Sustainability Research Event Kicks Off in Durban

Sustainability Research Event Kicks Off in Durban

The Sustainability Research and Innovation Congress Africa (SRI2024) Satellite Event, hosted by the Future Earth Africa Hub in support by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, kicked off at the Southern Sun Elangeni, Durban, on Tuesday morning.

Over 300 academic researchers, Government and civil society experts, funders, entrepreneurs, and innovators from across Africa will gather from 21 to 24 May 2024 for SRI2024, an important event in which they will be able to share their innovations and insights into sustainability research.

SRI2024 is a prelude to the fourth edition of the Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress which will be held in Helsinki and Espoo, Finland as well as online from 10-14 June 2024. Established by the Belmont Forum and Future Earth, the Congress is the world’s largest annual transdisciplinary gathering for the global sustainability research community. It hosts more than 2 000 global sustainability research leaders, Government and civil society experts, funders, and innovators for a week-long gathering where they bring forth solutions and innovations to achieve knowledge-based sustainable transformation.

Dr Sepo Hachigonta,Director: Business Advancement at the NRF, delivered a welcoming address. He noted that the gathering will tackle a range of critical topics, and urged for more impactful research. “I hope these discussions won’t just aim to be much more theoretical,” he said.

“We know we can speak of climate change; we can speak of energy; we can speak of opportunities within the digital age. But at the end of the day we have to look at who’s at the other end. There’s unemployment, poverty, and limited access to healthcare. At the end of the day, we need to respond to these.”

Dr Hachigonta added, “We need to make that effort to ensure that we go an extra mile beyond publications by engaging with different stakeholders whether it be the government or the public.”

“The imparting of skills, too, should aim for direct impact,” Dr Hachigonta told the gathering. “Skills development is a major component of the NRF and key to the national system of innovation. The skills that we produce need to evolve; we need to make sure that they are ready to make a difference within society. It’s not skills to get work; it’s how we train our students to ensure they are ready to take risks and the opportunities that are available to them in the world.”

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