Message from NSTF Executive Director (June 2017)

New water research award, climate change approaches, and innovation in housing

New water research award: Water is uppermost on many of our minds, as the Western Cape is still parched even after the first winter rains have fallen. Improved access to water and environmentally-sensitive management of water resources feature prominently in the Sustainable Development Goals and – from this year – at the NSTF-South32 Awards. The NSTF and Water Research Commission are collaborating on a new award for research in water management, knowledge generation and solutions.

The NSTF-South32 Awards Gala Dinner: This takes place on 29 June 2017. Book tables or seats by contacting Ms Meisie Rasakanya at (+27)12 841 3987/2632 or You can also follow winner announcements on Twitter #NSTFawards2017. Click here for photos from previous years’ awards ceremonies.

Pragmatic approach to climate change policies and actions: Perceptions of the causes of climate change are dividing the world into ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. However, the merits of climate change policies and actions should be assessed in their own right. Many of these have been innovative, make economic sense and improve quality of life through reducing pollution. A pragmatic approach would be to continue developing and rolling out clean energy technologies, developing bio-degradable materials, planting indigenous flora, etc. These best practices have many advantages, besides presumably limiting climate change.

More innovative thinking needed in government: Amira Osman, Associate Professor in Architecture, at the University of Johannesburg, argues in The Conversation that we need more innovative thinking on housing (or human settlements) in South Africa. As the political pressure for delivery intensifies, so innovative thinking declines and Government tries to fast track delivery in the same way it has always done. She says that there has not been much innovation, although the government has done well in delivering vast amounts of housing solutions. With the national drive towards collaboration and multi-stakeholder partnerships, it seems a good time to strengthen ties between SET and innovation within government, business, academia and civil society.

Ms Jansie Niehaus

NSTF Executive Director and Spokesperson