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CoE-FS wraps up a year of engagement at Science Forum South Africa

Published December 11, 2023, by Carla Bernardo

The DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security (CoE-FS) finished off its year of conference engagement activities at Science Forum South Africa (SFSA), the country’s major public science event.

The CoE-FS at Science Forum South Africa 2023. From left to right: Oscar Sithole, Yanga Cetyiwe, Tintswalo Baloyi, Edwin Karoney, Prof Lise Korsten (CoE-FS co-director), Manana Dlangalala, Elaine Petersen (CoE-FS finance manager), Sheldon Viviers, and Carla Bernardo (CoE-FS communication manager).

SFSA took place in Pretoria, with the main programme running from 6 to 8 December 2023. The conference was attended by an array of stakeholders, including the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande; primary and high school learners, students, representatives from the various levels of government, and leading researchers from across the country, and the continent.

The CoE-FS, which is hosted by the University of the Western Cape and co-hosted by the University of Pretoria, participated in SFSA with an exhibition to showcase the centre’s research and impact. Professor Lise Korsten, the CoE-FS’s co-director and the president of the African Academy of Sciences, served on multiple panels, and moderated the session, “Science transformation – working towards shared equipment platforms and networks”.

CoE-FS grantees (master’s students, and PhD and postdoctoral researchers) joined the exhibition, which provided them with the opportunity to hone their science communication skills, network, share their research, and meet leading minds in their respective fields of study.

As part of the CoE-FS’s exhibition, the team called on delegates to share their thoughts on why hunger needs to be politicised, and why South African politicians should implement indicators of hunger on their performance monitoring. Delegates were also asked to share their ideas on how we can better build an equitable, sustainable food system for all as a nation.

CoE-FS research excellence recognised at the 2023 Nutrition Congress. From left to right: Dr Tamryn Frank, Prof Rina Swart and Dr Chantell Witten.

SFSA marks the CoE-FS’s third national conference for 2023. In April, the CoE-FS showcased its research at the 2023 Nutrition Congress, where three CoE-FS researchers were recognised for their contribution to the field, and research excellence:

  • Professor Rina Swart, the CoE-FS Nutrition lead, was awarded the prestigious 2023 Nutrition Society Award
  • Dr Chantell Witten, the former lead of the Infant and Young Child Feeding Advocacy Project, was the recipient of the ADSA Recognition Award
  • Dr Tamryn Frank, CoE-FS grantee, was awarded runner-up for the Congress Award: Senior Oral Presentation.

In August, the CoE-FS collaborated with InnoFoodAfrica for an exhibition at the South African Association for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST) Congress. Professor Naushad Emmambux, the Southern African principal investigator (PI) for InnoFoodAfrica, a partner of the CoE-FS, is also co-PI of the CoE-FS’s “Innovation and Technology” programme. Two CoE-FS grantees, Daddy Kgonothi and Rose Baah (pictured below), who are both based in the CoE-FS’s ‘SMART Foods’ project, were recognised with awards for their oral and poster presentations.

And in July 2023, the CoE-FS was invited to exhibit at the United Nations Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment in Rome.

During the exhibition, the CoE-FS was visited by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed, and FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. Photo: FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto.

The CoE-FS was the only South African exhibitor, showcasing alongside One UN for Nutrition (the UN’s interagency with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, World Food Programme and the World Health Organization); the Agroecology Coalition; the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition; and the UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub.

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