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South African Minister at Innovation Convention 2014: SKA boosting innovation and human capital development

Brussels, March 14, 2014: The Innovation Convention 2014 took place in Brussels on 10 and 11 March, 2014 and provided a platform to debate and inform policies that will contribute towards the building of a research and innovation eco-system in Europe.

The event brought together more than 3000 participants from the public and private sector debating how innovation should best be promoted in support of growth and development. At the Convention, Derek Hanekom, South African Minister of Science and Technology participated in a high-level panel discussion titled, “Innovation Café: "Global challenges, global collaboration”, which included speakers from various backgrounds such as: • Jennie Yeung, President & Founder, United Nations Education Science Cultural Health Advancement Foundation, China; • Lino Baranao, Argentinean Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation; • Eddie Bernice Johnson, Congresswoman, U.S. House of Representatives - Ranking Member, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, United States; and • Jean-Pierre Bourguignon (President of the European Research Council, France During the session Minister Hanekom illustrated, through the example of South Africa’s hosting of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), how, “mutually beneficial international partnerships, boosting innovation and human capital development, could be fostered by leveraging different partners’ respective comparative advantages”. The innovation café format had the broadest scope among the Convention sessions and the widest range of speakers from public and private sector backgrounds. This café provided visionary views on methods to strengthen global collaboration in research and innovation to confront and respond to global challenges. Participants discussed what has worked in the past and where the main obstacles lie. They spoke of the benefits and risks of global collaboration and the possibilities for strengthening research collaboration within economic competition. Further information on the Innovation Convention: Further information on SKA: Media Enquiries Simona Ondrejkova ISC Intelligence in Science e-mail: Tel: +32 (0) 2 88 88 107 Mob: +32 (0) 472 845 054 Or Jessica Hadjis ISC Intelligence in Science e-mail: Tel: +32 2 88 88 100 Mob: +32 487 163 107 Editor’s note The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) SKA is a global science and engineering project led by the SKA Organisation, a not-for-profit company with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how galaxies have evolved since then, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Thousands of linked radio wave receptors will be located in Australia and in Southern Africa. Combining the signals from the antennas in each region will create a telescope with a collecting area equivalent to a dish with an area of about one square kilometre. Members of the SKA Organisation are Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Sweden and United Kingdom. India is an associate member. For further information: please contact William Garnier, Chief Communications Officer of the SKA Organisation ( or visit the website of the SKA Organisation: Biography: Derek Hanekom, South African Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom was born in Cape Town, South Africa on 13 January 1953 and did his schooling in Cape Town. After completing his compulsory conscription he travelled abroad for three years, working on farms, in factories and on construction sites. He returned to South Africa in his early twenties and farmed for six years. It was his arrest for participating in a peaceful candlelight demonstration at John Vorster Square, the Police Headquarters in Johannesburg that prompted the start of his active political life in 1976. He and his wife Patricia joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1980, and did underground political work while farming on a smallholding in Magaliesburg. Amongst other things, they provided the ANC with information about the apartheid defence force's attempts to overthrow the Mozambican government through the rebel movement, Renamo. This led to their arrest in 1983, initially charged with High Treason, but subsequently reduced to lesser charges as a result of the international sensitivity of the case. After serving a three year period in prison, Derek worked with the trade union movement in Johannesburg, until his wife's release from prison in 1987, and subsequent deportation to Zimbabwe. They spent the following three years in exile in Zimbabwe. During this period Derek served as the co-ordinator of the Popular History Trust in Harare. He returned to South Africa after the unbanning of political organizations in 1990, to work at the headquarters of the ANC, where he was responsible for policy formulation on land and agricultural matters during the period of negotiations prior to the first democratic elections in 1994. He served as Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs from 1994 to 1999, piloting various reform bills through Parliament which aimed to redress the injustices and inequities caused by apartheid laws and the 1913 Land Act. This legislation laid the foundation for land reform in the post-apartheid era. During the period 1999 - 2004 he served as a Member of Parliament on various Parliamentary Committees. He served as Deputy Minister of Science and Technology from April 2004 was promoted Minister of Science and Technology in October 2012. He was re-elected to the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC), a committee he has served in since 1994. He was elected to serve on the National Working Committee of the NEC and is the Chairperson of the National Disciplinary Committee. He also serves as the Deputy Chairperson of the Board of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. For further information:


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