04 December 2012

Southern African YSSP opens in Bloemfontein

The first Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program (SA-YSSP) officially opened on 2 December 2012 at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, with 20 graduate students from around the world.

South African YSSP Opening, © Stephen Collett © Stephen Collett

South African YSSP Opening, © Stephen Collett

The opening ceremony of SA-YSSP featured several distinguished speakers. Participants and invited guests heard from Derek Hanekom, the Republic of South Africa Minister of Science and Technology, and  Professor Jonathan Jansen, Rector of the University of the Free State.

IIASA Director & CEO Prof. Pavel Kabat represented IIASA at the ceremony, along with Special Advisor to the Director/CEO Chin-Min Lee and IIASA Secretary Margaret Goud Collins.

Dr. Gansen Pillay, who heads two of the three main research divisions at IIASA's National Member Organization for South Africa, the National Research Foundation (NRF), was also present at the opening. Dr. Pillay represents the NRF on the IIASA Council.

A full list of participants and advisors (PDF) is available on the UFS Web site.

Future ventures: South Africa and IIASA

The event was an opportunity for Kabat to converse with Minister Hanekom, with respect to enhancing collaboration between South Africa and IIASA. A number of possible joint ventures were discussed, specifically:

  • Capacity-building, where more South African Postdoctoral Scholars come and work at IIASA and South African universities participate in IIASA's planned International Graduate School of Excellence.
  • Participation by South Africa in the upcoming Water Futures and Scenarios project at IIASA.
  • Enhanced collaboration between IIASA and South Africa in the area of poverty alleviation and equity issues, including a possible project on a comparison and analysis of best practices in integrated/systems solutions to water and energy access and their availability at community scale.

Dr. Kabat called the SA-YSSP "a big success story right from the start," and expressed delight at the closer working relationship developing between IIASA and institutions in South Africa.


The SA-YSSP is organized jointly by the South African National Research Foundation, an IIASA National Member Organization, the Republic of South Africa Department of Science and Technology, the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, and IIASA. 

The young scientists will carry out research projects on topics related to IIASA's research, and each will be guided by two scientists: one from South Africa and one from IIASA.

The SA-YSSP schedule also comprises a full program of lectures, workshops, and recreational activities, just like its counterpart in Austria.

From left: IIASA Director & CEO Pavel Kabat, Minister Derek Hanekom, and Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, Jonathan Jansen

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Last edited: 05 December 2012

Southern African YSSP

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