6 December 2021
The 2021 Science Forum ended today having done a great job achieving its goal to “ignite conversations about science.” The forum provides a platform for the Department of Science and Innovation and its entities to share information with the public on its major programmes and initiatives, as well as obtain input and reaction to new policies and strategies, such as South Africa’s new Decadal Plan for Science, Technology, and Innovation. The Forum has a record of enabling the formation of new partnerships, both public-private and international, to put science at the service of society.
Mark Collinson represented SAPRIN at the forum today and spoke on its role as a national research infrastructure during the Covid-19 epidemic. The session was titled, “Ministerial Plenary: Integrating the Humanities and Social Sciences into the COVID-19 response”, chaired by Ashwell Jenneker, Deputy Director-General (Statistical Operations and Provincial Coordination) of Stats SA.
SAPRIN’s input covered the latest findings on vaccine willingness and hesitancy, showing how it contributes as a national research infrastructure to the National Policy Data Observatory, to provide evidence for policy-making committees, such as the Director General’s Technical Task Team on Covid vaccinations. Participation in this session was great for SAPRIN, since there was an opening address by the deputy minister in Higher Education, Buti Manamela, along with attendance by the Director General of Science and Innovation, Dr Phil Mjwara and the Statistics South Africa, Statistician General, Mr Risenga Maluleke.