Tag Archives: The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)

4th International Conference on Science Advice to Governments (INGSA2021) August 30 – September 2, 2021

What I find most exciting about this conference is the range of countries being represented. At first glance, I’ve found Argentina, Thailand, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Costa Rica and more in a science meeting being held in Canada. Thank you to the organizers and to the organization International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)

As I’ve noted many times here in discussing the science advice we (Canadians) get through the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), there’s far too much dependence on the same old, same old countries for international expertise. Let’s hope this meeting changes things.

The conference (with the theme Build Back Wiser: Knowledge, Policy and Publics in Dialogue) started on Monday, August 30, 2021 and is set to run for four days in Montréal, Québec. and as an online event The Premier of Québec, François Legault, and Mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante (along with Peter Gluckman, Chair of INGSA and Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Québec; this is the only province with a chief scientist) are there to welcome those who are present in person.

You can find a PDF of the four day programme here or go to the INGSA 2021 website for the programme and more. Here’s a sample from the programme of what excited me, from Day 1 (August 30, 2021),

8:45 | Plenary | Roundtable: Reflections from Covid-19: Where to from here?

Mona Nemer – Chief Science Advisor of Canada

Joanne Liu – Professor, School of Population and Global Health, McGill University, Quebec, Canada
Chor Pharn Lee – Principal Foresight Strategist at Centre for Strategic Futures, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore
Andrea Ammon – Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Sweden
Rafael Radi – President of the National Academy of Sciences; Coordinator of Scientific Honorary Advisory Group to the President on Covid-19, Uruguay

9:45 | Panel: Science advice during COVID-19: What factors made the difference?


Romain Murenzi – Executive Director, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Italy


Stephen Quest – Director-General, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), Belgium
Yuxi Zhang – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Amadou Sall – Director, Pasteur Institute of Dakar, Senegal
Inaya Rakhmani – Director, Asia Research Centre, Universitas Indonesia

One last excerpt, from Day 2 (August 31, 2021),

Studio Session | Panel: Science advice for complex risk assessment: dealing with complex, new, and interacting threats

Eeva Hellström – Senior Lead, Strategy and Foresight, Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Finland

Albert van Jaarsveld – Director General and Chief Executive Officer, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria
Abdoulaye Gounou – Head, Benin’s Office for the Evaluation of Public Policies and Analysis of Government Action
Catherine Mei Ling Wong – Sociologist, LRF Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk, National University of Singapore
Andria Grosvenor – Deputy Executive Director (Ag), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Barbados

Studio Session | Innovations in Science Advice – Science Diplomacy driving evidence for policymaking

Mehrdad Hariri – CEO and President of the Canadian Science Policy Centre, Canada

Primal Silva – Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Chief Science Operating Officer, Canada
Zakri bin Abdul Hamid – Chair of the South-East Asia Science Advice Network (SEA SAN); Pro-Chancellor of Multimedia University in Malaysia
Christian Arnault Emini – Senior Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office in Cameroon
Florence Gauzy Krieger and Sebastian Goers – RLS-Sciences Network [See more about RLS-Sciences below]
Elke Dall and Angela Schindler-Daniels – European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance
Alexis Roig – CEO, SciTech DiploHub – Barcelona Science and Technology Diplomacy Hub, Spain

RLS-Sciences (RLS-Sciences Network) has this description for itself on the About/Background webpage,

RLS-Sciences works under the framework of the Regional Leaders Summit. The Regional Leaders Summit (RLS) is a forum comprising seven regional governments (state, federal state, or provincial), which together represent approximately one hundred eighty million people across five continents, and a collective GDP of three trillion USD. The regions are: Bavaria (Germany), Georgia (USA), Québec (Canada), São Paulo (Brazil), Shandong (China), Upper Austria (Austria), and Western Cape (South Africa). Since 2002, the heads of government for these regions have met every two years for a political summit. These summits offer the RLS regions an opportunity for political dialogue.

Getting back to the main topic of this post, INGSA has some satellite events on offer, including this on Open Science,

Open Science: Science for the 21st century |

Science ouverte : la science au XXIe siècle

Thursday September 9, 2021; 11am-2pm EST |
Jeudi 9 septembre 2021, 11 h à 14 h (HNE).

Places Limited – Registrations Required – Click to register now

This event will be in English and French (using simultaneous translation)  | 
Cet événement se déroulera en anglais et en français (traduction simultanée)

In the past 18 months we have seen an unprecedented level of sharing as medical scientists worked collaboratively and shared data to find solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has accelerated the ongoing cultural shift in research practices towards open science. 

This acceleration of the discovery/research process presents opportunities for institutions and governments to develop infrastructure, tools, funding, policies, and training to support, promote, and reward open science efforts. It also presents new opportunities to accelerate progress towards the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through international scientific cooperation.

At the same time, it presents new challenges: rapid developments in open science often outpace national open science policies, funding, and infrastructure frameworks. Moreover, the development of international standard setting instruments, such as the future UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, requires international harmonization of national policies, the establishment of frameworks to ensure equitable participation, and education, training, and professional development.

This 3-hour satellite event brings together international and national policy makers, funders, and experts in open science infrastructure to discuss these issues. 

The outcome of the satellite event will be a summary report with recommendations for open science policy alignment at institutional, national, and international levels.

The event will be hosted on an events platform, with simultaneous interpretation in English and French.  Participants will be able to choose which concurrent session they participate in upon registration. Registration is free but will be closed when capacity is reached.

This satellite event takes place in time for an interesting anniversary. The Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), also known as Montreal Neuro, declared itself as Open Science in 2016, the first academic research institute (as far as we know) to do so in the world (see my January 22, 2016 posting for details about their open science initiative and my December 19, 2016 posting for more about their open science and their decision to not pursue patents for a five year period).

The Open Science satellite event is organized by:

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization],

The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital),

The Knowledge Equity Lab [Note: A University of Toronto initiative with Leslie Chan as director, this website is currently under maintenance]

That’s all folks (for now)!

Spanning north to south and French to English on the African continent with nanotechnology

A Sept. 27, 2015 news item on the Algérie Presse Service (rough translation: Algerian Press Agency) describes plans for a new nanotechnology centre shared by Algeria and South Africa,

Un projet de réalisation d’un centre de recherche algéro-sud-africain dédié à la synthèse et la caractérisation des nanomatériaux (structures à l’échelle de l’atome) pour différentes applications, a été annoncé dimanche à Alger lors d’un workshop sur les nanotechnologies.

Le lieu d’implantation du centre et le programme qui lui sera dédié seront décidés par le ministre de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche scientifique et son homologue sud-africain lors d’une réunion prévue en octobre prochain en Afrique du Sud, a indiqué Pr. Hafid Aourag, DG de la Recherche scientifique et du développement technologique qui présidait ce workshop entre experts algériens et sud africains sur les nanotechnologies.

The announcement about the new centre was made during a nanotechnology workshop being held in Algiers this last weekend (Sept. 26-27, 2015). The proposed nanotechnology center’s location and other details will be decided by the Algerian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and his South African counterpart during an October 2015 meeting in South Africa according to Hafid Aourag, professor and Director General of Scientific Research and Technological Development in Algeria.

Aourag noted that Algeria and South Africa have a long and successful history of science collaboration,

“La coopération de l’Algérie avec l’Afrique du Sud a atteint un stade très avancé”, a-t-il estimé, révélant l’existence de “beaucoup de projets entre les laboratoires de recherche des deux pays”.

Pr. Aourag a rappelé que les deux pays avaient déjà “cofinancé plus de 25 projets” ayant donné des résultats concrets comme la publication de 35 travaux dans des revues et la réalisation de produits innovants issus des nanotechnologies.

“Il s’agit essentiellement de produits issus des nanomatériaux dans les domaines de l’agriculture et du traitement de l’eau”, a-t-il précisé.

There have been some 25 joint nanotechnology projects ranging from agricultural applications to water treatment.

Aourag added,

Il a relevé que la première centrale technologique en Algérie, dédiée à la fabrication des semi-conducteurs et spécialisée en nanotechnologie, “est déjà fonctionnelle et sera inaugurée, en octobre prochain”.

If I understand this rightly, Aourag is saying that Algeria has focussed on the semiconductor industry and the fabrication of parts at the nanoscale and this will be inaugurated October 2015.

It’s not clear to me  if this business about the semiconductors is part of the nanotechnology centre initiative or if it’s an incidental, related announcement.

As I found this north-south collaboration intriguing, I ran a search and found this on the University of South Africa website in a Sept. 10, 2013 news release,

Professor Malik Maaza, incumbent of the UNESCO-Unisa Africa Chair in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, continues to represent the continent on the global nano stage. He was recently elected as the only African member of the advisory board of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Journal of Materials Chemistry A, a prestigious materials journal.

With about 20 years of experience in nanosciences, Algerian born and an adoptive South African [emphasis mine] Professor Malik Maaza is an ideal incumbent for the UNESCO-Unisa Africa Chair in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. He has undergraduate degrees in Solid State Physics and Photonics from the University of Oran, Algeria, and University of Paris VI, France. His PhD in Neutron Optics was obtained from the University of Paris VI.

He is a man passionate about voicing Africa’s nanoscience and nanotechnology knowledge production progress and contributions. Parallel to the initiation of the South African Nanotechnology Initiative (SANi) launched in 2006, which Maaza instigated with Dr Philemon Mjwara, current Director General of the national department of science and technology, in 2005, in Trieste-Italy, under the patronage of [The World Academy of Sciences] TWAS, [Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics] ICTP and [United Nations Industrial Development Organization] UNIDO, he initiated the Nanosciences African Network (NANOAFNET), which has its headquarters at the iThemba LABS-NRF in Cape Town.

That’s all I’ve got on Algeria-South Africa science-themed relations and connections.

Should anyone have a better translation than I’ve been able to offer or more details about any aspect of this initiative, please do leave a comment.