ASSAf About


keith 2437Keith Breckenridge is a Professor and Deputy Director at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research. He writes about the cultural and economic history of South Africa, particularly the gold mining industry, the state and the development of information systems. The award was presented to Prof Keith Breckenridge for his book titled Biometric State: The Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present. The book shows how the South African obsession with Francis Galton's universal fingerprint identity registration served as a 20th century incubator for the current systems of biometric citizenship being developed throughout the South.

Strengthening the Science Business Society Dialogue in the SADC Region
5 - 7 December 2016 - CSIR International Convention Centre

Science Business Society Dialogue: The Voice of Young Scientists - Dr Anna Coussens, Former Executive Committee Member, Global Young Academy (GYA)

Science, Business and Society in the SADC Region: An Overview - Prof Francis Petersen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town

Technology Transfer - Prof Mammo Muchie, Research Chair in Innovation Studies, Tshwane University of Technology

Early Stakeholder Involvement - Mr Florian Schütz, Senior Research and Innovation Advisor, Fraunhofer Center  for Responsible Research and Innovation (CeRRI), Germany

Business Initiatives for Knowledge Transfer - Ms Kammy Young, Innovation Centre of Expertise Manager, Eskom Holding

Intellectual Property Rights - Dr Kerry Faul, Head, National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO)

Innovative Funding Options - Mr Imraan Patel, DDG, Department of Science and Technology

The Key Drivers of Science-Industry Collaborations in Service of Society -  Ms Lynette Chen, Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD Business Foundation

The Role of Science-Industry Collaborations in Service of Society - Dr Thulani Dlamini, Vice-President, SASOL

Bridging the Gap between Science Business Society in the SADC Region: What Steps Need to be Taken? - Audrey Verhaeghe: Chairman of SA Innovation Summit

Strengthening the Science - Business Society Dialogue in the SADC Region: Youth & Gender Perspective - Dr Palesa Sekhejane, Africa Institute of South Africa

Click here to access photographs

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) celebrates its 20th year in the service of society this year. 

ASSAf was inaugurated in May 1996. It was formed in response to the need for an Academy of Science consonant with the dawn of democracy in South Africa: activist in its mission of using science and scholarship for the benefit of society, with a mandate encompassing all scholarly disciplines that use an open-minded and evidence-based approach to build knowledge.

 ASSAf thus adopted in its name the term 'science' in the singular as reflecting a common way of enquiring rather than an aggregation of different disciplines. Its Members are elected on the basis of a combination of two principal criteria, academic excellence and significant contributions to society. 

The Parliament of South Africa passed the Academy of Science of South Africa Act (Act 67 of 2001), which came into force on 15 May 2002. This made ASSAf the only academy of science in South Africa officially recognised by government and representing the country in the international community of science academies and elsewhere.

For more on the history of ASSAf

The following events form part of the ASSAf celebrations:

Launch of Women for Science: Inclusion and Participation in Academies of Science
InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) Conference and General Assembly 2016
ASSAf turns 20: Young enough to be dynamic and old enough to be trusted with its mission (article in SAJS)


Attitudinal Approaches - Daniel Plaatjies: DGSD Research Programme (HSRC)

Child Poverty - Katharine Hall: Children’s Institute (UCT)

Education Measures - Vimal Ranchhod: Southern African Labour Development Unit (UCT)

Gendered Poverty - Dori Posel: School of Development Studies (UKZN)

Health-Based Measures of Poverty - Di McIntyre: School of Public Health and Family Medicine (UCT)

Income Inequality and Relative Poverty Lines - Ingrid Woolard: South Africa Labour and Development Research Unit

Measuring Multiple Deprivation at the Small Area Level - Michael Noble: Southern African Social Policy Research Institute

Measuring Poverty in Middle-Income Countries - Dr Selim Jahan, Director: Global Human Development Report Office,UNDP (Keynote Address)

Poverty and the AgedMornè Oosthuizen: Development Policy Research Unit (UCT) 

Service Delivery Measurement - Morne Oosthuizen: Development Policy Research Unit (UCT)

South African National Poverty Lines - Sandile Simelane: Stats SA

Subjective Poverty Lines - Isobel Frye: Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute






Leave a legacy to science by remembering the Academy in your will.

A bequest is a special gift that we preserve as your legacy.  It is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that the Academy remains a part of the lives of future generations.

As a supporter of the Academy of Science of South Africa, you will help to create a legacy that will not only contribute towards the Academy’s financial sustainability, but will continue to promote the values and objectives of the Academy for generations to come. 

For a confidential discussion about naming the Academy in your will, please contact the Executive Officer:

Prof Roseanne Diab
Academy of Science of South Africa
083 284 3008 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Support given to the Academy through general donations is directly responsible for strengthening our various activities which include scientific meetings, production of science advisory reports and scholarly publications, promotion of public awareness of science and science education, and awards and scholarships. 

For further information on making a donation, please contact the Executive Officer:

Prof Roseanne Diab
Academy of Science of South Africa
083 284 3008 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Academy of Science of South Africa invites you to support us in our endeavours to champion scientific excellence, strengthen science and science advice in support of policy development in South Africa.

By making a donation to the Academy you will be joining a distinguished group of Members and friends of the Academy.

Please click on the following link to obtain further information about making a donation or bequest.

ASSAf originally constituted its Standing Committee on Science for Poverty Alleviation (CSfPA) to contribute to one of the five new national missions outlined in South Africa’s Research and Development (R&D) Strategy. Over the past few years, a number of forum-type studies on selected topics relevant in the fight to alleviate poverty in South Africa, have been conducted.

The Standing Committee on Health was established in 2011 and meets regularly to provide input to the Academy’s various health-related activities.

ASSAf News

Two commemorative publications to mark 20 years of excellence in science as the official science academy in South Africa will be released by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) this week.
Some 200 young scientists from all over the world will converge on Johannesburg this week for the 8th Annual Young Scientists’ Conference and the 3rd Worldwide Meeting of National Young Academies of Science.
As the effects of climate change continue to be felt around the world, particularly in Africa, ongoing research has become critical to mitigate its impacts. In response, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has committed to produce two reports on climate change for Cabinet as part of "Outcome 10: Protect and Enhance our Environmental Assets and Natural Resources" of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework.
After five days of intensive learning, networking and socialising, the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting wrapped up in festive fashion on Friday, 30 June, with a day-trip to Mainau Island. Delegates spent the day walking and picnicking on the picturesque island before partying it up on the boat on the way home.
Africa has 22 Nobel Prizes to its name, with only six of those in the sciences. To solve the myriad social and environmental challenges that face the continent, we need to produce a great many more Nobel Prize-winning scientists.

Regular Publications


Established in 1903, the South African Journal of Science is the leading multidisciplinary research journal in Africa, and features a great diversity  [ ... ]

Quest Magazine

Quest: Science for South Africa is a full-colour, quarterly, popular science magazine directed at a target audience comprising learners, educators and [ ... ]

SciELO South Africa

The Scholarly Publishing Unit takes responsibility for ensuring that Open Access initiatives are promoted to enhance the visibility of all South Afric [ ... ]

SfS Newsletter

Access the previous newsletters for "Science for Society" by clicking on the buttons provided under this section. There is also an option to subscribe [ ... ]