8 December 2022 News

ICoRSA team at World Science Forum

Representatives of ICoRSA, Gordon Dalton (Chair) and Rosarii Griffin (Director) are presenting our organisation and projects at the World Science Forum (WSF) in South Africa that is being held 6-9 December 2022.

First day of the WSF, ICoRSA with support of National Research Foundation of South-Africa (NRF), South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), organised a side event “Scientific Freedom and the RRING Community Working with UNESCO on the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers (RSSR)”. Around 40 participants attended in person and online at this hybrid event.

This event explored current models and frameworks for scientific freedom, in particular the H2020 project “RRING” work on the topic, via its work with UNESCO on the Recommendation for Science and Scientific Researchers (RSSR), which embodies the principles of Scientific Freedom.

The RSSR promotes a fair and appropriate status of scientific researchers and informs adequate national science, technology and innovation policies, and policies to ensure that societies use knowledge from all scientific fields in a responsible manner. Scientific freedom is at the core of the RSSR. RSSR promotes:

  • the right of researchers “to work in a spirit of intellectual freedom to pursue, expound and defend the scientific truth as they see it, an intellectual freedom which should include protection from undue influences on their independent judgement;”
  • “express themselves freely and openly on certain projects’ ethical, human, scientific, social or ecological value.
  • “ensure the protection of the human rights, fundamental freedoms and dignity of the human person, and the confidentiality of personal data.”
  • “scientific researchers’ right to publish or communicate results”
  • “providing scientific researchers in their direct employment with adequate career development prospects and facilities” and “providing the necessary funds and mechanisms for, career development, and/or redeployment”.

Beside organisation of the RRING side event, ICoRSA representatives attended many other sessions at World Science Forum.

World Science Forum (WSF): The president urged science to assist humanity in responding to disease, climate change and food insecurity

President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opened the World Science Forum (WSF) on Tuesday, 6 December, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Held under the theme of Science for Social Justice, the biennial forum is taking place for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and is being held for the first time on African soil. It is also happening as South Africa is battling load-shedding and the world at large is facing an energy crisis.

Established by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), delegates at gathering deliberate on the social and economic relevance, influence and responsibilities of science. The WSF is a platform for the scientific community, public policy makers and communities to exchange ideas on the growing interdependence of science and society, and how science can help to address global challenges facing humanity. The WSF 2022 subthemes are: science for human dignity; science for climate justice; science for Africa and the world; science for diplomacy as well as justice in science.

Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, said the African continent had registered significant progress in science. “We are the origins of humanity and therefore should also cater for the future of humanity,” said the Minister, who is also the co-chair of the WSF 2022 Steering Committee.

Opening the forum, President Ramaphosa challenged delegates to ensure that the WSF would not only be a platform for debate, but that it would also result in “concrete action” towards the betterment of lives and livelihoods. The President called for fair and equal access to scientific innovations and discoveries to close the gap between rich countries and developing economies. “Science for Social Justice expresses our conviction that inequality within and between countries is neither just nor sustainable. This event will inspire concerted global action for science to challenge and address inequality, injustice, poverty, environmental destruction and marginalisation,” he said.

“As this is the first World Science Forum to take place in Africa, we hope that it will contribute to advancing the African agenda for science, affirming the crucial contributions Africa has to make in enriching global science.”

In his keynote address, the president urged science to assist humanity in responding to disease, climate change and food insecurity.

Scientists, community, public policy makers, industry, civil society and other stakeholders were taking part in discussions about how science was connected to greater social issues, and how it could contribute to equitable treatment and allocation of resources. It has attracted more than 1,200 participants from around the world.

Read more about this here.

A new approach to strengthening science, technology and innovation (STI) systems is gaining steam: one that expands beyond priorities such as investing in research and development and establishing university–industry linkages, to include other equally important dimensions related to human rights, scientific freedom, inclusion and diversity. This emerging trend was discussed on December 7 at one of UNESCO’s sessions at the World Science Forum taking place from 6 to 9 December. This thematic session on Fostering STI Systems in Africa and Equitable International Partnerships for Environmental Sustainability and Social Inclusion took place on 7 December. As UNESCO project officer Matthew Wallace observes, ‘this new approach to strengthening STI systems is reflected in countries’ growing interest in ensuring that the benefits derived from science, technology and innovation are widely shared, extending to vulnerable or traditionally excluded members of society’. He adds that ‘countries are also increasingly ensuring that their science agendas align with social, environmental and economic goals. This is apparent from the policies formulated by countries of all income levels since the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015’.


Check out more on photos of our team.