Call for sessions at 2022 World Science Forum

The main theme of the WSF2022 is Science for Social Justice

The World Science Forum Series

The first UNESCO World Conference on Science was held in 1999 in Budapest. As a series of follow-up events of this initial gathering following the initiative of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences since 2003 the World Science Forum series has played a prominent role in bringing leaders of the world of science and policy together. The biennial WSF series aims to discuss about the roles, responsibilities and challenges of science and presents our issues of common interest to the scientific community and the general public.

In 2011 WSF partner organisations agreed that the Forum should alternate between Budapest, Hungary and another host country. For the first time the Forum was hosted by Brazil in 2013 and then by Jordan in 2017. In 2022 it will be for the first time that the WSF is hosted on the African Continent. As host country, South Africa will strive to make the event a truly African event, inspired by the values of Ubuntu, which promotes the social nature of humanity, an event, which is inclusive and where the voices of those often ignored will be heard in debates responsive to the challenges of the developing countries.

Partner organisations of the World Science Forum series are:

  • the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
  • the International Science Council (ISC)
  • the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP)
  • TWAS, the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)
  • the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC)
  • the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) as the initiator of the WSF series
  • and the South African Department of Science and Innovation as the host of the 2022 Forum

WSF2022: Science for Social Justice

In these unprecedented times, marked by global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and persistent poverty, science is called upon to make a critical contribution to create a more equal, fair and just world. This call for action informed the theme proposed by South Africa for the 2022 Forum as “Science for Social Justice”. Debates at WSF 2022 will therefore interrogate what role science should play in ensuring resources, opportunities and privileges in society are accessible to all, and distributed in a fair manner.

The WSF 2022 will therefore discuss how the production and application of new knowledge could and should challenge inequality, injustice, environmental destruction and marginalization. The Forum will not only consider the role of science in advancing social justice, but also how the values of social justice, such as greater transparency and inclusivity, should transform the nature of the scientific enterprise to make it more responsive to the needs of society. Topics such as Open Science, research integrity as well as ethics and technology governance will be in the spotlight at the Forum.

International cooperation will be crucial to advance the cause of science for social justice, as it is for the response to all societal challenges. Science Diplomacy will therefore, as is traditional, be an important focus of the WSF 2022. In this regard, special attention will be paid to the African agenda for science, technology and innovation and promoting greater participation by developing countries in global science.

The 2022 programme of WSF will provide an opportunity for the considerations of scientists, policy-makers, society, industry and science communicators to be challenged from a comprehensive standpoint in the plenary sessions, and allow for more technical debates over issues of science in thematic sessions.

Call for Open Thematic Sessions

In 2022 we would like to continue to offer an opportunity for any scientific organisation to apply to organise thematic sessions to be included into the main programme of WSF. Speakers and moderators of approved thematic session are invited to participate at the full programme of WSF free of charge and are offered free accommodation between 5-9 December 2022.

Thematic Sessions format

  • Each parallel session will last 90 minutes.
  • Different formats are welcome. Applicants are encouraged to develop interactive session formats to engage the audience at the event.
  • There are maximum five parallel sessions running at a time.
  • The use of WSF social media (e.g.  https://twitter.com/WorldSciForum and Facebook page) should be used to enhance audience interaction prior and during the session.
  • The sessions will also be broadcasted on the WSF 2022 digital platform.

Application process

  • Deadline for submission of session proposals is 28 February 2022.
  • Session proposals should be submitted using this form.
  • All submitted proposals are reviewed by the Steering Committee of World Science Forum.
  • Sessions approved for inclusion in the WSF 2022 programme will be announced by 30 April 2022.

Guidelines for Session Proposals

Criteria in the selection process:

  • relevance to the objectives and main theme of WSF 2022
  • overall quality and originality of the proposal
  • inclusion of state-of-the-art science (as appropriate)
  • capacity to generate interesting and vibrant discussions
  • interdisciplinary approach (If relevant, particular attention should be paid to attracting excellent social scientists as well as natural scientists.)
  • international topicality
  • diversity (gender and geographical balance, including young scientists in the panel)
  • multi-stakeholder approach (scientists, politicians, decision-makers and representatives of civil society and industry)
  • capability to attract science media coverage

Organisational Aspects

  • Session proposers are responsible for the organisation of their sessions, including the invitation of speakers and moderators.
  • The Department of Science and Innovation offers accommodation for all thematic session speakers and moderators (maximum 5 persons per session) as well as catering during the Forum proceedings.
  • Thematic session organisers support the event by financing the travel costs of thematic session moderators and speakers.
  • The Department of Science and Innovation provides Conference Room Facilities.
  • No registration fees will be charged.
  • The sessions will be streamed, recorded and published.

Side events

Science organisations are welcome to arrange meetings during the Forum. These meetings can be open to the public or can be arranged for a selected World Science Forum audience only. It is the Steering Committee’s responsibility to qualify events as side events of World Science Forum. Side events may be held on 5, 6 December 2022.

Submit now

Submit your proposal here https://worldscienceforum.org/default-rovat-default-cikk/thematic-sessions-proposal-form-110055.

For more information, please contact:


Assistant Director:

Multilateral Cooperation

Department of Science and Innovation

+2712 843 6718



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