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UFS hosts the first Southern African Young Scientists Summer Programme
2012-11-26

The University of the Free State is to host the first Southern African Young Scientists Summer Programme (SA-YSSP) from 1 December 2012 to 28 February 2013. 

This will form part of an annual three-month education, academic training and research capacity-building programme jointly organised by the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), based in Austria.
 
The NRF, as the National Member Organisation (NMO), in collaboration with DST, has developed a novel and innovative initiative with IIASA to establish the SA-YSSP. This programme was officially launched by the Minister of Science and Technology during November 2011.
 
IIASA is an international research organisation that conducts policy-oriented scientific research in the three global problem areas of energy and climate change, food and water and poverty and equity (www.iiasa.ac.at). South Africa’s engagements with IIASA, and specifically with regard to the SA-YSSP, relate primarily to the DST’s Ten-Year Innovation Plan.
 
Aligned with the YSSP model that is presented by IIASA in Austria annually, the SA-YSSP offers scientific seminars covering themes in both the social and natural sciences. These seminars often have policy dimensions and aim to broaden the participants’ perspectives and strengthen their analytical and modelling skills, further enriching a demanding academic and research programme (www.ufs.ac.za/sa-yssp).
 
Keynote lectures are to be delivered by national and international leaders in their respective research fields, partly drawn from IIASA’s widespread network of alumni and collaborators, as well as from the NRF’s extensive international networks of excellence.
 
The programme is to be enhanced with specific field trips and cultural and heritage excursions that will involve networking with locally based research programmes. Supervisory teams of both IIASA and South African experts will guide a cohort of competitively selected South African and international advanced Ph.D candidates.
 
The programme will be opened on 2 December 2012 at the Centenary Complex by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Derek Hanekom, the Director/CEO of IIASA, Prof Pavel Kabat and the Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, Prof Jonathan Jansen. They will be joined by a number of Nobel Prize Laureates and luminaries representing the government, the diplomatic sector and Higher Education.
 
The programme is directed by a multidisciplinary team at the UFS that includes:
Prof Aldo Stroebel and Prof Neil Roos (Co-Directors)
Prof André Roodt (Dean of SA-YSSP)
Prof Martin Ntwaeaborwa and Dr Henriëtte van den Berg (Deputy-Deans of SA-YSSP)
Dr Priscilla Mensah and Dr Sonja Loots (Strategic Managers)

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