UP’s Dr Heide Hackmann wins Science Diplomacy Award at the 2023 South Africa Science Forum

November 07 – Dr Heide Hackmann, Director of Future Africa, the University of Pretoria’s pan-African platform for collaborative research, was honoured with a Science Diplomacy Award in the category of Lifetime Contribution in International STI Cooperation to serve society at the 2023 South Africa Science Forum (SASF2023).

The award ceremony, which took place on Wednesday, 6 December was a highlight of the official opening of the SASF2023 event happening at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria from 6 to 8 December 2023.

Presented by Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology of South Africa, the award recognises Dr Hackmann’s dedication to advancing science diplomacy and fostering international  Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) collaboration, while leading the successful merger of two international scientific organisations, the International Council for Science and the International Social Science Council resulting in the formation of the International Science Council (ISC).

This monumental project established the ISC as the world's largest representative organisation for science, promoting collaboration among members from over 140 countries in the natural and social science disciplines.

Dr Hackmann served as the CEO of the International Science Council in Paris from 2018 to 2022 and as the Executive Director of its predecessor organisations, the International Council for Science from 2015 to 2018, and the International Social Science Council from 2007 to 2015.

In response to the recognition, Dr Hackmann expressed her gratitude, stating, "It is a tremendous honour for me to be recognised and be handed this award, especially because it comes from my own country. This recognition underscores the importance of international collaboration in addressing global challenges. I believe in the transformative power of science to transcend borders and shape a sustainable future. Thus collaboration – across the disciplines, across countries and continents, and with society is paramount, and will be achieved by shaping and mobilising international knowledge networks and resources for success, as well as capacitating people and systems.”

Dr Hackmann joined the university in 2022 to lead Future Africa, the pan-African collaborative research platform. As part of her vision, she aims to ensure that African research informs and inspires sustainable development globally, and that African researchers are provided with opportunities to shape the global voice for science.

The SFSA 2023 Science Diplomacy Awards, part of the Science Forum South Africa, hosted by the South African Department of Science and Innovation and the Science Diplomacy Capital for Africa, recognise individuals and organisations making outstanding contributions to science diplomacy, and whose work lies at the intersection of science, international cooperation and partnerships, policy advice, evidence-based decision-making, and diplomacy with a footprint in regional and global science community.





Dr Heide Hackmann, Director of Future Africa, University of Pretoria