The Annual Centres of Excellence Director’s Forum held in Port Elizabeth from 31 August till 2 September gave South African scientists a platform to discuss the Triumvirate (people, knowledge enterprise and engagement with society) Transformation in the DST-NRF Centres of Excellence. Presentations by the Minister of Science and Technology, the Honorable Naledi Pandor, Dr Mamphela Ramphele and Prof. Barney Pityana shaped discussions on the future of scientific research in South Africa. A future goal for science in South Africa should be the graduation of up to 5,000 PhD students per year who will be creators of knowledge in academia.

Core team members from the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) engaged young learners from Port Elizabeth at a science outreach forum. CTHB Deputy Director and Programme Manager, Prof. Emma Steenkamp, Prof. Ednah Kunjeku (CTHB Board member and University of Venda academic), Dr Martin Coetzee, Dr Alistair McTaggart and PhD candidate Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry discussed the benefits of a career in science and of postgraduate education with high school students. They shared some of their important knowledge in genomes, evolution and biotechnology, which are applied to tree health. Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry had an opportunity to meet with Minister Pandor as a post-graduate student and explain her decision to pursue a career in science and some of the achievements made by the CTHB.

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Phasha MM, Wingfield BD, Coetzee MPA, Santana QC, Fourie G, Steenkamp ET. (2017) Architecture and distribution of introns in core genes of four Fusarium species. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics 7(11):3809-3820. 10.1534/g3.117.300344
Chen SF, Liu QL, Li GQ, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Quambalaria species associated with eucalypt diseases in southern China. Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering 10.15302/J-FASE-2017173 PDF
Meyer J, Berger DK, Christensen SA, Murray SL. (2017) RNA-Seq analysis of resistant and susceptible sub-tropical maize lines reveals a role for kauralexins in resistance to grey leaf spot disease, caused by Cercospora zeina. BMC Plant Biology 17:197. 10.1186/s12870-017-1137-9
Nel WJ, Duong TA, Wingfield BD, Wingfield MJ, De Beer ZW. (2017) A new genus and species for the globally important, multi-host root pathogen Thielaviopsis basicola. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.12803
Aylward J, Wingfield BD, Dreyer LL, Roets F, Wingfield MJ, Steenkamp ET. (2017) Contrasting carbon metabolism in saprotrophic and pathogenic Microascalean fungi from Protea trees. Fungal Ecology 30:88-100. 10.1016/j.funeco.2017.09.002