Many of the research leaders in FABI actively participate in, and are members of national and international Societies and Academies. Professor Brenda Wingfield is no exception and she is (amongst other responsibilities) the Vice President of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).  It was in this capacity that she represented South Africa at the Inaugural meeting of Commonwealth Science Advisers and Equivalents (CSAE).  The meeting was part of the Commonwealth Summit and brought together 31 Commonwealth nations – from Australia to Vanuatu to share experiences with regards to bringing science into policy to address global challenges.

The meeting was held at the Royal Society offices in London and organised by the UK Government for Science and assisted by the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA). The meeting was opened by tHIs Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and the meeting was co-chaired by Dr Patrick Vallance (UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser) and Sir Peter Gluckman (Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of New Zealand). 

The attendees at the meeting were asked to consider three questions:

1) What could science and science advice do to strengthen the Commonwealth? 

2) Under what circumstances over the past five years would a mechanism for sharing science advice have been most useful to your country? 

3) What expertise does your country possess from which other Commonwealth countries could benefit?

Photo credit: Royal Society