South African Young Academy of Science



This report reflects progress made towards achieving SAYAS goals and objectives in 2017.

View Document

This report reflects progress made towards achieving SAYAS goals and objectives in 2016.

View Document

This report reflects progress made towards achieving SAYAS goals and objectives in 2015.

View Document


These Statements reflect the collective thoughts of SAYAS Members on issues of importance not only to Young Scientists but also affecting the wider fabric of society.

1. View Statement on Social Determinants of Health drafted by SAYAS and other Young Academies of Science in Africa, November 2016. Access the Full Conference Statement here

2. View SAYAS Statement on The State of Higher Education 2016 Document

3. View SAYAS Statement on The State of Higher Education 2015 Document

4. View SAYAS Statement on Xenophobic attacks 2008  Document

5. View our Policy Brief following a Food Security & Policy Workshop held in April 2018 Document


Proceedings Report: Policy Direction – Eradication of Hunger and Achievement of Food Security

Young scientists from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) deliberated on the eradication of hunger and food security at a workshop hosted by SAYAS in April 2018. Entitled, Policy Direction – Eradication of Hunger and Achievement of Food Security, the workshop sought to link young scientists and early career researchers to policymakers to strengthen the science-policy interface. The workshop was premised on food security as an integral part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that deals with poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education and responsible consumption and production.

Access the full conference report here.

Proceedings Report: 3rd SAYAS Symposium on ‘Science and (un)certainty: Exploring Science, Knowledge production, Communication and Uptake in a post-truth world

Conversation and debate has been created around decolonisation in recent years. SAYAS was therefore conscious of the need for (young) scientists, as those who engage with knowledge creation, to consider the role of higher education, science and its contribution to society and community, what constitutes scientific epistemology and its origin, and the question of inclusion and diversity. This symposium held in March 2018 proved to be an ideal forum to critically engage on these issues.

Access the full conference report here.

Proceedings Report: 8th Annual Young Scientist Conference

The 8th Annual Young Scientists’ Conference which was hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and SAYAS in July 2017 deliberated on young scientists’ role in science advice.

There is a growing movement internationally to bring together science advisors to share best practices and form a network to deal with global challenges, such as food security and climate change. Science is also at the heart of the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs). However, integrating the best science into the plans of government and others working towards the SDGs, remains a challenge. Specific themes that were deliberated upon were the Role of Young Scientists in National Strategies to Achieve the SDGs; Application of a Gender Lens in Addressing the SDGs; and Building Scientific Capacity in Young Scientists to Advance Science Policy.

Access the full conference report here.

Booklet: Research in SITE and Gender Round Table Report

SAYAS jointly co-hosted a Research in Science, Innovation, Technology and Engineering (SITE) and Gender Roundtable together with the South African National Chapter of the Organisation for Women for the Developing World (OWSD-SANC) – hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and Durban University of Technology from the 15 to 16 May 2017 at the Southern Sun Elangeni, Durban. The workshop was mainly funded through GenderInSITE, an international initiative to promote the role of women in science, innovation, technology and engineering. The workshop demonstrated how applying a gender lens to SITE can provide deeper insights, more effective programmes and more sustainable outcomes in the context of development.

Recommendations and outcomes made will feed into the report for the OWSD-SANC –SAYAS – DUT initiative to be shared with the network and strengthen mentorship programmes for women in SITE and sustainable development.

Access the full report here

Booklet: Young African scientists living their lives while climbing the academic ladder

Young scientists are the future leaders of science, technology and innovation. As the African continent increasingly works towards building knowledge economies, innovativeness in how talents of young scientists can be nurtured becomes a critical consideration.

This booklet contributes to a further understanding of the nature of careers of young scientists on the African continent and also aims to encourage young scientists in their quest to achieving scientific excellence and doing and living life as well.


Proceedings Report: Social Determinants of Health

This report focuses on social determinants of health (SDH) and is the proceedings of a workshop held in 7 to 8 November 2016 that deliberated on various policy engagements on SDH in Africa and interrogated shortfalls thereof.

The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) in collaboration with the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) and the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) hosted the workshop. Representatives from Young Academies of Science (YAs) in Africa also participated in the workshop.

SDH are defined as the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems; development agendas; social norms and policies; and political systems.

Proceedings Report: 7th Annual Young Scientists’ Conference on Human Rights

This report stems from proceedings from the 7th Annual Young Scientists’ Conference held on 6 to 7, October 2016 where human rights in general, and the rights of scientists in particular, were addressed by some 80 young and early career researchers.

The conference was hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS), Gender in Science, Innovation, Technology and Engineering (GenderInSITE), the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World South Africa National Chapter (OWSD-SANC) and the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR).

Human rights are fundamental rights of all human beings regardless of nationality, sex, race, religion, language or any other status. In South Africa, the Bill of Rights forms the cornerstone of democracy. The Bill of Rights enshrines the rights of all people in South Africa and affirms the democratic values and principles of human dignity, equality and freedom. In order to achieve these values in South Africa and in the African continent in general, citizens have to promote and respect the culture of human rights. In addition, they should promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights.

This report articulates the written, oral and poster presentations at the conference which revolved around four sub-themes, namely Human Rights in Africa: Context and Universality, Social and Scientific Dimensions of Human Sexual Diversity, Redress of Colonial Heritage in Promoting Human Rights in Africa, and the Relationship between Science and Human Rights in Africa.

Proceedings Report: Symposium on Socio-Ecological Novelty- Frontiers in Sustainability Research

This proceedings report results from deliberations of SAYAS, Die Junge Akademie and the Global Young Academy at a symposium on socio-ecological novelty in March 2013. The Presentations and discussions focused on amongst others: novel ecosystems, biological invasion, ecosystem engineers; health, mindsets and sustainable health systems; socio-ecological resilience and sustainable; adaptation to climate change; green utopia and geo-climate engineering; agricultural food production vis-à-vis sustainability including distribution challenges; sustainable energy.

The Research Experience of Young Scientists in South Africa

AE Schutte, C Wright, G Langdon, C Lochner & B Myers

Funding, future opportunities and support regarding mentorship, career guidance and financing are the main concerns and challenges of postgraduate students in South Africa. This emerged in a report, launched on 6 November 2013 of the South African Young Academy of Sciences (SAYAS), entitled ‘The Research Experience of Young Scientists in South Africa.’ The report analyses a survey conducted by SAYAS on the general needs of young scientists and provides insights into some of the reasons for the low production rate of doctoral students in the country. The survey focused on the profile and research experience of postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows in South Africa – Honours to post-PhD. A total of 1021 young scientists took part in the survey.