Leverage science for the betterment of society urges Nzimande – SABC News

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Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande has urged South African researchers to leverage science for the betterment of society during his keynote address at the Science Forum conference in Pretoria.

The event, attended by about four thousand delegates, including innovators, ICT industry experts, and policymakers, is fostering discussions on diverse topics with a focus on the inclusive nature of science and its potential to drive economic and societal progress in South Africa.

Nzimande emphasised the need for increased investment in scientific development and education, asserting that such initiatives would highlight the role of science in daily life for ordinary South Africans.

He says, “We are doing a lot in science. If I just take South Africa, but we are not communicating that enough. Basic science literacy is crucial for ordinary communities to understand the role played by science in promoting welfare.”

Encouraging delegates to contribute to the fight against poverty and inequalities through science, Nzimande also outlined the importance of science being inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Science diplomacy to address global challenges:

International Relations Deputy Director General, Daan du Toit, echoed the sentiment, “If we are going to unleash the potential of science to make a difference in the South African economy and society, then science cannot be for a select few. Science has to be inclusive and for everyone.”

The conference, attended by international delegates, covers various topics, with a particular focus on nuclear energy.

Despite concerns surrounding nuclear power, Professor Mike Sthekge, Head of Nuclear Medicine at Pretoria University, highlighted the positive contributions of nuclear energy.

Sthekge says, “Speaking to agriculture and food security, nuclear has already done a lot. Also in health. South Africa is at the forefront in cancer research where we can minimise the toxicity while being instrumental in improving the lifespan and the quality of life.”

The Science Forum conference aims to facilitate collaboration and discussions to make science work for South Africa’s economic and societal advancement.

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