South African Young Academy of Science



Find out what these young South African scientists have to say about meeting their Nobel Laureate heroes at the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting in Germany. Video Below:


The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) has successfully nominated ten top young scientists from South Africa to attend the 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting which will be an interdisciplinary meeting dedicated to the disciplines of Chemistry, Physics and Physiology/Medicine.

The South African young scientists are: Gina Leisching, Stellenbosch University; Joyful Elma Mdhluli, University of the Witwatersrand; Mantwa Annah Lephoto, University of South Africa; Martin Page, Stellenbosch University; Nabila Ismail, University of Pretoria; Nqobile Xaba, Tshwane University of Technology; Percy Hohne, Central University of Technology; Rabelani Mudzielwana, University of Venda; Sunaina Indermun, University of the Witwatersrand and Zamani Cele, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

They will join 660 young scientists from 101 countries who will participate in the Meeting. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting has been postponed this year and will be held on 27 June to 2 July 2021.

Access more information on the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting at:




ASSAf has successfully nominated nine top young scientists from South Africa to attend the 7th Lindau Meeting of the Laureates of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel in Lindau, Germany. The meeting dates in 25 to 29 August 2020 have been postponed to 24 to 28 August 2021 in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The South African young scientists are: Daniela Lamparelli, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); Gracious Nyoni, Wits; Hayley Wakefield, University of the Western Cape (UWC); Moegammad Faeez Nackerdien, UWC; Nimi Hoffmann, Rhodes University; Nozuko Lawana, University of Fort Hare; Bongumusa Makhoba, University of Zululand; Ombeswa Ralarala, University of Limpopo and Tumisang Loate, University of Pretoria.

They will join an estimated 450 young scientists from 100+ countries along with 40 Nobel laureates

Access more information on the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting at:



Over the years, SA young scientists have been nominated by the Academy of South Africa (ASSAf) to participate in various events, symposia and conferences, both within South Africa and internationally, and have also been nominated for prestigious awards. This is part of ASSAf’s capacity building initiatives and its responsibility to foster the next generation of leading scholars and to involve young scientists in finding solutions to national and global challenges through science.

ASSAf started engaging with the Lindau Laureate Foundation in 2013. The academy worked with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) to nominate over 24 young scientists to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. The involvement with the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings comes as a result of the recognition of the importance of the uniqueness of these meetings and their impact on tomorrow’s academic elite from all over the world. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings align with the mandate of ASSAf to honour distinguished scholars in all fields of scientific enquiry, including women and young scientists, and to generate evidence-based solutions to national and global challenges.

In July 2015, ASSAf signed of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lindau Foundation and the DST, which has led to the academy being recognised as the nominating partner of the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meetings. This implies that ASSAf can nominate leading young scientists in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and medicine/physiology; and recommend them for final selection by the Lindau Foundation. The academy also provides them with travel support and raises awareness of the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meetings among young scientists in South Africa.

In this regard, ASSAf has created a network of SA Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in South Africa (and Africa) so that they engage with other young scientist opportunities including what the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) is doing. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings also link young scientists with science journalists. Each year a science journalist is nominated to accompany the young scientist to Lindau Germany. A send-off event is also organised annually where senior officials of the Department of Science and Technology and ASSAf as well as various representatives from organisations in the National System of Innovation and SA Lindau Alumni address the new selected participants and also undertake outreach activities.

ASSAf as an Academic Partner

  • Academic partners to the Lindau Nobel Lareate Meetings are worldwide network of excellence
  • ASSAf is one of the world wide academic partners of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings since 2015
  • Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings cooperates with more than 200 of the most renowned science and research institutions in about 65 countries that they call academic partners
  • The role is to identify the most qualified participants- young scientists below 35 years of age
  • There are advantages to be nominated by an academic partners than applying directly
  • Promoting and inspiring young scientists is important to the academic partners and to Lindau Foundation
  • Nomination does not guarantee participation as the final word is with the Lindau Foundation
  • The network of academic partners is expanding and this is governed through Memorandum of Understanding
  • Academic partners advance the internationalisation process of the Lindau Meetings
  • Requirements: Masters, PhD, Post Doc: Top 5% of class, below 35 years, CV and publication history- recommendation
  • Application has two processes:
    (1) Regular: Apply when the call comes out in September or October. Nomination by the Academic partner that organizes an internal selection committee that involves SAYAS, the Department of Science and Technology and ASSAf members. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Council and Foundation then conduct a further vetting process.
    (2) Exceptional: Apply directly to Lindau Foundation where the Academic partner is not involved.

Involvement of the candidate in other extra mural activities makes a different. The candidate should prove beyond doubt that they are the best of the best and will engage on equal footing with counterparts from all over the world as well as interact with Nobel Laureates.

SA hosts the International Day at the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting provided an opportunity for South Africa to host the International Day, to present itself during the day and to showcase scientific and innovative excellence, as well as the country’s culinary and cultural offerings. Mr Bheki Hadebe, Director: High End Skills, and Mr Thembinkosi Magasela, Deputy Director: Emerging Researcher Programmes from the DST were the SA representatives.

-In lieu of SA hosting the International Day this year, the number of young scientists was increased from ten to twenty.

A start to the International Day activities was the hosting of a breakfast meeting featuring a panel discussion with SA early career researchers and an assigned Nobel laureate. The theme for the session was: Global science in reaching for the stars. The following were panelists for this session: Dr Frank Bradley, Senior Developer -Project Lead, South African Radio Astronomical Observatory; Dr Buyisiwe Sondezi, Lecturer – Physics, University of Johannesburg; Prof. Thebe Medupe, Deputy Dean: Community Engagement and Stakeholder Relations, North West University and Prof. Brian Schmidt, 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Dr Beverley Damonse, Group Executive: Science Engagement and Corporate Relations, National Research Foundation acting as the Facilitator.

The Dinner programme  included a showcase of SA culture through dance and music and the delivery of appropriate hospitality for all participants, such as cultural characteristics seeing in the table décor and South African cuisine.

See the article:

See more moments captured in a special edition of the ASSAf Newsletter:

The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Physics

The ASSAf nominated delegates to Lindau in 2019 were: Tariq Blecher, Rhodes University/Square Kilometre Array (SKA); Stive Djiokop, Nelson Mandela University (NMU); Jake Gordin, University of Cape Town (UCT); Thandi Gumede, Central University of Technology (CUT); Arthur Harrisson, University of Pretoria (UP); Julia Healy, UCT/ South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO); Jan Louw, Stellenbosch University; Genevéve Marx, NMU; Itumeleng Monageng, UCT/ South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO); Francis Otieno, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); Valentine Saasa, UP/Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); Michael Sarkis, Wits; Hester Schutte, North-West University (NWU); Katekani Shingange, UFS; Sinenhlanhla Sikhosana, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN); Kimeel Sooknunan, UCT; Tanita Ramburuth-Hurt, Wits; Johannes Thiersen, NWU; Nicole Thomas, University of the Western Cape (UWC)/ SARAO; Danielle Venter, NMU.

-In lieu of SA hosting the International Day this year, the number of young scientists was increased from ten to twenty.

Three additional SA young scientists also attended: Pontsho Mbule,  University of South Africa (UNISA); Dr Opeyemi Shakirah Odutemowo (UP) and Nonkululeko Radebe,  Karlsrhue Insitute of Technology (KIT), Germany. Pontsho and Opeyemi were nominated by The World Academy of Sciences and Nonkululeko through the Open process.

They  joined 580 young scientists from 88 countries who participated from 30 June to 5 July 2019, along with 38 Nobel laureates in this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

The 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Physiology/Medicine

The ASSAf nominated delegates to Lindau in 2018 were: Ms Blessing Ahiante (North-West University (NWU)), Ms Shireen Mentor (University of the Western Cape), Ms Edith Phalane (NWU), Ms Zimkitha Soji (University of Fort Hare), Dr Eileen Thomas (Stellenbosch University), and Dr Bianca Verlinden (University of Pretoria).

ASSAf’s delegates to the meeting are all female at PhD or postdoctoral level, from universities around South Africa. Some, like Dr Eileen Thomas from University of Stellenbosch, are already medical doctors and are now focusing on medical research. She is looking for biological signs of post-traumatic stress disorder in rape victims, in order to diagnose the disorder and start treatment sooner. Others are interested in more basic research, like Edith Phalane from NWU, who is looking at heart disease in HIV patients.

Other South African delegates this year included Mr Keith Ncube (applied through the Open process), Ms Elsa Nolte and Dr Michelle Visagie (all from the University of Pretoria) and Dr Balindiwe Sishi (Stellenbosch University).

The 67th Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting and 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences

Five South Africans were among 400 young scientists from 76 countries selected to participate in the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, held from 25 – 30 June 2017. They were: Dr Hlamulo Makelane, University of the Western Cape; Frederick Malan, University of Pretoria; Funeka Nkosi, University of the Witwatersrand/CSIR; Retha Peach, North-West University, and Dr Mark Williams-Wynn, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

An especially proud moment during this meeting was at the closure when Dr Hlamulo Makelane was selected to make the closing remarks on the last of the meeting. Access her inspiring speech at:


One young South African economist represented the country at the 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences held from 22 – 26 August 2017. Ms Rozanne Bester, MCom student in Economics at the University of Pretoria was nominated by ASSAf. Bester was among 350 international young economists from 66 countries who will took part in the 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences together with 18 Laureates of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.


Some of the South African participants at the 66th Meeting on Physics with one of the Nobel Laureates

Participants welcoming the Nobel Laureates at the 66th Meeting

The South African participants soaking up the experience with one of the Nobel Laureates

Prof Roseanne Diab, ASSAf Executive Officer addressing members of the Lindau Foundation

The South African delegation hosted Prof William Phillips, the 1997 Nobel Prize winner in Physics and his wife at a lunch

Mr Stanley Maphosa, ASSAf Liaison Manager at a Breakfast meeting with other African delegates

The Lindau Foundation banner as the town of Lindau welcomes the Young scientists

Related articles from the 69th Lindau Meeting are:

    1. Pre-Travel Meeting. Access here
    2. Dreaming of the stars: how a long-term dream is bearing fruit in South African astronomy. Access here
    3. From science to technology: How and when your research should be applied. Access here
    4. South Africa welcomes the world warmly to Lindau. Access here
    5. Winning a Nobel Prize is no Easy Feat. Access here


Related articles from the 68th Lindau Meeting are:

  1. Pre-Travel Meeting. Access here
  2. 68th Lindau Meeting opens with ambitious plan for global research agreement. Access here
  3. The clock, the brain and the fly: the story of circadian rhythms. Access here
  4. Does genome editing mean progress or peril for the future of human health? Access here
  5. African researchers making change on their own terms. Access here
  6. South Africa shines at Lindau. Access here

Related articles from the 67th Lindau Meeting are:

  1. Pre-Travel Meeting. Access here
  2. Five steps to winning a Nobel Prize. Access here
  3. African solutions to the malaria problem. Access here
  4. Knowledge, inspiration, connection: the legacy of Lindau 2017. Access here
  5. Climate change and the next generation of scientific endeavour at Lindau. Access here