International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development


The United Nations General Assembly declared 2022 the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD). It also encouraged organisations across the world to celebrate the IYBSSD. NITheCS therefore committed to hosting events that align with topics of the IYBSSD.

In all, NITheCS hosted nine events that aligned with IYBSSD topics. View a summary of the events and speakers’ biographies.

Call for essays

With the IYBSSD ending in June, we are inviting our Associates, interns and bursary holders to contribute a short essay to explain your interpretation of the importance of the basic sciences to society towards sustainability.

The IYBSSD has been ‘a unique opportunity to convince all stakeholders that a basic understanding of nature will lead to more effective actions for the benefit of all,’ and  ‘a key moment of mobilisation to convince economic and political leaders, as well as every citizen, of the importance of taking into account and mastering basic sciences to ensure a balanced, sustainable and inclusive development of the planet.’

We would like to showcase your interpretation of that approach.

A selection of the essays contributed will be featured on the website. In due course, all the essays will be available on our website as an illustration of what the basic sciences mean to society and to scientists who work in the basic sciences in South Africa.

Who can participate?
NITheCS Associates, bursary holders and interns.

How long should the essay be?
Any length up to 330 words (more or less a typed page)

Important pointers:

  • Please write the essay from the viewpoint of your specialist area
  • Please mention your specialist area and your institution in the essay
  • Please keep in mind that the essays could also be inspirational to others
  • Please send to us by latest Friday 30 June 2023
  • Please include your full name and title at the end of the document

Please email your essay to:

NITheCS events that align with topics of the IYBSSD

NITheCS panel discussion

NITheCS Colloquium
Panel discussion: ‘Building a Sustainable Future: The Power of Basic Sciences’
Panelists: Mesias Alpheus (SU), MJ (Thinus) Booysen (SU), David Holgate (UWC), Guy Midgley (SU), Hugh Patterton (SU) and Ethel Phiri (SU)
19 June 2023


International Day of Mathematics celebration 2023

NITheCS International Day of Mathematics celebration 
Prof Zurab Janelidze (Stellenbosch University)
14 March 2023


Prof Guy Midgley

NITheCS Colloquium
‘Goldilocks molecules in the Anthropocene’

Prof Guy Midgley (Stellenbosch University)
21 November 2022


Prof Sandro Scandolo

NITheCS Colloquium
‘Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development: a Global Perspective and a Year of Celebrations’

Prof Sandro Scandolo (Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Italy)
7 November 2022


Prof Deshen Moodley

NITheCS Colloquium
‘Artificial Intelligence for sustainable development – A systems perspective’

Prof Deshen Moodley (University of Cape Town)
24 October 2022


NITheCS panel discussion 12 September 2022

NITheCS Colloquium
Panel discussion: ‘Strengthening Education and Scientific Training in the Basic Sciences’

David Holgate (UWC), Will Horowitz (UCT), Eder Kikianty (UP), Miek Messerschmidt (UP), Loyiso Nongxa (WITS) and Francesco Petruccione (SU)
12 September 2022


NITheCS Colloquium Womens Month panel discussion
NITheCS Colloquium
Panel discussion: ‘Strengthening the presence and visibility of women’

Panellists: Prof Sarah Blyth (UCT), Dr Mary-Jane Bopape (SAEON), Prof Himla Soodyall (ASSAf) and Prof Özlem Tastan Bishop (RU)
22 August 2022


Prof Francois Engelbrecht, presenter of NITheCS colloquium

NITheCS Colloquium
‘The dawn of exascale computing in the climate sciences’

Prof Francois Engelbrecht (Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand)
25 July 2022



NITheCS Colloquium
Panel discussion: ‘The importance and impact of the IYBSSD for South Africa’

4 July 2022
Panelists: Zurab Janelidze (SU), Mark Nasila (FNB), Francesco Petruccione (NITheCS), Happy Sithole (CHPC) and Anwar Vahed (NICIS/UWC)


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