The African Digital Scholarship and Curation Conference held at the CSIR International Conference Centre from 12 – 14 May 2009, attracted a number of international leaders in the field of e-Research to South Africa. In order to capitalise on this opportunity, the University of Pretoria (Prof Robin Crewe: Vice-Principal) and the CSIR (Dr Thulani Dlamini: Group Executive: R&D), under the ambit of the SERA Alliance, co-hosted a pre-conference seminar-workshop on e-Research at the CSIR Knowledge Commons. Representing ACGT were Prof. Jane Morris and Prof. Braam Louw.
The seminar-workshop served as a platform for local and overseas e-Research role-players to rub shoulders and share lessons and experiences. It is envisaged that lessons learnt by the local e-Research role-players will serve as input into the review and mobilisation of the South African e-Research blue print. In addition, delegates at the seminar-workshop brain stormed around South Africa’s e-Research direction. Emphasis in that discussion was placed on:
- Crafting the vision; (key elements to consider)
- Critical requirements for success
- Infrastructure requirements for collaborative environments
- Intellectual Property, security, data-preservation and curation
Seminar organisers, presenters and delegates indicated that they were content with the quality of dialogue and knowledge-exchange that took place at the workshop. The local e-Research role-players expressed their satisfaction with the confidence afforded to them to map-out and implement a collaborative programme to benefit the SA research community.
The workshop’s outputs will be vital for the inclusive development of a strategic e-Research framework. Among others, the framework – which will paint a five to 10 year e-Research scenario for South Africa – will advocate for adequate e-Research funding, resources and governance locally. It will also address issues surrounding South Africa’s e-Research technology-backbone, and services required for effective and efficient linkages to similar users and providers locally and abroad
The seminar-workshop proceedings were facilitated by Awie Vlok, of the CSIR Innovation Leadership and Learning Academy.