nstf.co.za
 

Feedback

If you have any comments or suggestions on how we can improve this newsletter, please e-mail the NSTF Secretariat at enquiries@nstf.co.za 

 

About the NSTF

The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), established in 1995, is a broadly-representative stakeholder body for all SET and innovation organisations in South Africa, which seeks to influence policy formulation and delivery.
The NSTF-South32  Awards are unique in SA, recognising the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups to SET and innovation.
The science bursaries page provides information on bursaries and bursary providers for science, engineering and related studies.

 

Disclaimer

The NSTF has taken all practical measures to ensure that the material contained in this newsletter is correct. The NSTF reserves the right to make changes as it deems necessary.
 

Privacy

Registration details submitted to the NSTF will be treated confidentially and will only be used by NSTF to communicate with its members and subscribers.

 

For more information

www.nstf.org.za
E-mail: enquiries@nstf.co.za
Tel: 27 12 841 3987
Non Profit Company Registration Number: 2007/029165/08
NPO Registration Number: 92042
Donor tax exemption for all donations to the NSTF

 

Media Release: Systems thinking, sustainable development and chemical elements #IYPT2019 #science4SDGs 

Posted by Lynette Pieterse on Friday, 31 May 2019 15:21

Systems thinking, sustainable development and chemical elements

Sustainable development and the chemical elements:
Chemical elements from the perspective of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals
#IYPT2019   #science4SDGs

 

 

This National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Discussion Forum addressed sustainable development by providing a detailed perspective on selected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, the aim was to include as many elements in the Periodic Table as possible – in celebration of the United Nations (UN) International Year. As experts shared their knowledge and views about some of the critical and complex global problems of our time, important issues emerged.  

 

 

There were two organising frameworks – the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements and the 17 SDGs. However, the real discussion emerged from linkages between these, and relating them to contexts where critical problems need to be solved.

Prof John Bradley proposed one-world chemistry and systems thinking as a way of tackling complex problems (and for teaching children and students). He was presenting at the NSTF Discussion Forum with the theme of ‘Sustainable development and the chemical elements: Chemical elements from the perspective of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’. Prof Bradley is an Honorary Professor: University of the Witwatersrand and presented on ‘From Chemistry's Big Bang to One-World Chemistry – a story for chemical education’. This NSTF Discussion Forum was held on 16 May 2019, in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Dow Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd.

 

The NSTF provides neutral collaborative platforms where issues and sectors meet

·         One of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) functions is to hold discussion forums, bringing the private and public sector together to address important issues and engage with government policy.

·         Feedback from these discussion forums is given to stakeholders.

·         Recommendations are put forward to government as part of the SET community’s lobbying efforts.

 

 

The UN proclaimed 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. The UN recognises the importance of raising global awareness around chemistry. This includes chemistry’s role in solving global challenges such as the SDGs.
 

 

 

   

Chemistry with context

Prof John Bradley says that: “Chemistry cannot be separated from the context in which it is conducted and its practice must be considered in relation to its impacts on many interconnected systems.” This includes a focus on sustainability.
 
One-world chemistry looks at embedding in chemistry education a growing awareness of the ways that chemistry interconnects with other disciplines and its application in context.
 
Prof Bradley notes that teaching and practice need to be informed by systems thinking, including embracing multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches. He says that sustainable development is neglected in the school system. This is somewhat alarming considering that sustainability links to human survival.
 
From agriculture, medicines, and plastics to electrical power and ICTs, chemistry has contributed to development across the globe. However, all this has come with consequences. Prof Bradley points to recent examples, such as the nine million people killed by pollution per year. This statistic comes from the UN Environment Programme’s ‘Global Environmental Report 2019’.
 
The report further notes: “Modern society is living in the most chemical-intensive era in human history: the pace of production of new chemicals largely surpasses the capacity to fully assess their potential adverse impacts on human health and ecosystems.”
 

The NSTF Discussion Forum and systems thinking

Systems thinking considers that the “component parts of a system will act differently when isolated from the system’s environment or other parts of the system” ('Systems thinking', learning for sustainability). It’s a holistic approach that expands the way we think about things. It explores inter-relationships, connections, influences, and multiple perspectives.
 
It will take an extremely comprehensive systems thinking approach to tackle the SDGs which address the intractable problems of our times. This needs international and national leadership. At the NSTF Discussion Forum, the different presentations linked to various levels of systems, with topics touching on some of the areas.
 
Systems thinking moves beyond events, into patterns and trends, system structure and drivers, and then predominant social paradigms (mental models and world views). This is known as ‘The Iceberg Model of Systems Thinking’ by Michael Goodman.

 

 

Responding to the water challenge

South Africa has a clear water challenge.  As noted by Prof Edward Nxumalo, South Africa is the 30th driest country in the world. It’s also had the worst drought in 23 years. At the same time, agriculture, mining and chemicals industries are producing emerging types of pollutants.

Prof Nxumalo is an Associate Professor: University of South Africa (Unisa). He presented on ‘The Interlink between the Periodic Table and Water Treatment: A Nano Perspective’. South Africa needs to recognise that current water treatment processes are not designed to deal with emerging contaminants, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
 
Part of his research deals with using membrane science for drinking, sea water, and wastewater purification. He and his team have also developed a solar-driven filtration system which is currently at testing phase.
 
He noted that there are a number of potential nanotechnology applications for water treatment. These include: membranes and membrane processes, photocatalysis, and disinfection and microbial control. Emerging contaminants can be tackled with these advanced techniques.

 

 

Responding to the fertiliser and food challenge

The way agriculture has been practised has contributed extensively to soils lacking in vital nutrients. This affects the nature and size (yield) of crops. Consequently, fertilisers are essential.
 
Mr Harry Dube presented on ‘Important minerals in agriculture: essential and contaminants’. He is from the Directorate: Agriculture Inputs Control; Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). He notes that there are five main plant nutrients – with three that are absolutely critical for humankind's survival: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).
 
Mr Dube says that without the industrial production of nitrogen, agricultural production would not have been possible at its current scale. However, we need to relook at the use of nitrogen fertilisers. Most soils in South Africa are acidic (and thus less productive) because of the overuse of these type of fertilisers.
 
Phosphorus is the most deficient in soils in terms of plant nutrition, says Mr Dube. Increased phosphorus means increased crop yields. This nutrient is not a renewable resource – it is mined. While South Africa has 10% of the world’s reserves, it exports most of it. Mr Dube notes that phosphorus, a finite resource, needs to be managed carefully. (Excessive phosphorus has negative effects including poisoning soils and leaching into water, reducing the quality of the water.)

 

 

Potassium is a fairly common mineral nutrient in soils. About 2.3% of earth crust is potassium but it’s not evenly distributed, says Mr Dube. South Africa has none.

Potassium is also a finite resource. Mr Dube says that it’s not if but when potassium and phosphorus will be depleted. To continue food production in a sustainable way, we need to relook at how we use fertilisers and consider organic fertilisers and using conservation agriculture.

 

A body of chemical reactions
Ms Nathalie Mat, from Nathalie Mat Dietitians, presented on ‘Mineral elements for health’. She looked minerals (calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium) and trace minerals (iodine, iron, and zinc).
 
She noted that the body is made of different systems, all the way down to cells and atoms. In fact, we could see ourselves as a body of chemical reactions.

 

 

Patterns and trends

When Prof Paul Nex presented on ’Critical Raw Materials, “Hype Cycles” and the 4th Industrial Revolution’, he explored context, as well as patterns and trends. He is an Associate Professor: University of the Witwatersrand.
 
He noted that what is considered ‘critical’ in critical raw metals (CRM) is different for different countries and different contexts and at different times: “Any definition depends on the country you are in, the technology / industry you are interested in, your perceived risk of future supply, and perceived demand. ALL of these are subject to change.”
 
Certain commodities are seen as critical for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), but global demand for these go through ‘Hype Cycles’. Demand peaks quickly, then drops steeply, and perhaps stabilises at a level in between (or disappears). The prices for such raw materials follow demand. When prices stabilise somewhat, it may no longer be profitable to mine and extract them.
 
In terms of CRM for South Africa, Prof Nex says that it depends on what South Africa envisages for itself in next 10, 50 and 100 years. Furthermore, we can’t place a value on our raw metals if we don’t know what we have. There isn’t a great deal of information on Africa’s and South Africa’s resources and reserves. This can only happen with further exploration.
 
CRMs need to be contextualised to see the larger picture. Part of this is their relation to climate change and green technologies. Consider that, according to Prof Nex, electronic vehicles use four times as much copper (Cu) as our current engines. This means ‘green’ needs mining. Furthermore, Prof Nex says that renewable energy requires more raw materials, not less, at least in the short and medium term.
 
It’s about understanding the larger system for decision making. We need the materials for 4IR and this means mining. At the same time, we need to develop a carbon free or low-carbon economy to reduce the impact on climate change. A lot that is associated with a low-carbon economy (for example, electronic vehicles, renewable energy sources, and fuel-cell energy) are not ‘clean’ solutions. There needs to be a balance and not an ‘either/or’ scenario, says Prof Nex.

What is the DST and the rest of government doing?

DAFF’s Chief Directorate: Chemicals Management is coordinating – across government – the chemicals management work the country needs to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Government is using the SDGs as a framework to look at chemical management from various perspectives. For example, SDG 5 looks at gender equality. This translates to the target of women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities in chemicals management.
 
This was part of the presentation by Dr Mahlori Mashimbye called ‘Harnessing the South African Chemical Sector for contribution to Sustainable Development Goals’. He is the Director: Chemical and Related Industries, DST.
 
DST planning includes supporting the National System of Innovation by:

·         Generating data for monitoring, planning, and tracking for informed decisions

·         Promoting the generation of knowledge and analysis for policy, planning, and delivery

·         Assisting in developing and localising technological solutions

·         Promoting the demonstration, testing, and diffusion of technological solutions
 

The DST and the National Research Foundation (NRF) are looking at funding further research, research chairs, and research infrastructure, where needed. They have also launched specific initiatives and are aiming to drive global and national partnerships.
 
Dr Mashimbye says that there are, primarily, two approaches for the chemical sector regarding the SDGs: remediation (ie regulating including banning and restricting use) and R&D and industrial development of alternatives (ie new environmentally-friendly chemical products).

 
Speakers can be contacted through the spokesperson, Ms Jansie Niehaus. Video clips with the full presentations can be found on the NSTF website.
 
There have been previous NSTF Discussion Forums on related topics:

·         Chemical elements for South Africa’s Future, 18-19 March 2019

·         The Water-Energy-Food Nexus, 23-24 October 2018 – initiated by the representatives of the NSTF Science Councils and Statutory Bodies sector

·         Sustainable Energy for All in South Africa, 16-17 April 2018

·         How can research and innovation in publicly funded institutions support the sustainable development goals?, 4-5 September 2017 – initiated by the representatives of Science Councils and Statutory Bodies sector of the NSTF

 

 

About the NSTF

The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), established in 1995, is a broadly-representative stakeholder body for all SET and innovation organisations in South Africa, which seeks to influence policy formulation and delivery.

The NSTF Awards are unique in SA, recognising the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups to SET and innovation.

The science bursaries page http://www.nstf.org.za/bursary/ provides information on bursaries and bursary providers for science, engineering and related studies.

 

For more information

www.nstf.org.za
E-mail: enquiries@nstf.org.za
Tel: +27 12 841 3987

Non Profit Company Registration Number: 2007/029165/08
NPO Registration Number: 92042
Donor tax exemption for all donations to the NSTF

 

Media Release: Mining the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Posted by Lynette Pieterse on Friday, 5 April 2019 17:22

 

Mining the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Chemical elements for South Africa’s future – Rare elements for new technologies
#elements4tech   #IYPT_za   #4IRsciZA   #IYPT2019

There is a lot of controversy around mining. At the same time, people use products and materials from mines just to live… from housing to technology. This tension ramps up further when we face the near future. As we look to reduce carbon output and environmental impact, we focus on green energy sources and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The latter needs minerals from the earth to operate. It seems we have much to investigate.

 

This is the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements 2019 (#IYPT2019) as declared by the United Nations.

The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) held an NSTF Discussion Forum on ‘Chemical elements for South Africa’s future’ (#elements4tech #IYPT_za) from 18-19 March 2019. The first day focused on ‘Rare elements for new technologies’. The event was held in partnership with the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB), SA Tourism.
 

What are rare earth elements?

Rare earth elements (REE) are elements on the periodic table that range from the atomic numbers 57 to 71.

 

The NSTF provides neutral collaborative platforms where issues and sectors meet

·         One of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) functions is to hold discussion forums, bringing the private and public sector together to address important issues and engage with government policy.

·         Feedback from these discussion forums is given to stakeholders.

·         Recommendations are put forward to government as part of the SET community’s lobbying efforts.

 

  

The REE are the 15 lanthanide series elements, plus yttrium. Scandium is found in most REE deposits and is sometimes classified as a REE. (Source: Geology.com)
 
REE are called ‘rare’ not because of scarcity. Dr Leon Kruger, Manager of the Hydrometallurgy Division: Mintek, explains that REE are found spread across the globe but in relatively low concentrations. Further to that, REEs are very difficult to separate from each other when processing. (Dr Kruger presented on ‘REE processing – A South African perspective’.)
 
The REE are also all metals, and are often referred to as ‘rare earth metals’.

REE and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) moves beyond the digital sphere. It’s defined in the Department of Science and Technology’s White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation as technological developments that blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
 
Our current technologies are already the basis for 4IR technologies. 4IR is not a break from the past but an evolution – and mined elements are critical to both existing and new technologies.
 
Take the cell phone. There are about 40 elements in phones that are mined, says Mr Sietse van der Woude, Senior Executive: Modernisation and Safety, Minerals Council South Africa. “When you look at the periodic table, it’s easier to say what’s not relevant to 4IR because so many are relevant.” Mr van der Woude spoke on ‘Challenges in Mining for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
 
Mr van der Woude says that for green energy technology, even more elements are needed. As the demand for green technologies rises, so will the demand for rare metals. Other examples for REE uses include: batteries, glass, fuel cells, hybrid and electric vehicles, wind turbines, and air conditioning. Is 4IR even possible without mining?
 

South Africa’s mineral resources

Beyond REE, South Africa’s mineral resources for 4IR rank within top 10 in the world (except for iron ore), notes Mr van der Woude.
 
Dr Annelize Botes, Principal Researcher: Materials Science and Manufacturing, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), explains that titanium is considered a ‘rare’ metal because it’s a difficult metal to produce. She presented in her own capacity on ‘Rare Metals in New Technologies’. Titanium is used in many industries including aerospace, automotive, and medical. The CSIR hosts the Titanium Centre of Competence.
 
Dr Botes notes that rare metals are understood as part of something – such as a cell phone. They also form part of a larger ecosystem: “Materials (including metals) are the pillar upon which most manufacturing is built…” She advocates more work with design engineers who predominantly use steel when so many other materials are available.
 
REE are used in batteries and Dr Mesfin Kebede focused on lithium ion batteries (LIBs). Dr Kebede is a Principal Researcher: Energy Centre, CSIR. He spoke on ‘The Transition Metals (Manganese, Titanium, etc) for Energy Storage Application’. There is a high availability of these minerals in South Africa. LIBs are used in the automotive industry (consider electric vehicles) and for renewable battery storage, among other things.
 

Potential futures of mining for 4IR

Mr van der Woude notes that mining’s future lies in new deposits of ‘exotics’ (such as REE where the global demand is expected to rise) and finding new uses for general mining materials. Other areas include:

·         The circular economy with the 3Rs: recover, recycle and reuse

·         Subsea mining

·         Mining of asteroids
 

It is also of use to look at the report commissioned by the German Mineral Resources Agency at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Berlin. Dr Botes says that with Germany depending on metal imports, they examined key and emerging technologies (across industries) and the potential demand for associated raw materials. This assists with estimating long-term price and supply risks. Dr Botes says this can be used as a guideline for South Africa. (See slide 25.)
 

Impact of 4IR on the mining industry

Accelerated digitalisation heralds exciting changes in mining. Mr van der Woude sees a move to where a great number of activities are driven from inside an office. According to Deloitte, future mining technologies include:

·         Digital capturing of information

·         Autonomous equipment such as driverless trucks

·         Internet of Things (IoT) wearables for capturing real-time data

·         Drones (which help with surveying in all types of temperatures)

·         Diverse mobile workforce with integrated remote operations

·         A digital mine nerve centre with controlled, safe and healthy conditions and data-driven insights for improved planning control and decision support

 

Dr Botes says there are also new manufacturing technologies. These include: additive manufacturing, collaborative robots (robots designed to work alongside humans), and smart manufacturing (to improve productivity and efficiency).
 

New frontiers – a centralised refinery for South Africa?

Dr Kruger says that, currently, China possesses 40% of global REE reserves and produces over 80% of the global REE. China’s dominance has an overriding impact on prices, for example, just by changing export quotas.
 
Because of this, Dr Kruger says that the world is looking for alternative sources of supply. Currently there are two non-Chinese world-class REE refineries: Lynas and Molycorp. Dr Kruger believes there is a gap for South Africa. The real value of REEs lies in physically separating these elements from each other. REEs are found in mixed deposits and not individually and concentrated like gold ore. The REE deposits typically include radioactive elements.
 
He proposes a centralised refinery where South Africa takes deposits from other countries for processing. (South Africa does not have enough deposits to sustain the refinery and to make it globally competitive.) He says that South Africa has the ability to transport, dispose and store radioactive waste. Not every country can do this. Further to this, South Africa has the expertise as Mintek has been conducting commercial work and R&D on every REE project on the globe (except China).
 

Governance around mining

Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, then-Chair of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee (PPC) on Mineral Resources, presented on ‘Benefits to the economy vs harm to communities and environment? Stimulating beneficiation?’. The PPC role is to lead public oversight of the Minister of Mineral Resources and the Department. This looks at whether laws are being implemented and budget spent responsibly.
 
Mining is seen as the cornerstone of the economy of South Africa, contributing R400-billion. South Africa needs to make the most of its mineral resources – for the benefit of all South Africans.
 
There is also a need to look at the harm around mining regarding communities and the environment. Mr Luzipo says that South Africa needs a clear proactive strategy and risk qualifications on mine closures. We should not be dealing with disasters as they happen.
 
One of the issues is that mines often change hands at different phases and this leads to a lack of responsibility. Furthermore, there should be increased legislation or enforcement around management and process (as has been done with diamonds).
 
The above links to illegal mining and its lack of safety and impact on ground stability. Illegal mining and the ‘zamazamas’ (illegal miners) have grown in criminality, as well as supporting industries such as food trucks. This is just one of the issues showing the need for collaboration between government entities. For example, beyond the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), the Department of Water and Sanitation and police should be involved.
 
Mining is an extraction industry. This means it’s impossible to bring back to the soil exactly what was taken out. However, says Mr Luzipo, we need to see what can work with the soil. Mines range from very neglected to those running effectively – with ongoing rehabilitation and a mining area returned to productive agriculture.
 
He says, in his experience, Social and Labour Plans are not implemented. This results in appalling conditions where communities are left in poverty and there has been no environmental rehabilitation. According to the South African Human Rights Commission, neither the environmental nor the community/public benefit aspects of the laws that apply to mines are being effectively enforced by government.
 
Mr Luzipo says that the system around mining rights and permits could be redesigned – where businesses with the best motivations around community beneficiaries and socio-economic development plans are given the rights.
 
South Africa also needs to consider the limits to parliamentary oversight. There is limited manpower and capacity, as well as limited time assigned to meetings. Furthermore, the parliament budget is determined by the institutions that are monitored ie the DMR.
 
Speakers can be contacted through the spokesperson, Ms Jansie NiehausVideo clips with the full presentations can be found on the NSTF website.

 

About the NSTF

The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), established in 1995, is a broadly-representative stakeholder body for all SET and innovation organisations in South Africa, which seeks to influence policy formulation and delivery.

The NSTF Awards are unique in SA, recognising the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups to SET and innovation.

The science bursaries page http://www.nstf.org.za/bursary/ provides information on bursaries and bursary providers for science, engineering and related studies.

 

For more information

www.nstf.org.za
E-mail: enquiries@nstf.co.za
Tel: +27 12 841 3987
Fax: 27 12 841 3025

Non Profit Company Registration Number: 2007/029165/08
NPO Registration Number: 92042
Donor tax exemption for all donations to the NSTF

 

Media Release: Finding a path through the maze – the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Posted by Lynette Pieterse on Monday, 25 February 2019 17:50

Finding a path through the maze – the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution for SET, industry, society and education #4IRsciZA

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) feels like the ghost in the machine. We have a sense about it. We know it’s coming or may already be here. It seems to be all around us. However, there isn’t a common understanding of what 4IR actually means.

The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) held an NSTF Discussion Forum on ‘Implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution for SET, industry, society and education’. The event was held in Cape Town from 11-13 September 2018. It ran alongside the Innovation Summit. The aim was to unpack some of the issues around 4IR, with reference to science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation.

So what is 4IR?

There are many names and definitions for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). 4IR is the naming convention used for this article as it’s a widely-communicated definition from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

WEF positions the First Industrial Revolution to be that of mechanisation and steam and water power. The Second Industrial Revolution looks at mass production, division of labour, assembly lines, and electricity. The third is seen as electronics, ICT, and automated production.

The NSTF provides neutral collaborative platforms where issues and sectors meet
  • One of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) functions is to hold discussion forums, bringing the private and public sector together to address important issues and engage with government policy.

  • Feedback from these discussion forums is given to stakeholders. 

  • Recommendations are put forward to government as part of the SET community’s lobbying efforts.

MR(2).png

                                               Source: World Economic Forum

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about the emergence of cyber-physical systems, network and artificial intelligence (AI). Cyber-physical systems involve new ways of embedding technology within larger societies, communities, and even in the human body.
 
Presenting at the NSTF Discussion Forum, Garth Williams says the dominant narrative is the convergence of technologies and convergence of the physical, digital and biological space. Williams is a Research Specialist: Intelligence at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), who previously worked at the Department of Science and Technology (DST). He presented in his own capacity. 
 
There is debate around whether what is happening is, actually, the Fourth Industrial Revolution. There are numerous frameworks available, ranging from this being an extension of the Third Industrial Revolution to Society 5.0. However, we need a name relevant to South Africa.
 

Is it the name or the aim?

Williams says focusing on what a country wants to achieve is more important than emphasising the name. Across the world, aims and objectives range from improving competitiveness and developing 4.0 technologies to enhancing digital start-ups and ecosystems.

Let’s consider South Africa’s objectives. Williams says this is an emergent process with various research and policies, such as the National development Plan (NDP), outlining the challenges. An overarching NDP aim is to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality while advancing the economy and increasing South Africa’s competitiveness.
 
Williams’ message is ‘Don’t use technology just for technology’s sake’. It needs to be part of a larger context.
 

Looking at the 4IR technologies

There are numerous technologies associated with 4IR, and they come with a lot of jargon. Following are some of the technologies:
  • Autonomous robots and vehicles

  • The Internet of Things (IoT)

  • Cyber security, fraud detection, and authentication

  • Additive manufacturing (3D printing)

  • Big Data and advanced analytics

  • Augmented reality, virtual reality, and wearables

  • System integration

  • Edge and cloud computing

  • Smart mobile devices

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

  • Blockchain technologies (which is part of how bitcoin works)

  • Advanced human-machine interfaces

  • High bandwidth networks

  • Smart and internet-worked sensors
     

Impact on economic development

Williams notes that sustainable economic growth relies on productivity growth which is driven by technological change. Furthermore, “key breakthroughs… have underpinned surges in society and the economy”. 
 
For South Africa to catch up and become truly competitive, there are various factors that need to be considered:

  • We need to take the opportunities available in 4IR that are appropriate for South Africa. Williams specifically notes focusing on indigenous challenges and opportunities. Part of this is using 4IR technologies to create industries for processing raw materials (as opposed to sending raw materials out and buying the manufactured products back).  Dr Fisseha Mekuria, Chief Research Scientist from the Council for Scientific and Industrial (CSIR) Meraka ICT Institute, says that connectivity (to the internet) is critical for making the most of opportunities. However, it needs to be affordable to ensure social inclusion for all South Africans.

  • South Africa needs to do its own R&D on technologies and also manage (assimilate and adapt) inbound technologies. An example of this is some of the work done in scientific computing at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Africa. NSTF Discussion Forum presenter, Mr Simon Ratcliffe, is the Technical Lead for Scientific Computing at the SKA. He explains that at various times they had to build their own hardware from scratch or re-engineer. Data storage was developed and manufactured locally, showing how SKA can seed other industries. The homegrown solutions meant not having to use expensive overseas resources nor paying for expensive software licences. Mr Ratcliffe says that the democratisation of tools (ie the access to open source tools) was a key enabling factor.

  • Part of 4IR is building people’s capabilities and skills around technology. Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa notes that we need to think about skills that make us relevant in the future. (He is from the Computer Science faculty, University of Botswana. He also represents the Southern African Development Community – SADC – Cyber Infrastructure Expert Working Group.) The 4IR technologies noted above are a guide to some of the future skills needed.
     

Digital transformation and disruptive technologies

Dr Motshegwa explained that digital transformation is about the outcomes achieved when entities, such as businesses, fully leverage the changes and opportunities that digital technologies bring.

Digital disruption refers to the changes that occur when new digital technologies and business models impact an entity’s value proposition (offering), market position, and competitiveness. Examples include Uber shaking up the taxi industry and Airbnb changing the hotel industry. Other industries and sectors that have been significantly changed by 4IR technologies are: bookstores, print advertising, music, and photography.
 
These definitions of digital transformation and disruption are based on those from the Learning Experience, Cisco Networking Academy. Note that other definitions and meanings also exist.
 

Reacting to 4IR

There is a lot of anxiety around 4IR. One example is ‘technology singularity’. This represents the time when machines and AI are so advanced, they surpass humans as the smartest and most capable beings on Earth. For many people, there is a more immediate concern – all signs point to 4IR technologies driving job losses as ‘machines’ take over jobs. Current thinking envisages rote and routine jobs as being the most vulnerable.

There will most probably be job losses, especially in the low-skilled sectors, says Prof Babu Paul. He is the Director, Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Johannesburg. Further to that job creation will probably not match job losses, plus the nature of current jobs will evolve. This means education becomes critical, as does reskilling and upskilling. A national dialogue is needed.

Williams says we have a choice, collectively and individually. It isn’t an ‘either/or’ ie being led by technology versus society defining the way. He sees society and technology as co-evolving, where technology is embedded in society. South Africans need to shape their own future, including taking measures to prevent widening inequality and deepening poverty.


South Africa and 4IR

South Africa has plans around 4IR. Williams says these include a government-wide 4IR Country Strategy and Action Plan. It will be led by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) and supported by DST and the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). The group will report to The Presidency. It is looking at various thematic areas:
  • Digital society, ICT policy, and regulatory and legislative reforms

  • Innovation, research, and development

  • Economic policy and inclusive growth

  • Industrial restructuring and trade

  • Labour market restructuring

  • Education and skills development

  • Transforming government and service delivery

Science, technology and innovation initiatives will be led by the DST, informing the national strategy and aligned with DST strategies, policies and plans. The department will be supported by TIA, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI), and CSIR.
 
Ms Nontombi Marule-Director: Innovation and Technology Policy, the dti, notes the regulatory implications for 4IR need to be managed. This is not a simple matter due to the fast-changing pace of technology advances, technology disruption, and the extensive impact on systems. She says that a paradigm shift is needed, such as policy and regulation that is futuristic and agile.
 
Dr Mekuria advocates strongly for technology test beds as part of evidence-based research to inform decision making. Test beds are “crucial platforms to perform a controlled testing of relevant 4IR use cases before introduction commercially”.
 

Implications of 4IR for industry

NSTF Discussion Forum presenter, Dr Nimrod Zalk from the dti, says that there have been no cases of successful catch-up by developing countries with advanced economies without industrialisation. Furthermore, successful industrialisation has to have an industrial policy. Countries best placed to benefit from 4IR are those with an established industrial base.
 
Dr Zalk sees 4IR, specifically technological change, as “often more evolution than revolution”. Various 4IR technologies aren’t that new (for example, robotics and additive manufacturing). It has just taken a long time for the technology to spread. He suggests integrating 4IR considerations into organisational, sector, and industrial strategies rather than ‘dropping everything’ for the 4IR.
 
In terms of industry opportunities around 4IR, Dr Zalk provides the automotive-mining nexus as an example. With the global shift to electric vehicles, there is a reduced need for fossil fuels. However, this shift means an increased demand for platinum group metals (PGM) minerals. He says that South Africa needs to be in at the start with developing new sources of demand for PGMs.
 

Collaboration and partnerships – including a regional perspective

For South Africa, Williams notes that the overriding aim is to tackle big societal problems such as high youth unemployment and water scarcity. This is a multi-disciplinary endeavour and that means partnerships. The issues also straddle the mandates of various government departments. This means more collaboration between traditionally-siloed government departments.

We need collaboration and integration at all levels so we can all benefit. This is the message from SADC’s Dr Motshegwa. To move forward with regional 4IR strategies, we need alignment with the various regional and national policies. We need to invest in supporting infrastructure and human capital development and skills for regional collaboration.
 

The importance of Big Data

The general definition of Big Data describes large volumes of structured and unstructured data that can be mined for information. How we use this data (analysis and interpretation) can reveal patterns and trends, and more. Dr Motshegwa says we need to share data, and that includes data from government departments.
 
Dr Motshegwa notes the emerging policy consensus of FAIR data – findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. He explains that FAIR data is extremely important within the SET and innovation environment. Considering that research data is publicly funded it should automatically be a public asset. Open research data also provides the evidence, allowing for reproducibility and self-correction while reducing replication.
 
Open data practices have transformed certain areas of research, such as genomics and astronomy. Furthermore, research data often have considerable potential for reuse and reinterpretation. All this fosters innovation and accelerates scientific discovery.
 

How does the smart city fit into all of this?

According to Prof Babu Paul, the Smart City uses smart technology and Big Data, for example, to improve quality and performance in services (energy, transportation and utilities). This can reduce resource consumption, waste, and overall costs. Prof Paul is the Director, Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Johannesburg.
 
Components of a smart city include: smart manufacturing, smart government, WiFi, digital citizens, open data, smart agriculture, smart buildings, smart energy grids, smart waste management and other utilities, and smart transport.
 
Examples of potential smart city job titles of the future are: urban informatics analyst, energy efficiency engineer, autonomous transport technician, virtual reality technician, and cybersecurity officer.
 

Finding clarity

There was much discussion around the presentations. Following are some of the points raised:
  • There needs to be a common understanding, definition, and standards for 4IR – specific to the South African context. Information needs to be clear and practical and cover the entire ecosystem. There should also be clear communication about the limitations, potential harm, and ethics with the various 4IR issues.

  • The process of coordination and collaboration for 4IR needs to be made clear to all. Individuals and entities should be able to ‘plug into’ the larger coordinated structure. The SET community need specific goals and actions around 4IR. These should include real-life examples rather than conceptual terminology.  


Speakers can be contacted through the spokesperson, Ms Jansie Niehaus.
Video clips with the full presentations can be found on the NSTF website.

About the NSTF

The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), established in 1995, is a broadly-representative stakeholder body for all SET and innovation organisations in South Africa, which seeks to influence policy formulation and delivery.

The NSTF Awards are unique in SA, recognising the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups to SET and innovation.

The science bursaries page http://www.nstf.org.za/bursary/ provides information on bursaries and bursary providers for science, engineering and related studies.

For more information

www.nstf.org.za
E-mail: enquiries@nstf.co.za
Tel: +27 12 841 3987
Fax: 27 12 841 3025

Non Profit Company Registration Number: 2007/029165/08
NPO Registration Number: 92042
Donor tax exemption for all donations to the NSTF

Last updated Monday, 25 February 2019 15:50

SAIMechE Elects First Female President

Posted by Lynette Pieterse on Friday, 19 October 2018 10:57

The South African Institution for Mechanical Engineers (SAIMechE) recently voted in their new National Council members for the 2018-2020 session at their AGM on 8 August 2018, electing Prof Debby Blaine as their new President.  Debby is an Associate-Professor at Stellenbosch University, in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering.

See the attachment for more information. 


Attachments:

PressReleaseSeptember2018.docx 93.4K 19 Oct 18 08:52

Last updated Friday, 19 October 2018 08:57

ECSA NOTICE - CPD SCAM

Posted by Lynette Pieterse on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 14:25

ECSA warns professional registered persons off a company which is sending false information on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training courses. The company is copying CPD training courses from other companies’ brochures and attach it to their emails so that it looks legitimate. ECSA also discovered that this company make people pay for CPD courses which do not exist. See attachment for more information.


Attachments:

ECSA NOTICE - CPD SCAM.pdf 269.5K 25 Mar 15 14:25

ECSA New Registration System

Posted by Lynette Pieterse on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 11:38

The development of the New Registration System is in its final stages. Its development, testing, training of users (personnel, volunteers/assessors) and its internal readiness is scheduled to be completed by 29 August 2014. For more information refer to the attachment. 


Attachments:

NRS Website Announcement.docx 605.2K 26 Aug 14 11:38

Engineering Professionalism and a ten-year plan (Earn CPD credits)

Posted by System Administrator on Sunday, 23 March 2014 23:26

Louis (LSJ) Krüger teaches Engineering Professionalism, a 4th year subject as per ELO10, at the University of Pretoria. 

As part of the course, each student has to compile a personal development plan for a period of at least ten years after graduation, of which three to four years have to be as Candidate Engineer and then the rest as a Professional Engineer.

As each discipline has its specific requirements, it would be more advantageous for a specific discipline to assess the assignments of their discipline. Generic specifications for the assignment and a score sheet will be provided.

Members of SAIIE who would like to participate in the assessment of the assignments and in the process, should please contact Louis at 084 215 3275 or llsjk@lakruger.za.org. These members also earn CPD credits.


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