Science Forum exhibition ignites conversations about the value of science in society

From electric cars to therapeutic molecules, hydrogen fuel cell technology and cosmeceuticals, this and much more was on display during the 2016 Science Forum South Africa exhibition.

Close to a 100 exhibitions from around the world formed part of this year's showcase, proving that the event is indeed South Africa's largest science and technology platform.

The exhibition showcased the Department of Science and Technology's, rich and diverse portfolio of international collaboration, and also profiled and showcased South African science, technology and innovation.

Among the exhibits attracting huge attention, was the CSIR's electric vehicles, manufactured by international car makers. The CSIR is involved in developing new technology to power the vehicles. It's research focuses on, assessing the suitability and acceptance of the new vehicle technology by society, understand the operating costs of running an electric vehicle in South Africa and its environmental impact, and the monitoring of battery performance.

Gaoshitwe Lokoloane, photovoltaic technologist at the CSIR, said the organisation has started a project to become energy autonomous in a five to eight-year horizon. The ultimate aim is to help save the atmosphere and costs, by reducing carbon emissions, said Gaoshitwe. According to him, a 1.6l vehicle uses seven litres of petrol per 100km which costs R42.00 while an electric vehicle with the same engine capacity could cost 80 cents per KW/h.

Attempting to solve the water shortage caused by the current drought conditions, the South African Young Water Professionals brings together people who are interested in all aspects of water, and its intrinsic linkages to people, economies, development, nature and life itself.

According to Vanessa Weber, of the organisation, said they try to address the present and future needs of South Africa's water sector through continuous capacity building and leadership.

We achieve this by hosting seminars, career and skills development, social outreach and awareness events among others, said Ms Weber, calling on all professionals in water to join in by visiting for more information.

At the eGoliBio exhibition, Talita Mgonci, a business developing officer at the technology incubation company based at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria, said the company helps small, medium enterprises with commercializing their ideas. eGoLiBio incubator will be the leader in the incubation of bioscience businesses in South Africa and an active intermediary in the development of a sustainable and vibrant biotechnology sector.

Today we are sitting with 64 to 70 clients with products and services that use biological components in the manufacturing of food, beverages and cosmetic sectors, she said.

Among other exhibitions, countries like Norway, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Flanders, Japan, Holland, Britain and France offered information of either possible study opportunities, in their countries for South African students or their strategic research collaborations with the government of South Africa, scientists and students.

The Department of Science and Technology's entities, the National Research Foundation, Technology Innovation Agency, the Academy of Sciences of South Africa, and the South African National Space Agency were also at the exhibition attracting huge interests from visitors.

At Church Square in the heart of Pretoria, the public attended the 'Science in the Streets' exhibition a Science Forum public outreach event. Most of the visitors experienced science demonstrations for the first time. Learners also had an opportunity to engage with scientific apparatus and find out about career opportunities in the science and technology

Source: Department of Science and Technology's Entities