Enquiring minds: Ms Lydia Chikumbi, a cohort 2 SASAC student at the University of Cape Town, poses a question at the ‘Science to Policy for Sustainability’ week, hosted at UWC.

The SASAC Capacity Development Programme 2018 has entered its final stretch, with the bulk of supported students making their way to Cape Town this week. Over the week, the three SASAC cohorts of doctoral students will all, albeit separately, gather around Cape Town for different training programmes. (They will congregate under one roof only at a formal dinner this Thursday.) Now at different stages of their studies, training has been tailored to meet groups’ respective needs, explained SASAC director, Professor Priscilla Baker of the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

With this in mind, the cohort 1 students (those who entered SASAC in its inaugural year in 2016) will spend the week at the Joie de Vivre conference venue just outside Paarl. There they will be put through their paces at a writing boot camp facilitated by Dr Ruth Albertyn and Ms Ella Belcher, both affiliated with the Centre for Higher and Adult Education at Stellenbosch University. This week serves as final preparation for the students, many hard at work writing up their final theses.

At the same time, cohort 2 (2017) will be based at UWC for a policy week – titled From Science to Policy for Sustainability – looking at how knowledge produced at research institutions is, ultimately, translated into policy. Presenters will include Mr John Dini of the Water Research Commission (WRC), Dr Shingi Mutanga and Dr Thokozani Simelane of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and Ms Charmaine Williamson of UNISA.

In turn, the SASAC intake of 2018 (cohort 3) will close down their month-long stay in Stellenbosch with a mixed programme. This will include further discussion on the application of systems analysis and systems thinking across disciplines, as well as a short writing boot camp of their own.

Capacity Development 2018 enters the home straight