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.