NRF at the 8th BRICS Young Scientist Forum 2023 under the theme: “Building BRICS and Africa Partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development and inclusive multilateralism

NRF at the 8th BRICS Young Scientist Forum 2023 under the theme: “Building BRICS and Africa Partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development and inclusive multilateralism

The BRICS partners in 2015, in Brasilia, under Brazil’s leadership, concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a formal BRICS Cooperation Framework in Science, Technology and Innovation, concluding a process initiated during South Africa’s first tenure as BRICS Chair in 2013.

The most important achievement of BRICS cooperation in “diplomacy for science” is undoubtedly the successful negotiation and implementation of the BRICS Framework Programme for Science, Technology and Innovation. This Programme brings together 13 national research and innovation funding agencies of the BRICS partners to jointly select and fund collaborative consortia projects across various scientific disciplines. The NRF is one of the 13 funders under this programme, and since its inception, and through five rounds of competitive calls for proposals, the programme has already funded more than 150 joint projects (and significantly, every project includes the participation of at least three different countries from the BRICS partnership).

At the 8th Young Scientists Forum held from 31 July to 02 August 2023 in Gqeberha, Dr Prudence Makhura, Director of International Grants at the NRF, elaborated on the BRICS funding mechanisms and the plans for the 2023 Call and shared the different ways in which young scientists from all the BRICS countries can be involved in shaping the future STI Framework Programme. Dr Makhura will also be participating at the BRICS STI Senior Officials’ Meeting and the Ministerial Meeting taking place on 03 and 04 August 2023 to table some of the proposals made by the young scientist for consideration by the Government senior officials.

Dr Mary-Jane Bopape, Managing Director of the South African Environmental Observation Network (NRF-SAEON), set the scene for the climate change and environmental sustainability thematic area. She spoke to a link between environmental challenges, global risks and the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals, the AU Agenda 2063, and the National Development Plan. She discussed challenges with environmental observation networks and highlighted interventions of the Department of Science and Innovation through NRF-SAEON and the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR). She also provided an overview of weather, climate and ocean modelling activities in South Africa, collaboration with SADC countries and associated training programmes. She concluded by encouraging collaboration amongst the BRICS countries to deal with environmental challenges and development of engineering, technical, scientific, modelling and data science skills needed in the environment sector.

Dr Nokuthula Mchunu, Deputy Director of the African Open Science Platform (AOSP), presented the UNESCO Open Science recommendations. The AOSP is hosted by the NRF, which aims to advance and implement the UNESCO Open Science recommendation. It aims to give the African research community more equitable access and contribution to global knowledge. The AOSP’s mission is to promote and put African scientists at the cutting edge of contemporary, data-intensive science as a fundamental resource for modern society and recognition as crucial for solving continental and global challenges. The BRICS partnership is an essential vehicle for science diplomacy, and Open Science advances this ideology with more focus on the democratisation of science. The discussion in the BRICS Young Scientist Forum on the impact of Open Science on Early Career Researchers is vital in the dialogue in shaping the future and scientific contribution to solving global challenges, thus achieving the SDGs targets.

For further information on the BRICS related matters, contact Ms Nombuso Madonda at

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