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5th National Global Change Conference

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Date(s) - 30/01/2023 - 02/02/2023
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Dr. Tandon will speak at the opening session as well as a workshop under the theme of The Sustainable Implementation Space: Innovation, Institutions and Imagination. The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), in partnership with the University of the Free State (UFS), are hosting the 5th National Global Change Conference. This four-day conference will take place at the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS, from 30 January to 2 February 2023.

The National Conferences on Global Change have been held biennially under the banner of the Global Change Grand Challenge (GCGC), one of the focus areas known as grand challenges in the Ten-Year Innovation Plan (TYIP) of the DSI since 2012. These conferences are aimed at providing a platform for networking and knowledge sharing among global change stakeholders to share and debate the latest research and innovations accelerating transformation. Active participation by early career researchers is strongly encouraged. The conference offers a unique opportunity for a multi-stakeholder dialogue on topical global change issues.

Conference Theme – The central theme of the 5th National Global Change Conference is:

“Research and Innovation Accelerating transformations to global sustainability”

What could be the possible impact of research and science for our planet and all its people to thrive? How could all our scientific and innovation efforts be implemented to sustainably address the most pressing challenges we currently face? And how do these challenges allow new opportunities for the youth, scientists, industry and governments to engage creatively and impactfully to lead to positive change all over the globe? In short, how do we think and react to these complex phenomena to truly engage in a process of “Knowledge for Change”?

 For too long, an intransigent dichotomy has characterised our thinking about societal and ecological issues. During this conference, we will aim to re-think these Manichean assumptions to pave the way for new ways of engaging with and imagining our shared future, especially as it relates to ecological and equity complexity. We therefore want potential participants to think “glocally” – where we embrace, translate and oppose global theory, knowledge and practices to our local realities and needs. We welcome robust discussion, debate and contestation, to grapple with complex issues by supporting systems thinking and that are focused on the following broad themes (although we also invite exchanges between these):

  1. The Sustainable Implementation Space: Innovation, Institutions and Imagination
    How can we ensure that our inventions and labours are channelled to further enhance evidence-based interventions? How do we get non-academic and scientific stakeholders to support our efforts and to work reciprocally? How do we embrace the rapid transformations in science and innovation in a time of AI, digital developments, changing labour contexts, growing inequalities, increasing burdens of disease and concomitant concerns about social justice that are also steeped in an ecological context?
  2. Understanding a Changing Climate
    What are the manifold consequences – both material and psychological – of our rapidly altering climate? How are we responding to build resilient systems to the benefit of all living organisms and to prevent further degradation?
  3. Reducing the Human Footprint
    How can we possibly deal with the devastation ushered in by human activities during the era of the Anthropocene? How do we rethink our uses and needs related to basic and more luxurious commodities? How do we grapple with inequalities and lopsided developmental efforts in relation to rural and urban divides?
  4. Adapting the Way We Live How do we engage with the challenges and opportunities of thinking differently about our current mundane practices? How have communities responded to the ways in which rapid change has forced some to adapt their everyday practices? How should we think about and implement the basics of design to respond to the shape our world has taken and will take in the near future? How can we experiment on a micro-scale on campuses, which are often dubbed “microcosms” of the greater society in which we live and operate?

For more details, read here.

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