From 13 to 16 June 2017, approximately 400 leading scientists from across the Commonwealth countries met at the 2nd Commonwealth Science Conference in Singapore. Among these delegates was FABI PhD student, Osmond Mlonyeni, who was selected to attend by The Royal Society following his nomination by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

Not only was Osmond a delegate at this important and prestigious triennial meeting, he was selected as one of 12 speakers to give an oral presentation about their research at the student and postdoctoral presentation session. Each speaker was limited to a four-minute slot with only two presentation slides, where one slide was about their research and the other about the impact thereof. These 12 talks were split in two sets of six presentations, each followed by a 10 minute question and answer period for the audience to engage the speakers.

Osmond’s talk was selected as “one of the top three presentations in the student and post-doc presentation at the Commonwealth Science Conference 2017”.  This achievement is accompanied by a travel grant prize award of up to £6,000 “to support collaborative visits and mentoring from scientists from another Commonwealth country”. This award illustrates again how the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) (the research group in FABI in which Osmond performs his research) and FABI is truly aligned with the dedication of The Royal Society which commits to “promoting excellence in science”.

Photos (L-R): Osmond Mlonyeni with Prof Bernie Fanaroff, Strategic Adviser to the Square Kilometre Array; with Prof. Jeremy McNiel, Helen Battle Professor of Chemical Ecology at the University of Western Ontario; and with with Prof. Rees Kassen, Research Chair in Evolution at the University of Ottawa.

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Human ZR, Crous CJ, Roets F, Venter SN, Wingfield MJ, de Beer ZW. (2017) Biodiversity and ecology of flower-associated actinomycetes in different flowering stages of Protea repens. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0942-3
Wingfield BD. (2017) The peer review system has flaws. But it’s still a barrier to bad science. The Conversation http://bit.ly/2holsgS
McTaggart AR, Beasley DR, Wingfield MJ, Wood AR, Pretorius ZA, Drenth A, Shivas RG, Roux J. (2017) A dynamic, web-based resource to identify rust fungi (Pucciniales) in southern Africa. MycoKeys 26:77-83. 10.3897/mycokeys.26.14602
De Maayer P, Aliyu H, Vikram S, Blom J, Duffy B, Cowan DA, Smits THM, Venter SN, Coutinho TA. (2017) Phylogenomic, pan-genomic, pathogenomic and evolutionary genomic insights into the agronomically relevant enterobacteria Pantoea ananatis and Pantoea stewartii. Frontiers in Microbiology 8(1755) 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01755
Jami F, Wingfield MJ, Gryzenhout M, Slippers B. (2017) Diversity of tree-infecting Botryosphaeriales on native and non-native trees in South Africa and Namibia. Australasian Plant Pathology 10.1007/s13313-017-0516-x