SAIAB and CBC to host Water World at Scifest

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Scifest Africa, South Africa’s annual National Science Festival, aims to promote the public awareness, understanding and appreciation of science, technology and innovation. Scifest runs from 6-12 March 2019, with the theme: “Discover your element” celebrating the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements as proclaimed by the United Nations.

For Scifest 2019, as part of its science engagement activities, the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) will partner with the Rhodes University Centre for Biological Control (CBC) to host Water World. Water World is the Scifest venue for aquatic related exhibits from aquatic microorganisms and invertebrates through fish tracking and long-term monitoring to life on the sea floor.

One of the focus areas of the CBC is the sustainable control of invasive aquatic weeds, such as water hyacinth, through biological control. “At Water World we introduce invasive alien aquatic weeds and show how biological control can sustainably control them ensuring water security through the improved quality and quantity of this precious resource” (Professor Martin Hill, CBC Director).

Water World is one of the major platforms through which SAIAB actively integrates science communication and the principles of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) into its governance and research, and in which it “redefines the way we talk to communities, so that the conversation is really a conversation” (Penny Haworth, SciCom 100 Conference, 2018). SAIAB does this by encouraging participants to take part in hands-on demonstrations and through telling stories of scientific discoveries such as that of the legendary coelacanth, which has kept the world enthralled since 1938.

Once again, Water World aims to provide an amazing opportunity, not only for visitors to learn about water and the kinds of research happening in and around water, but also to find out about the variety of careers in this field. Scifest provides a platform for learning, sharing ideas, and bringing in fresh and innovative energy as well as developing a team spirit for #LivingRRI.

Water World will be at the main Scifest venue at the 1820 Settlers National Monument. Entry is free!

Did you know?

This year, SAIAB celebrates a major milestone: it is 50 years since the establishment of the Institute back in 1968. It was first known as the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology before it became a Research Facility of the National Research Foundation in 1999 and renamed the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) in 2001. SAIAB has become a modern research and training institute which focusses on the full spectrum of aquatic environments from marine offshore to continental freshwater catchments.

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