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Realising growth and socio-economic value

By Johan Pauw, Managing Director, SAEON
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“We are working towards growing and not shrinking the organisation, which is a wonderful place to be.” - Johan Pauw, SAEON MD

The Year 2017 is just about behind us and we are looking forward to a summer holiday that will offer us some time to reflect on what was and on the kind of future we would like to have.

To this end, much of what has been written in this and the five previous issues of SAEON eNews provides a good record of SAEON’s value to society.

In this issue, no fewer than 12 articles were either written by young scientists or were about them. In these articles, SAEON’s contribution to the transformation and growth of the South African National System of Innovation and the sustainable development of the South African economy should be evident.

A key aspect of SAEON’s capacity development work is the focus on quality science engagement rather than mass promotion of science. School learners are involved hands-on and perform their own research projects. The confidence that they gain through SAEON’s interventions is extremely pleasing and many of them are seriously considering a scientific or science-related career.

We ended this year with a week-long internal management and science meeting. The substantial increase in SAEON’s responsibilities resulting from the Department of Science and Technology’s award of two South African Research Infrastructure Road Map (SARIR) projects to SAEON, is demanding of SAEON to rethink and reorganise. This will take some time and input from stakeholders.

Full integration of the SARIR projects will be required to ensure that available resources are used optimally and that there will not be unnecessary duplication of purpose and efforts. Such processes may cause uncertainty, but in this instance, we are working towards growing and not shrinking the organisation, which is a wonderful place to be.

With these few words I would like to thank SAEON’s staff and collaborators for their unfailing commitment during 2017 and for offering their manifold talents in SAEON’s service.

The support offered by our main sponsors, the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation, and their trust in SAEON’s capabilities, are at the same time humbling and inspiring.

We wish everyone peace and happiness during the summer break.

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