Science for Development winning ideas

IDIA’s Development and Outreach shines at international Science for Development meeting.

An international, interdisciplinary workshop on “Science for Development” was be held on January 30-31, 2020 at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town, South Africa. The aim of the workshop was to create a space for interaction between natural scientists, technology experts, social scientists and development practitioners in order to encourage and develop interdisciplinary initiatives with tangible benefits to society and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Around 100 participants from across Africa and further afield engaged across disciplinary, geographical and sectoral boundaries. Participants brought expertise from a diverse range of fields, from biology, astronomy, agriculture, energy, environment, computer science, geology, education, engineering, management, public health, economics, neuroscience, psychology and more. Over two days, they engaged in discussions on a variety of topics such as the role of data science in policy making, climate change resilience in agriculture, satellite technologies for forecasting, artificial intelligence in healthcare systems, technology for education, etc.

The workshop was jointly hosted by the International Science Council’s (ISC) Regional Office for Africa (ROA), based at the Academy of Science of South Africa, and the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), based at the South African Astronomical Observatory.

One of the planned outputs of the workshop was to solicit and select an interdisciplinary science for development idea to be supported through a prize and turned into a concrete project. We are proud to say that winning idea among the dozen or so pitches came from IDIA’s Office of Development and Outreach: A Science for Development course aimed at giving young scientists a broad perspective on their science training and skillset and the capability of applying it to developmental challenges. The course is being set up at the University of the Western Cape. The prize will enable the team to invite guest lecturers and to host workshops to set up the course modules.

“This forms part one of IDIA’s Development and Outreach strategic directions and we are very grateful to the ISC ROA and the IAU OAD for their support. The workshop was also key in rallying new collaborators from a wide range of disciplines whose expertise will contribute to the course.” said Prof. Carolina Odman, IDIA”s Associate Director for Development and Outreach. “As we train young scientists, we also need to give them the ability tob apply their talents beyond the classroom, the lab or the exams.”, she added.

To get involved or stay informed about the course development, please feel free to contact IDIA at

Workshop website

Twitter hashtag #Science4Dev

Recorded sessions on YouTube