Over 200 young scientists from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are convening in Durban for the 3rd BRICS Young Scientist Forum. The forum got under way this morning, with the young people eager to discuss their role in using science, technology and innovation (STI) to contribute to society.

 

The 1st BRICS Young Scientist Forum was held India, and the 2nd in China in 2017.

South Africa assumed the BRICS Presidency in January this year, and will host the 10th BRICS Summit next month. The year is of special significance in the BRICS historical trajectory, as 2018 concludes the first decade of BRICS summits at the highest diplomatic level.The year is also important as South Africa's chairing of the summit coincides with the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth.

 

South Africa's approach is to ensure the continuity of BRICS programmes, while taking domestic and regional priorities into account.  The country is committed to approximately 100 sectoral meetings, and intends to bring a specific focus to the challenges and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 

In the tradition of previous BRICS Summits, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is hosting a wide range of meetings to discuss the role of STI in society.

 

One of the new areas for BRICS cooperation proposed by South Africa is the establishment of a centre for collaboration on vaccine research, development and innovation. Given the economic benefits to be derived from the empowerment of women, particularly in developing countries, South Africa is also proposing a BRICS gender and women's forum.

 

The Young Scientist Forum takes place under the theme "Building BRICS youth leadership through science, technology and innovation".

 

Opening the forum, the DST Chief Director: Overseas Bilateral Cooperation, Dr Neville Arendse, said the forum was a platform for talented young scientists and researchers to exchange perspectives on transformative change and to forge sustainable research partnerships and networks.

 

"The forum will promote youth-driven creative solutions to the most pressing socio-economic problems in their societies," said Dr Arendse told the delegates.

 

Representing the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, Prof. Pang Yu said that China hoped the platform would expand collaboration, encourage new academic inspiration, and build young leaders in STI.

 

Russia's Prof. Albina Kutuzova said that many of the resolutions taken at the 2nd forum held in China in 2017 had been successfully implemented.

 

"The forum has helped participants master their skills, broaden their horizons and improve their academic and policy qualifications. We place great hopes on the successful continuation of cooperation within the framework of the BRICS Young Scientist Forum," said Prof. Kutuzova.

 

A PhD candidate in ecological remote sensing with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Basanda Nondlazi, emphasised the need for the resolutions of the forum to be inclusive and for science, technology and innovation to have a positive effect on society and the economy.

 

The four-day event includes parallel sessions on the present and future energy imperatives of the BRICS economies, the strategic importance of water resources in the context of climate change, and the impact and challenges of modern ICT technologies on youth identity and cultural choices.

 

A Young Women in Science Dialogue will see young women scientists and researchers discuss career choices, mobility, equality and empowerment in institutions of higher learning and the workplace.  They will be able to share their country's approaches to finding practical solutions to these challenges at institutional and policy level.

 

The BRICS Young Innovator Prize will be awarded to recognise talented young entrepreneurs and researchers whose outstanding innovations (inventions, products, applications and services) will have a profound impact on the socio-economic environment and conditions of life in BRICS societies.

 

A workshop on Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship will allow participants to share ideas on creating an innovation ecosystem for the youth, and how BRICS countries can support each other in this endeavour.  It will also look at the translation of young scientists' research work into marketable products and services, and the creation of sustainable innovative start-ups.

 

There will also be a seminar to contextualise the role and importance of science diplomacy, advice and communication in networking and career development, and look ways to enhance cooperation and communication between young scientists in BRICS countries.

 

The event is an exciting opportunity for young people to exchange ideas and perspectives on science, and to find creative solutions for the common good.

 

Media are invited as follows:

Date:     25-29 June 2018

Time:     09:00-15:00

Venue: Elangeni/Maharani Hotel, 63 Snell Parade, Durban

 

To RSVP and for enquiries, please contact Veronica Mohapeloa at 083 400 5750 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..