Organised by Dr Phil Mjwara, Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology, South African Ministry for Science and Technology & Co-organised by Aidan Gilligan, SciCom
Sunday 16 February, 15h00 PM – 16h30 PM, (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Annual Meeting 2014, 13-17 February, Chicago
Meeting Global Challenges: Discovery and Innovation


Session Description

A global village, an inter-connected world, a harmonious scientific community: these are some of the well-quoted end points of science diplomacy. As we strive to understand and mitigate challenges in climate change, energy and resource efficiency, health and demographic change, food security, and the digital divide, global partnerships must be built and sustained. It is not easy. Neither is a one-size-fits-all approach always the best option. Protecting difference and promoting winner-takes-all scientific competition is equally important. This high-profile session spotlights decision-makers from Brussels, Cape Town, and Washington responsible for striking this balance and influencing the largest budgets in global science.

Their mandate is to place discovery and innovation at the core of international politics. Their success is measured against creating the necessary knowledge, jobs, and growth to see the developed and developing world through the economic downturn. Their goal of achieving sustainable development and alleviating poverty is shared. An important focus will be Africa’s determination to not only harness science and technology for the continent’s development, but to become a full and active partner in global knowledge partnerships. Progress toward a European Innovation Union with dynamic international cooperation links will be assessed, and U.S. insights into concrete actions and the strong international dimension required will be examined. Best practices and pitfalls will be identified.

Relevance to the Theme and the Audience:

This session will be both accessible and appealing to delegates coming from all countries especially interested in pressing global issues and the latest impulses driving science for policy. It tackles head-on the 2014 theme of meeting global challenges through discovery and innovation by bringing together some of the key science actors on the world stage. Covering Africa, Europe and the US, it has the potential to be both topical and insightful.

South African Flag Organiser:
Dr Phil Mjwara,
Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology, South African Ministry for Science and Technology, Republic of South Africa. Care Of: Daan du Toit, Minister Counsellor (Science and Technology): South African Mission to the European Union (Senior S&T Representative to the EU: South African Department of Science and Technology) Rue Montoyer 17-19 B-1000, Brussels, Belgium. Phone Number: +32473687514; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Irish Flag Co-organiser:
Aidan Gilligan,
Founder, CEO SciCom - Making Sense of Science, Euroscience Governing Board Member, ESOF Copenhagen 2014, International Media & Marketing Committee Vice-Chair. 121 Rue Franklin, 1000, Brussels, Belgium. Phone Number: +32474042602; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
UK Flag Moderator:
Mr. Clive Cookson,
Research Editor, Financial Times, 1 Southwark Bridge, SE1 9HL, London, UK. Phone Number: +442078733000; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


Presentation Title: A United Europe of Innovation States

german Flag Speaker 1:
Dr Rudolf Strohmeier,
Deputy Director-General, Research & Innovation, European Commission. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Talk Description:

As the ambitious Horizon 2020 Strategy is placed firmly on the rails, potentially revolutionising the place of science and innovation in the European Union, its architect will provide timely insights into those inter-regional and global cooperation imperatives that shaped its very existence. Concrete case-studies around flagship European initiatives from the digital agenda and industrial policy to the strategy on innovation, jobs and employment, will underpin how the European Commission proposes to transform EU research structures while completing the ambitious European Research Area. Key to their success are plans led by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn to grow and capitalise on the innovation capacity and capability of actors from higher education, research, business and entrepreneurship from the EU and beyond. This talk will spotlight these efforts and their strong international dimension.


Presentation Title: Scientific Cooperation In and With Africa

South African Flag Speaker 2:
Dr Phil Mjwara,
Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology, South African Ministry for Science and Technology, Republic of South Africa.

Talk Description:

South Africa’s determination to become one of the world’s most competitive knowledge-based economies is gathering speed through the implementation of its Ten Year Innovation Plan. This three-legged blueprint for scientific cooperation inside South Africa and with Africa and with the world, spans focus areas from space science and astronomy to better understanding the human and social dynamics societies in transition. Recent membership of the BRICS, the appointment of a South African as Head of the African Union and the high-profile award of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope are all indicative of South Africa and Africa’s ambition to contribute to global scientific enterprise. Yet, this equal-partner role often risks being overlooked. Minister Hanekom’s talk will underscore pan-African efforts to address grand challenges such as global change, energy security and the fight against disease. He will demonstrate how South Africa is actively pursuing these objectives through a range of dynamic international partnerships. The message from Africa is clear: science is not a reward but an instrument for development and South Africa and Africa are determined to harness its full potential.


Presentation Title: A Crucial Moment for Science Cooperation

US Flag Speaker 3:
Dr Vaughan Turekian,
Chief International Officer and Director, Center for Science Diplomacy, Editor-in-Chief, Science Diplomacy Journal, 1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington DC, DC 20005, USA. Phone Number: +1 202-326-6650; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Talk Description:

Despite being in the midst of a "Great Recession," the first Obama administration dramatically increased science and technology investment and elevated science in policy-making. This acted as a carrier-wave for science globally. The second Obama administration may yet shift gear and funding may decline. Regardless, international cooperation in science and technology has gained renewed prominence as a tool for bettering relations with the world, as well as addressing the most urgent global challenges. Building on the insights of previous speakers, this talk will examine whether the development of a truly global scientific enterprise is within reach and assess the obstacles that have yet to be confronted. How should we incorporate rising scientific communities such as China and Africa into the currently Western-oriented scientific structure? How can we cooperate while competing for scarce international resources, evidenced by the newfound scramble for Africa? How can we address explosive tensions between scientific information and societal and political directions? All governments and regions face new challenges in terms of how science is viewed and used. Attitudes and perceptions about science, ranging from issues at the nexus of religion and politics, and competitiveness and immigration, may sometimes seem irreconcilable with science-based progress. This talk will offer educated guesses about how we might share discovery and innovation and protect difference and competition, while tackling widely-held misperceptions and keeping the general public on-board.