International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development

With the coordination of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf) working on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), the South African scientific community kicked off the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development week.

So far, more than 50 scientific entities, higher education institutions and schools in South Africa have officially committed to organize events and activities to demonstrate that, through a basic understanding of mathematics, biology , physics and chemistry, steps can be taken to solve the many challenges. we face, as identified by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It is only through an understanding of the basic sciences that we can explore and apply science, such as in medical field, engineering field, computer field and more.

Applied science uses and applies information obtained through basic science; for example, the vAcination has been strengthened and developed thanks to the identification of the viral origin of many diseases. In addition, HIV/AIDS treatments have considerably extended the lives of infected people thanks to the understanding of how retroviruses work.

Although the focus is on applied science, participants noted that basic science will continue to play a major role in our daily lives.

They noted that artificial intelligence, which is based on theories and methods developed in mathematics, statistical physics and signal processing, will influence all aspects of our societies. Moreover, advances in DNA sequencing, thanks to biomathematics, chemistry and physics, are now directing medicine towards more effective individualized (precision) treatments for cancer.

They noted that the fight against non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes or obesity, which are spreading across the planet, will depend on knowledge from basic biology.

The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development will mobilize actors at all levels for a better integration of scientific results in public decision-making processes and for the inclusive development of basic sciences.

Basic science needs input from the Global South, especially Africa, where half of the world’s population under the age of 25 will live by 2050. This year (January 2022 until June 30, 2023) will attempt to highlight the scientific achievements of scientists in the Global South, and the role of centers of excellence established through international cooperation. It will also present successful initiatives in the fields of education, higher education and international cooperation, in particular South-South cooperation.

The general South African public in its diversity is invited to get involved and support the many activities/events that will be presented by scientific entities, schools, universities and more.

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