1. Who will deliver the opening plenary lecture at SASM2013?
Prof Doug Rawlings! Prof Rawlings, SASM's most recent Gold Medal recipient, for exceptional service to Microbiology over an extended period of time, is one of South Africa’s most acclaimed microbiologists.
Prof. Rawlings has extensive experience in research, teaching and university administration, and has served on review panels or in an advisory capacity for several Departments, Universities and Research Foundations. He ran an active research laboratory and has held an A-rating from the National Research Foundation since 1992 (less than 50 natural scientists, engineers and social scientists in South Africa were originally placed in this category). He has carried a substantial load of committee work and has been a member of many senior committees of both the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town. Professor Rawlings has served as Deputy Dean (2000-2006, 2009–2011) plus two years (2007-2008) as acting Dean of the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University. He has served for 17 years on the Council of the Royal Society of South Africa, seven years it’s General Secretary and was President during the years 2004-2006. He has served several terms on the Council of the SA Society for Microbiology and is academic coordinator of the Claude Leon Foundation post-doctoral bursary scheme.
Doug Rawlings trained as a microbiologist & has specialised in the biology of biomining microorganisms. Some of the first genes to be cloned and the first 2 genes to be sequenced in South Africa came from work in his laboratory. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, a Life-Fellow and a Distinguished teacher of the University of Cape Town, recipient the PanLabs award (Society for Industrial Microbiology, USA), the Havenga prize (SA Academy for Science and Arts) & the Stellenbosch University Rector’s Award for Excellence in Research. He was elected a Founder Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, was a finalist for the lifetime achievement award of the NSTF (2006) & was appointed an honorary professor at the University of Cape Town (1998-2003) & a guest professor of Central South University, Changsha, China (2008-2013).
2. Announcing the Bioeconomy Strategy of South Africa
The Department of Science and Technology will announce The Bioeconomy Strategy at SASM2013. The strategy is designed to amalgamate South Africa's experience, expertise and competitive advantages to create a worldclass biotechnological system of innovation. Over the medium-term expenditure framework period more than R400 million has been budgeted for the implementation of the strategy.
The presentation/workshop will give delegates the opportunity to get first-hand information and an opportunity to discuss this long-awaited strategy. Topics will include factors that enable the bioeconomy and the various sectors of the bioeconomy. Microbiology is the leading research area in the biotechnologies. Whether we are talking about therapeutic drug discovery, production processes of biologics, biofuels or food ingredients, crop improvement and pathology, fungi, yeasts, bacteria and viruses are always involved. Microbiology in South African is therefore a key enabling research field in the bio-based economy, and therefore a key role player in The Bioeconomy Strategy.