SAIAB News » SAIAB celebrates 10 years

2009 sees SAIAB celebrating 10 years as a National Facility of the National Research Foundation. The NRF itself is in its 10th year of existence. All in all these are good reasons for us to reflect on our situation, the path taken and progress made during the past decade and the way forward into the future.  The 10 Year Celebration was an invitation event over two days.

SAIAB has thrived as a National Facility and holding a Science Open Day and Colloquium during this commemorative year provided an opportunity to consolidate and reflect on the changes that have taken place at SAIAB. Innovative research and institutional transformation have characterised SAIAB’s development since 1999. The institute has grown considerably not only in terms of its research output, but also as an institution that allows people to develop and achieve their full potential.

Opened by NRF Vice President, Dr Gatsha Mazithulela, the 10-Year celebration was an invitation event held over two days.  Following the screening of a commemorative DVD, a day of presentations by research staff provided a chance to reflect on our situation, the path taken and progress made during the past decade. The all-day programme covered six major research themes:

Discovery & Exploration
Systematics, Taxonomy, Phylogenetics & Phylogeography
Conservation Biology
Ocean Exploration
Global Change
Biodiversity Informatics and the National Fish Collection

At a cocktail function in the evening Dr Mazithulela officially opened the JLB Smith Collection Management Centre, calling it “a gem in the crown of the NRF”. He added that the new Centre is a major advancement in a long history of excellent curation at SAIAB which puts it on a par with other world class institutions.

Named in memory of Professor James Leonard Brierley (JLB) Smith the Centre is the nerve core from which the collections will be managed. The Centre provides facilities for sorting and cataloguing new collections. It also provides accommodation for visiting researchers and students from all over the world.

Rewarding as it is to reflect on the past, it is imperative to plan the way forward.

The Colloquium on 19 June provided an opportunity for open discussion around the SAIAB Science Plan (in press), which is in tune with the NRF Vision 2015 Strategic Plan.

The event dovetailed with the start of the Annual SAIAB Winterschool .Thirteen Winter School participants representing six South African universities and three DST interns were able benefit from the exposure. 

At the official opening of the JLB Smith Collection Management Centre from left: Dr Peter Clayton, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and development, Rhodes University; Dr David Vousden, Director UNDP, GEF, Agulhus Somali Large Marine Ecosystem (ASCLME) Project; Professor Paul Skelton, Managing Director, SAIAB; Dr Gatsha Mazithulela, Vice President of the NRF and Dr Gilbert Siko, Director of Science Platforms, Department of Science and Technology.At the official opening of the JLB Smith Collection Management Centre from left: Dr Peter Clayton, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and development, Rhodes University; Dr David Vousden, Director UNDP, GEF, Agulhus Somali Large Marine Ecosystem (ASCLME) Project; Professor Paul Skelton, Managing Director, SAIAB; Dr Gatsha Mazithulela, Vice President of the NRF and Dr Gilbert Siko, Director of Science Platforms, Department of Science and Technology.