Thursday, 8 October 2015 – The Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, officially opened the 5th CSIR Conference to a large delegation comprising representatives from government, research councils, academic institutions, business and industry. The conference, with the theme, ‘Ideas that work’, aims to share the organisation’s research progress, breakthroughs and impact. It is a platform for the CSIR to showcase the outstanding work done by researchers, both established and emerging.
In his address, Ramaphosa said that science is at the centre of all human progress. “The work of the CSIR is helping to transform our society. It is changing the way we live, the way we do business, the way we solve problems. It is improving lives, creating opportunities and enabling us to develop more sustainably”.
He added that the continuous investment in research and development is critical to South Africa’s achievement of its National Development Plan. “The NDP says that science and technology must be used to address some of the problems in education, health and economic development, and it must facilitate access to information and knowledge”, adding how the collaboration between the CSIR, the departments of Health and Science and Technology will produce the design of information and communications technology architecture for the National Health Insurance.
Speaking proudly of the CSIR, the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, said the CSIR is the jewel in the crown regarding its enhancement of and contribution to science and technological development in South Africa. She spoke emphatically about South Africa’s support to advance the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals and to revolutionise science, taking our place in Africa and in the world.
This year’s conference is also significant in that it coincides with the CSIR’s 70 years celebration. During his welcome, CSIR CEO, Dr Sibusiso Sibisi, emphasised that this is an opportunity for the organisation to reflect on its journey and the continuous fulfilment of its mandate, which is to perform multidisciplinary research and technological innovation with the aim of contributing to industrial development and the quality of life of all South Africans, and increasingly, the wider continent. He added that looking to the future, it is increasingly important to focus on the nexus between science and technology as a means to achieving our mandate.
Prof Thokozani Majozi, CSIR Board Chairperson, congratulated the organisation on its achievements and encouraged it to be visible and accessible to all. He referred to language as a key contributor to making science accessible and understandable by different age groups, especially the young as their love for science starts from an early age. He highlighted the key role the CSIR could play in identifying the key determinants of poverty, inequality and unemployment and explicitly draw the link between its research work and addressing these determining factors.
The Deputy President and the Minister also had an opportunity to visit the massive exhibition display, showcasing the CSIR and industry’s capabilities in the science and technology arena.
The 5th CSIR conference programme will feature presentations from the CSIR’s own leading experts, as well as talks by various local industry leaders and international experts in various scientific and technological fields.
Click here for the full address by the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa.