South African Young Academy of Science



The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) is the voice of young scientists in South Africa. SAYAS aims to contribute towards solutions to national and global challenges facing society; provide a platform for young scientists to influence policy decisions; contribute towards the development of scientific capacity in South Africa through mentoring and role-modeling of future scientists; and foster opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations amongst young scientists.


The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) was launched in 2011. The Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Derek Hanekom, inaugurated twenty leading young scientists as Founder Members of SAYAS at the launch. Subsequently, 10 additional members are elected into the Academy annually. SAYAS was borne out of the need for young scientists to contribute towards solutions to national and global challenges facing society. It represents the voice of young scientists in South Africa and provides a platform for young scientists to influence policy decisions. SAYAS has a very close relationship with the Academy of Science of South Africa and the Department of Science and Technology.

Founding SAYAS Members

Some of the SAYAS Founding Members with Mrs Naledi Pandor, Minister Department of Science & Technology


SAYAS governed by the General Assembly comprising all members of the young academy, an Executive Committee and a Board, the latter which provide strategic advice to the academy.

Constitution (View Document)

The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of SAYAS and makes final decisions on all matters affecting SAYAS.

Executive Committee

View Executive Committee

Board Members

View Board Members


At the launch of SAYAS in 2011, 20 founding members were elected. Since then, 10 members are elected into the young academy annually.

View Members


SAYAS calls for nomination of young scientists into the academy on an annual basis. To qualify for nomination, a candidate should meet the following criteria:

  • Possession of a Doctoral degree in any field of scientific enquiry, where science is defined broadly as encompassing natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, medical sciences and engineering
  • Evidence of scientific excellence through an established publications record, and receipt of honours and awards;
  • Evidence of activities demonstrating service to society;
  • Willingness to volunteer their time and effort to SAYAS activities.
  • Typically under the age of 40 years and within 7 years from receipt of Doctoral degree at the time of nomination. Nomination of candidates who deviate from this expected profile requires additional motivation.

Note: Be willing to actively work towards achieving the goals of SAYAS as well as a commitment to attending the Annual General Meetings (AGM).

Anyone can nominate an emerging young scientist for SAYAS membership.

Nominations for 2022 New SAYAS Members

The South African Young Academy of Science 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 African science through engagement in community development, capacity building and mentoring activities.

This process is conducted annually.

SAYAS Call for New Member Nominations Letter 2022- The Call_2022
Nomination Form – SAYAS-New-Member-Nomination-Form-2022
SAYASBackground Information

Note: The Call for New members 2022 is now open until 30 June 2022. 



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