Scoping Workshop with the African Physical Socities

Learned societies have historically played a unique role in the developed world, in creating networks of specialists who can support one another, communicate their subject, and influence its development.

Nurturing the formation and growth of national physical societies in developing countries offers an effective route to building their capacity to undertake, and benefit from, physics-related activity.

IOP is one of the leading physics organisations around the world, with a sustainable capacity and experience in managing its worldwide membership of over 36,000 and communicating physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. The Institute could offer support to physical societies in developing countries, by sharing resources wherever practicable and providing advice and mentoring on request.

This approach was piloted through the visit in 2008 of the newly appointed CEO of the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP). Maintaining a focus on Africa, the IOP organised a meeting with the African Physical Society (a pan-African organisation) and physical societies from 12 African nations on 14 November in Cape Town. The representatives on behalf of their respective African physical societies/organisations and leading scientists from across Africa participated in a scoping workshop with the objective of setting the agenda for IOP’s capacity building programme.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss how best the IOP could support African Physical Societies and work together in future. The American Physical Society kindly offered funds for this meeting, which was also attended by the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). APS is also interested in developing a partnership with IOP for any follow-on development activities resulting from this meeting.

Report by Brian Masara (CEO - South African Institute of Physics) (PDF, 118 KB)