Universities South Africa (USAf) regularly brings together experts from universities, government, other role-players and stakeholders, to constructively deliberate issues of collective interest. This is with a view to inform and develop a shared position for Universities. These events are also a valuable opportunity to facilitate learning and deepen understanding on noteworthy topics of priority interest within the university sector.
Major events held in the past five years include a Transformation Conference in 2013 and three Biennial Research & Innovation Conferences in 2010, 2012 and 2014, respectively.
Biennial Research & Innovation events
The notion of a biennial Research & Innovation conference was conceptualised by USAf’s Research and Innovation Strategy Group (RISG) in 2010, during which the inaugural event was hosted. The conference has subsequently been held biennially, in 2012 and 2014 respectively. In line with USAf’s mandate to strengthen research and innovation in the higher education sector, the conference has brought under one roof, the brightest minds drawn from academics, researchers, policy makers, business and civil society. It devised ways and means of placing research and innovation in the centre of policy-making, national development planning and implementation for a more prosperous South Africa.
USAf proudly hosted a Research and Innovation Dialogue at Emperors Palace in April 2016, themed Leveraging R & I for South Africa’s Prosperity.
The 2016 event was an action-oriented, workshop-type dialogue that involved a targeted list of delegates from universities, government and other agencies to engage on a range of matters relating to university sector research and innovation. Fifteen guest speakers introduced specific thematic topics, followed by facilitated discussions. The Dialogue was designed to enable substantive discussions and debates on selected thematic areas, which include Research and Innovation Funding; Research Infrastructure and Cyber-infrastructure; Transformation and the Next Generation of Academics.
Attended by invitation only, the 2016 Dialogue assembled up to 60 delegates from Universities, the departments of Higher Education and Training, Science & Technology and Trade & Industry. Agencies such as the National Research Foundation (NRF), the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) and science councils were also represented.
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