The Zambia National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), with the support of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, and the German Research Foundation (DFG) organised the first Zambia Science Conference, which took place from 19 to 21 October 2016 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka.
The focus of the conference was agriculture, animal and veterinary sciences, with some sessions on ICT and space science, mineral resources and indigenous knowledge systems. The Conference was officially opened by the Minister of Higher Education (MoHE), Professor Nkandu Luo, MP, who was the Guest of Honor. In a speech read on her behalf by MoHE Director of Human Resources Ms. Peggy Chirwa, the Minister commended SASSCAL for its support and input towards the conference and its commitment to the development of science in the country.
SASSCAL Zambia was invited to participate and support the conference and actively participated in the proceedings throughout the conference. They did so by chairing sessions, in addition to presenting promotional materials and exhibitions.
One notable event was a two-day research proposal writing workshop that was presented by scientists with experience in the drafting of proposals for either institutional grants or postgraduate scholarships. The workshop was conducted by proWiss, a research consulting firm from Germany. Participants attended from various science institutions across the country. SASSCAL Zambia OADC Specialist Chishala Siame facilitated the workshop on behalf of the National Director. The workshop invited SASSCAL Task 191 PI, Professor Imasiku Nyambe who made a presentation on experiences and best practices for attracting research grants. Professor Imasiku highlighted the process that was undertaken to receive the funding for his task and the benefits that have come with the funding thus far.
The conference also saw the launch of Zambia Women in Agricultural Research and Development (ZaWARD), which is part of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). ZaWARD provides support to women in agricultural sciences to increase their visibility by strengthening their science and leadership skills through mentorship and leadership programs.
During the policy session, government renewed its commitment to the development of science in Zambia, having acknowledged that a lot still needs to be done in the field of science. Though noting that great strides are made in terms of policy formulation and implementation.
SASSCAL appreciates the platform presented to it at the conference and that its efforts towards the development of science are being recognized in the country, and envisages to play an even more active role in the conference in 2017.