SKA Project Wins Science Diplomacy Award at Science Forum South Africa 2023

SKA Project Wins Science Diplomacy Award at Science Forum South Africa 2023

Each year, the  Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) issues Science Diplomacy awards in recognition of excellence is various categories that are associated with science. The awards recognise individuals and organisations who are making an outstanding contribution to furthering science diplomacy, whose work lies at the intersection of science, international cooperation and partnerships.

This year, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project was one of the recipients of these special awards under the category of International STI Partnerships Advancing The African Agenda, recognising its efforts in advancing the African science agenda through partnerships.

The ceremony took place on 06 December 2023, at the official opening of SFSA at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. The awards were presented by Dr Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology of South Africa.

“You will hear a lot about the SKA project but what makes it different is that it is not just a telescope located in Africa, it is a project where African engineers are designing the telescope and African governments that are co-funding and co-leading the project”, said Mr Daan du Toit, DSI Deputy Director General in International Cooperation and Resources, who led the awards ceremony proceedings.

The award was accepted by the NRF-SARAO Managing Director, Ms Pontsho Maruping. “I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of SARAO. There are more than 400 men and women working at SARAO who made this possible. We started the year with the Royal Astronomical Society award, and it is really fantastic to end the year with yet another award for the type of work that I sometimes feel goes invisible.”

“We had our postgraduate research conference recently and I met a young man from Ghana who told me how the work that we’ve done, establishing a dish in Ghana and all of the training opportunities that we’ve created, have truly shaped his future in a way that he could not have imagined. So, this award is also for all of the partners that we have been working with on the HCD (Human Capital Development) programme that we’ve been running in Africa”, she said.

In addition to this, the Science Forum added a special recognition, that was not part of the formal awards schedule, in honour of late individuals who have contributed to South African science diplomacy. These Posthumous Awards were awarded to :

  • Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell who was the Chief Scientist at the South African National Space Agency
  • Dr Carolina Ödman-Govender who was one of South Africa’s leading astrophysicists and one of the founders of Science Forum South Africa
  • Dr Daniel Adams who was the DSI Chief Director: Basic Sciences and Research Infrastructure
Related Posts