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Launch of the Consensus Study Report on Diversity in Human Sexuality
The Academy of Science of South Africa recently launched a consensus study report titled Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for Policy in Africa.The report was launched along the side-lines of the 7th SA AIDS Conference on 10 June 2015. The guest speaker at the launch was Mr Eusebius McKaiser, a philosopher, political analyst, broadcaster, lecturer and writer.
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Environment and Health Symposium held in Pretoria
A joint symposium on Environment and Health was hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS), and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS). The symposium was funded by a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation in Germany and was held from 1 to 3 June 2015.
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As the new host, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) launched The World Academy of Sciences’ Regional Office for sub-Saharan Africa (TWAS-ROSSA) on 18 June in Pretoria. The TWAS Executive Director, Prof Romain Murenzi, delivered the keynote address to the guests from across the science and technology community. The event was aimed at celebrating the hosting of the regional office with all stakeholders.
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Measuring Human Deprivation to Promote Human Development
A two-day workshop on Measuring Human Deprivation to Promote Human Development was held on 9 and 10 June in Muldersdrift, Gauteng. The workshop was an initiative of ASSAf’s Standing Committee on Science for the Reduction of Poverty and Inequality and aimed to bring together stakeholders within the poverty and inequality fraternity to address potential threats to human development and challenges facing South Africa in its quest to address poverty and inequality.
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COHORT – a forum to coordinate elements of strategy
A new Executive Committee for the Committee of Heads of Organisations for Research and Technology (COHORT) was elected at the end of 2014 with Mr Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO: Water Research Commission, as its new Chair.
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ASSAf Distinguished Visiting Scholar: Prof Zakri Hamid
Prof Zakri Hamid, who has had a distinguished career in science as a researcher, educator, administrator and diplomat, visited South Africa from 18 March to 24 March 2015 as ASSAf’s second Distinguished Visiting Scholar this year.
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The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) is hosting the International Council for Science Regional Office for Africa (ICSU-ROA) with effect from 1 May 2015. ICSU ROA is one of four regional offices for the developing world and endeavours to ensure that the voice of African scientists influences the international science agenda and that scientists from Africa are fully involved in international research programmes guided by regional priorities.
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Gender Summit-5 AFRICA: Poverty alleviation and economic empowerment
GenderInSITE Southern Africa was represented at the first Gender Summit in Africa held in Cape Town on 28-30 April 2015. Through the Organisation of Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) South African National Chapter, GenderInSITE was able to raise awareness and promote its goals and objectives and to showcase achievements in an exhibition and at networking sessions at the conference.Read more:
In her keynote address at the Summit, the Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, mentioned the OWSD South African National Chapter and GenderInSITE as examples of South Africa's gender achievements.*|END:IF|
Joint workshop with NASAC on gender mainstreaming in science education
The Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), in partnership with the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and GenderInSITE southern Africa, hosted a workshop on mainstreaming gender in science education. The workshop was held in Nairobi on 27 and 28 May 2015.
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ASSAf study to interrogate the biosafety implications
ASSAf has recently embarked on a consensus study on Regulatory Implications of New Genetic Engineering Technologies. The study panel, under the chairmanship of Dr Hennie Groenewald of BiosafetySA held its first meeting in Pretoria in May 2015.
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Young Scientists’ Conference to Focus on Women Empowerment
The ASSAf-TWAS-ROSSA Young Scientists’ Conference will be held from 16 - 18 September 2015 at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre, Johannesburg. The conference will be hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), TWAS Regional Office for sub-Saharan Africa (TWAS-ROSSA), the Organisation for Women in Science for Developing World (OWSD) South Africa National Chapter and the South African Young Academy of Sciences (SAYAS).
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A Quest: Science for South Africa
ASSAf’s popular science magazine, Quest: Science for Society has embarked on a strategy to forge new relations, initiate links and support a number of initiatives nationally.
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SAYAS hosts Networking Meetings
The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) hosted three networking meetings in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng in March and April. The meetings focused on developing working relations, brainstorming on potential SAYAS projects and providing a platform for building cohesion among SAYAS members.
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ASSAf Members in the News
Professor Alan Whiteside
Prof Whiteside has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the United Kingdom’s New Year 2015 Honours list. The Academy congratulates Prof Whiteside on this prestigious recognition that acknowledges his services and strategic interventions to curb HIV and AIDS.
Professor Salim Abdool Karim  

The Academy congratulates Prof Abdool Karim on his recent accolade: he is the recipient of the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Award in the Earth and Life Sciences category. This prestigious award acknowledges Prof Abdool Karim’s outstanding achievements and exceptional research in HIV prevention.    
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.Article footprints in the digital age
The purpose of the SciELO indexing platform is to make scholarly journal articles openly accessible and highly visible, so that the impact of research conducted can be maximised and the return on investment in research can be increased. Once an article becomes available online, it finds its way to researchers in many different ways, for example, through social media, emails, downloads from different web platforms, and more.
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ASSAf moving forward with the trends! Webinar on Creative Commons a first for the Academy
Without question, technology is revolutionising how we conduct business and engage with individuals within the research environment. Researchers and editors are constantly on the move, are distributed all over the country, and often do not have time and resources to attend an event in person.
ASSAf co-hosts workshop on sharing research data to improve public health
 The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) co-hosted a workshop on Sharing Research Data to Improve Public Health from 29 to 31March 2015 at the Spier Hotel, Stellenbosch, South Africa. The other hosts are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the INDEPTH Network, the South Africa Medical Research Council, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Institutes of Ageing, the Wellcome Trust and WHO-TDR.
Prof Roseanne Diab, ASSAf Executive Officer and Ms Susan Veldsman, Director: Scholarly Publishing Unit, attended the workshop.
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Ms SP Xulu, Head of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs
SAYAS launches new blog
The South African Young Academy of Sciences (SAYAS) held a national blogging competition for PhD students from universities in South Africa. The goal of the competition was to launch the new SAYAS blog and to select four bloggers to contribute monthly on what it means to be a PhD student in South Africa.
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Ms SP Xulu, Head of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs
BIOVISION Forum 2015
TWAS ROSSA has elected two young scientists, Mr Njau Daniel Gachuiri, a forensic biochemist from Kenya, and Ms Nikiema Zara Soutonnoma, a plant geneticist from Burkina Faso, to attend the BIOVISION FORUM that was held in France (Lyon), 15-16 April 2015. BIOVISION is a World Life Sciences Forum that engages renowned scientists, CEOs, policymakers and NGO leaders in debates on global issues involving the latest advances in Life Sciences and their impact on society.
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South African scholarly journal landscape demonstrates growth in Open Access
During the first half of 2015, the Scholarly Publishing Unit in ASSAf conducted an audit of scholarly journal publications emanating from South Africa. Information on journal titles accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training were collected and updated, and key trends were established. This list now contains comprehensive information on all journal titles, and will be used as a resource for strategic planning and to make recommendations to increase the adherence to international requirements for high quality, well managed journals within the digital environment.
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SciELO SA : 3 million+ views
To date, texts in the SciELO SA open access collection have been viewed more than three million times. The SciELO SA Collection was started in 2009 as a full-text searchable database of selected, high-quality South African scholarly journals. Its purpose is to increase the visibility, accessibility and impact of South African scholarly journals.
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Online forms – saving time, increasing productivity
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” - Paul J. Meyer
Online forms offer benefits to both administrators and respondents. During the past few months ASSAf has actively started to convert MSWord and Pdf forms to interactive online forms.Read more: These forms – created using Google Forms – are branded according to the ASSAf requirements, simple to make, and visually pleasing. Data entered by respondents are logically organised into a spread sheet, taking away the burden on the administrator to capture it afterwards, and at the same time reducing the error rate.
New Editorial Advisory Board member for SAJS
The South African Journal of Science has appointed a new Editorial Advisory Board member: Hassina Mouri. She holds an Associate Professor position at the department of Geology, University of Johannesburg.  She is expert in metamorphic geology, however recently she started developing medical geology, a multi-disciplinary emerging field of science. She is currently councillor of the International Union of Geological Science (IUGS) and the International Medical Geology Association (IMGA).
The Science for Society Newsletter is published quarterly by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
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Editor: Patricia Scholtz