The CSIR International Convention Centre has been a hive of activity with dozens of interesting exhibits, engaging debates and networking taking place simultaneously.

Science Forum South Africa 2018 has had something of interest for everyone attending this year, from robotics to hydrogen fuel cells, high performance computing and indigenous knowledge systems, it was all there, housed under one roof.

Science Forum SA comes to an end today-14 December, where over 70 exhibitors from around the world showcased scientific innovations and ignited conversations about science.

Building on the success of third SFSA, the 2018 Forum again served as a large, open, public platform for debating science and society.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) was at the heart of the forum, with discussions on opportunities that could be exploited to advance communities marginalised by previous revolutions, preparing young people to participate in the FIR, and the role of government in this regard.

Science demonstrations at the SciFest Africa exhibit attracted huge interest from kids and adults alike. Supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival, was established in 1996 to promote the public awareness, understanding and appreciation of science, technology and innovation. It takes place annually in Grahamstown.

The Spring Bots, robotics team who won gold an international robotics competition in Mexico this year proved to be a huge hit with young people. Demonstrations of the robots they created, attracted huge interest from crowds. Team members, Barbara Moagi and Mikhaeel Reddy, believe robotics should be introduced to children at primary school level to develop their skills in this area at an early age.

High performance computing exhibits also drew the crowds, Tshiamo Mathsego from the Botswana University specializes in computer science. He has been attending the SFSA every year and loves the enthusiasm of students participating in the event. Matshego said FIR is about big data and students must be trained to manage data as this is the future. He believes a skills re-alignment between the needs of industry and education curricula must take place, to prepare young people for jobs of the future.

Exhibitors participating in this year’s event included institutions of higher learning, science councils, business, embassies and other stakeholders.