Planned Activities for Working Group 1: Capacity building for scientific excellence

Focuses on mentorship, Annual Young Scientist conference, SAYAS Researcher profiles, regional meetings and roadshows, SAYAS governance, and postgraduate workshops.

Project Activities Timeline
Celebrating SAYAS Members 1. Rebuilding SAYAS Website
2. Developing up to date researcher profiles
3. Posting and celebrating achievements through news posts on website and socials
4. Reposting articles by SAYAS members, e.g., from The Conversation
March – December 2024
Annual Young Scientist Conference 1. Assisting Organising Committee
2. Assisting Scientific Committee
3. Host ‘The Academic Path’ Workshop
In June/July – dates to be confirmed
Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Online Workshops 1. Blog writing and Science Communication workshop
2. How to read and analyse a paper workshop
3. How to apply for your first independent research grant in South Africa
July – November 2024 Workshops across the year

Planned Activities for Working Group 2: Strategic partnerships and policy influence

Focuses on scientific cohorts, SAGE, Young Academy collaborations/partnerships, research assessment and evaluation, BRICS Young Scientist Conclave, Science Forum.

Project Activities Timeline
SAYAS, ASSAf, LAST and LesYAS Webinar 1. In commemoration of Africa Day Theme: Transforming Africa’s education system through education 4.0
2. Celebrating Africa Day = Importance
24 May 2024
Young Academies in Africa and Globally 1. Strengthening and fostering the partnership of the young academies with local and international partners April 2024 to April 2025
Update, Review, and Structure SAYAS Documents • Policy analysis and update relating to SAYAS working groups. June 2024
National Science Week All SAYAS members will be encouraged to partake and be visible in any science activity during the national science week. August 2024
Communicating Discovery Science International Symposium Announcement and Call for Proposals: Collaborative proposal will be issued and sent to participate. 18-20 November 2024
Science Forum Run a workshop about Science Diplomacy policy and what it entails (at the Science Forum, for example). Dec 2024

Planned Activities for Working Group 3: Science communication

Focuses on science communication, feeding the pipeline, social media, podcasts, school outreach, and National Science Week.

Project Activities Timeline
Building Capacity Teaching postgraduate students on how to apply for funding opportunities such as NRF, WRC etc. April – May 2024
School visits/Science center visits Serve as role models, provide stationary kits, science competitions as well as mobile exhibits. Quarterly
National Science Week To participate in the science week as well as the launching. July – August
Green Youth Indaba Mobile exhibits, career exhibitions, and research guide. June
Nobel Laureate Prize Nobel Laureate awardees will act as role models for grade 8-12 and teach them mathematics and physics. Quarterly
World’s Mental Health Day Running a seminar on mental health day. This can be incorporated onto the SAYAS conference. October
Call for Nominations/Applications – SAYAS

2024 Call for Nominations/Applications for New Members of the South African Young Academy of Science

The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS), founded in September 2011, is calling for applications for new members. This letter is to request nominations of outstanding young scientists who may be elected as members of SAYAS. In the founding year (2011), 20 young scientists were elected. 10 new members have been elected progressively on an annual basis and in 2024, a minimum of 10 new members will be elected. After five years of service, members will become alumni and will be replaced by newly elected members.

Qualification Criteria for Nomination

  • Be in possession of a PhD or equivalent degree in any field of scientific enquiry, where science is defined broadly as encompassing natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, medical sciences and engineering;
  • Be under the age of 40 years and within 7 years from award of a PhD at the time of nomination. Nomination of candidates who deviate from this profile requires additional motivation;
  • Evidence of scientific excellence through a proven publication record, and receipt of honours and awards;
  • Evidence of activities demonstrating service to society;
  • Be willing to actively work towards achieving the goals of SAYAS as well as a commitment to attending the Annual General Meetings (AGM).

Institutions/associations/individuals may nominate more than one candidate. Self-nominations shall also be considered, provided that the nomination is endorsed by the nominee’s institution. Please use the attached 2024 form to apply or nominate suitable candidates. Moreover, kindly assist us in circulating the call widely to your databases and networks.

Applicants are requested to fully complete the nomination form and send the completed form together with the supporting documents at once to the SAYAS Secretariat at kholani@assaf.org.za by 30 June 2024. Late submissions will not be considered.

Instructions for Nominators of Applicants to the South African Young Academy of Science

The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) seeks to elect the country’s leading emerging researchers in basic and applied science, engineering, social sciences, arts and the humanities. In addition to their demonstrated research excellence, candidates should also be able to show an ongoing commitment to improving South Africa through academically motivated engagement in community development, capacity building and mentoring activities.

Expected Achievements for Successful Applicants:

  • A career significantly in advance of their peers of similar age, as evidenced by for example: publication record; early appointment to a professorship or other senior tenured position; successful leadership and completion of major research projects; National Research Foundation (NRF) rating; heading a research laboratory or group
  • Publications in leading journals
  • Receipt of major national and/or international academic awards
  • Service on national committees (government, civil society, private sector or similar)
  • Appointment or election to senior roles in national or international academic organisations or professional societies
  • Starting a successful company to develop and commercialise research
  • Involvement in community development, capacity building and mentoring activities

The nominator (which does not need to be a SAYAS member) should include the following information in the letter of support:

  • A brief description of your current professional position;
  • Details of how long and in what capacity you have known the applicant;
  • An explanation of why you believe that the applicant should be considered one of the top-ranked young scientists at the national level, as evidenced by the criteria listed above, or similar achievements;
  • Your opinion on the commitment demonstrated by the applicant to the delivery of any practical impact from their research, which might include economic, social, environmental or other benefits; and
  • Your opinion on how the applicant could both contribute towards and benefit from the activities of the South African Young Academy of Science.

All information supplied will be treated in confidence and used only for the purpose of adjudicating applications to join SAYAS.

We look forward to your applications and nominations.