As the driving force behind the new INSITE (International Science, Innovation and Technology Exhibition) taking place at Gallagher Estate, Midrand between 1 and 3 November 2004, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is pulling out all the stops to demonstrate SA's achievements and accomplishments in these fields against those of the 13 other exhibiting countries.
On the South African stand, a number of DST-related organisations will showcase their current and future innovation, science and technology (IST) projects, with the aim of illustrating the full impact of the DST's work on SA's development and future. These include:
* The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) - SA's principal agricultural research institution, ARC is committed to agricultural research, technology development and technology transfer within the macro framework of the agricultural sector strategy in SA. All activities are directed at the optimisation of agriculture's role in national growth and development. The ARC is the implementing agent for the DST Technology for Poverty Reduction Unit's projects.
* The DST Advanced Manufacturing Unit (AMU) - The aim of the AMU is to develop, coordinate and manage a National System of Innovation that will bring about maximum human capital, sustainable economic growth and improved quality of life for all. The AMU focuses its efforts on specific technology areas including industrial design, ICT in manufacturing, advanced logistics, advanced materials, and product and production technologies. Current projects include those to establish a world-class titanium industry in SA; a study of the local aerospace industry; a nanotechnology project in health related to TB; and Project AuTEK, a nanotechnology project aimed at increasing the industrial consumption of gold for the sustainability of our natural resources.
* The Council for Geoscience - Concerned with the geology of SA, this council's projects include the extensive magnetotelluric (MT) research project across the Kaapvaal craton. Known as the Southern African Magnetolluric Experiment, or SAMTEX, this is the largest land-based MT project ever undertaken. Other projects include rural mineral development to alleviate poverty and the production of an International Metallogenic Map of Africa.* The CSIR - The central scientific research and development resource for SA has a number of projects under way including a bioprospecting project focused on deriving mosquito repellent from indigenous plants; the European Commission Framework Programme; the strategic development of the SA aerospace industry; the development of a National Accessibility Portal aimed specifically at people with disabilities; the Digital Doorway project which undertakes to introduce computer literacy to all South Africans by means of minimally invasive education; and the promotion of indigenous foods to help alleviate poverty.
* The Design Institute of SA - The Design Institute promotes design leadership in order to stimulate economic and technological development and industrial competitiveness in SA. At present, their major project concerns the development of sustainable rural transport.
* The Human Sciences Research Council - This research agency is dedicated to the applied social sciences and all aspects of development and poverty alleviation in SA and Africa. Projects undertaken include the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study; the Centre for Science and Technology Innovation Indicators; Science and Technology for Poverty Reduction; the Predicting Urban Migration project; the first Nelson Mandela/HSRC Study of HIV/AIDS; the Human Resources Development Review on Education; Employment and Skills; and the Geographical Information System Centre.
* The DST ICT Unit - With a focus on R&D, innovation and investment in ICT in SA, the ICT Unit's projects include the ICT Technology Roadmap, which serves to coordinate a collaborative industry-led process to identify priority technologies for research towards yielding innovation that will address future markets. Projects on display will include the Open Source Initiative; the Digital Doorway Project, the ICT R&D Strategy; the South African National Research Network and GEANT - the Global Education and Research Network.
* The DST International Cooperation Unit - With the aim of promoting science and technology cooperation between SA and other African and overseas countries, and South African participation in multilateral science and technology organisations, the International Cooperation Unit's projects include the Africa Laser Centre - a virtual centre of excellence aimed at enabling African nations to collaborate with each other internationally to play a major role in utilising light to advance science and technology.
* The Medical Research Council - Tasked with improving the health and quality of life of all South Africans through excellent Scientific Research, the MRC's showcase will include displays on their projects involving the extraction of new drugs for AIDS, TB and Malaria from South African plants; the use of telebroadcasting for health education; as well as a display on DNA and how it is used in everyday life. Other displays will include those on the development of a vaccine against HIV; growing new bones using protein; tracking mosquitoes and malaria using sophisticated communication technology; and viewing the inside of the body with new medical devices.
* Mintek - Our national minerals research organisation is one of the world's leading technology organisations specialising in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related areas. Mintek's projects include the development of bioleaching technology for treating refractory gold ores and other metals; the development of their FloatStar system - a suite of software tools that can be used to enhance the performance of flotation circuits in the mineral industry; and the development of the iGoli process - a mercury-free gold extraction process. Through Project AuTEK, Mintek is collaborating with AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Gold Fields and international and local universities to explore new industrial uses for gold.
* The National Research Foundation (NRF) - The key public entity responsible for supporting the development of human resource capacity for research, technology and innovation in the fields of science and technology, the NRF's projects include the SA National Antarctic programme; the Public Understanding of Biotechnology programme; the African Coelacanth Ecosystem programme; and the Royal Society/NRF research programme. A model of their South African Large Telescope - the largest single telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, with a hexagonal mirror array 11 metres across that allows SALT to record distant stars, galaxies and quasars a billion times too faint to be seen by the unaided eye - will also be on show. In addition, SAEON (South African Environmental Observation Network), consisting of a network of centres responsible for ecological and environmental research over long periods, will showcase their video. The video runs for approximately 27 minutes and contains beautiful images of South African and African scenery interspersed by brief interviews with South African environmental scientists and policy-makers.
* The DST Resource-Based Industries (RBI) Unit - The RBI promotes research, development and innovation in resource-based industries such as mining and minerals, energy, aquaculture and water. Projects include the Pebble-Bed Modular Reactor (a project that will revolutionise the electricity supply industry and make electricity available to a larger population); Fuel Cells/ Hydrogen Economy (a project aimed at replacing the use of imported crude oil for transportation fuel with hydrogen fuel cells to create major benefits for the country such as off-grid electrification of rural areas and energy security for SA); Minerals Beneficiation (specifically of Platinum and Titanium to create jobs locally and improve sustainability of mining in SA); and an Aquaculture project to improve food security
* The DST Science, Gender and Disability (SGD) Unit - The SGD is concerned with issues relevant to the progress of women in science and has the specific aim of achieving gender and disability equity in the programmes delivered within the national system of innovation. Projects include a study entitled "Facing the facts: Women's participation in Science, Engineering and Technology in South Africa" and the South African Women in Science Awards.
* The DST Science and Youth Unit - Aiming to renew resources in science, technology and engineering, this unit's projects include the DST Network of Science Centres; National Science Week; Expo for Young Scientists; Career booklets; Supplementary Tuition; and Collaboration with the Department of Education.
* The DST Technology for Poverty Reduction Unit - Focused mainly on agroprocessing technologies for achieving sustainable reduction of poverty in rural and peri-urban areas, this unit's projects include the development of Bee Farming; Indigenous Food Processing; and Oyster Mushroom Propagation in rural areas.
* The DST Technology Transfer Unit - With the aim of increasing the competitiveness of SMMEs through technology transfer interventions that are rendered by its highly specialised and sector-specific stations within the Universities of Technology, this unit's projects include the development of a Solar Cooker; Biodiesel Technology Transfer; and the Weld Gun Project.
You can see displays, models and presentations of all these projects, as well as those of 13 other countries, simply by attending INSITE.
INSITE - the International Science, Innovation & Technology Exhibition - is organised in Gauteng by Exhibitions for Africa. This year's event takes place between 1 and 3 November 2004 at Gallagher Estate, Midrand. Exhibition visitors can register for their free entrance to the show at www.insitex.co.za.
INSITE is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology which strives towards creating a better SA for all by facilitating the growth of these two major industries in such a way that makes a positive and noticeable impact on the sustainable development of our country. This is achieved through focused interventions, networking, and by acting as a catalyst for change in both components of our economy to ensure that SA makes its mark in a globally competitive environment while simultaneously addressing the huge development backlog that exists among the poorest components of society within our own borders.
The goal of realising this vision is underpinned by the department's development and resourcing strategies for the formation of science, engineering and technology human capital, the democratisation of state and society, the promotion of an information society, and ensuring environmental sustainability in all development programmes.
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