The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), in its unique position as the only national science academy that is officially recognised by the South African government through the ASSAf Act (Act 67 of 2001), as amended, aims to provide evidence-based scientific advice on issues of public interest to government and other stakeholders. ASSAf regularly publishes its findings and recommendations and also acknowledges the achievements of South African scientists in order to develop the intellectual capacity of the nation and promote innovative scholarly thinking.
The Academy enjoys regular interaction and knowledge exchange with other national science academies throughout the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, the African continent, and the global scientific community.
The Academy will be acknowledged, both nationally and internationally, as a credible, professional and respected collective voice representing the national interests of the sciences, to policy and decision-makers, the private sector, science community and the general public.
The Academy of Science of South Africa aspires to be the apex organisation for science and scholarship in South Africa, recognised and connected both nationally and internationally. Through its Membership, which represents the collective voice of the most active scholars in all fields of scholarly enquiry, ASSAf aims to generate evidence-based solutions to national problems.
The mission of the Academy is to:
• recognise scholarly achievement and excellence in the application of scientific thinking for the benefit of society;
• mobilise Members to ensure that they are available to contribute their expertise in the service of society;
• conduct systematic and evidence-based studies on issues of national importance, producing authoritative reports that have significant impact on policymaking;
• promote the development of an indigenous system of South African research publications,
increasing their quality, visibility, accessibility and impact;
• publish science-focused periodicals that will showcase the best of southern African research to a wide national and international audience;
• develop productive partnerships with national, regional and international organisations with a view to building our capacity in science and its application within the National System of Innovation (NSI);
• create diversified sources of funding for sustainable functioning and growth of a national academy;
• communicate effectively with relevant stakeholders through various media and fora.
The strategic goals of the Academy are as follows:
1. Recognition and reward of excellence
2. Promotion of innovation and scholarly activity
3. Promotion of effective, evidence-based scientific advice
4. Promotion of interest in and awareness of science education
5. Promotion of national, regional and international linkages
The key objective of the Academy is to promote and apply scientific thinking in the service of society.
To this end, the Academy shall:
• use the common ground of scientific knowledge and activity to remove barriers between people and obstacles to the full development of their intellectual capacity;
• endeavour in every possible way to inspire, promote and recognise excellence in scientific and technical practice;
• investigate and publicly report on various matters, in its own discretion or at the request of government or organisations in civil society, in order to promote and apply scientific thinking in the service of society;
• promote science education and a culture of science in the population at large;
• maintain strict independence while consulting other organisations and individuals in the widest manner possible;
• endeavour to establish and develop close relations with scientific organisations in South Africa and with similar academies in other countries; and
• take any other action that it may consider necessary towards the attainment of its key
The values of the Academy are to:
• remain independent of government and sectoral lobbies;
• use best-available evidence and scientific knowledge as drivers towards generating
recommended solutions to national problems;
• apply multidisciplinary and consilience in its approach;
• adhere to the highest ethical and moral standards;
• recognise the essentially developmental nature of our society and the importance of the natural
environment, both for their own sake and from a human and utilitarian perspective.
The activities of the Academy are structured for budgetary and reporting purposes into five programmes:
• Administration and Governance Programme
• Policy Advisory Programme
• Scholarly Publishing Programme
• Liaison Programme
• Communication and Publications Programme