Call for sessions: Seedbeds of Transformation
Local trained assistants participate in on-farm research activities. Photo: Gordon Ajonina

GLP News

Call for sessions: Seedbeds of Transformation

Future Earth, the South African Government Department of Science and Technology, the National Research Foundation of South Africa, and START are pleased to announce the Seedbeds of Transformation: the Role of Science with Society and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa conference. The conference will take place from 9 to 11 May 2018 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Seedbeds will provide a collaborative space for interrogation of transformations in Africa, and how working toward the SDGs may bring us closer to these. The conference will encourage dialogue and actions including examining potential tradeoffs involved with strategies for achieving the SDGs and pursuing transformational change in different contexts across the continent.

We are seeking proposals for sessions that encourage active participation and open dialogue among attendees. Sessions should seek to draw on diverse perspectives from research, policy and practice and focus on African priorities and actions. The conference will accommodate approximately 300 participants. The session proposals are expected to address one or more of the conference themes:

We are seeking ideas for immersive and highly participatory sessions that advance key concepts and ideas under the three themes, and that produce strategic and actionable recommendations at various decision making levels to take forward from this conference. Because of the conference structure, we are looking for session concepts that rely on dialogue and engagement much more than on conventional presentation formats. Proposals that originate from African-based applicants or that have a strong link to local, national and regional African contexts are preferred, though other proposals will be considered.

The deadline for submissions is February 5, 2018.

Selection criteria for successful session proposals (arranged by priority):

  • Extent to which the session topic connects to at least one of the conference themes. [25 points]
  • Extent to which the session has a focus on and relevance to Africa, and the extent to which individuals from Africa are involved in developing the session. [25 points]
  • Extent to which the session has an innovative, interactive and engaging format. [20 points]
  • Extent to which the session has clearly defined goals and is focused on producing tangible and relevant outcomes.  [15 points]
  • Extent to which the session organizers demonstrate broad and relevant representation. (We will give preference to sessions with gender balance, contribution from early career professionals and that include diverse disciplines and sectors of society.) [15 points]

To apply, please fill out the online form here.

When applying, please indicate:

  • What topic or topics will the session address?
  • What conference theme or themes does the session correspond to?
  • What specific approaches and methods will be used to explore the topics and themes?
  • How will the session feed into high-level findings and recommendations produced by the conference? Do you envision that your session could impact discourse and action on transformations and the SDGs beyond the conference, and how?
  • How long will the session be (options are 0.5, 1, or 1.5 hours)?
  • Who are the participants? Please indicate the need for travel support for key participants (note that funding is limited, so partial support is encouraged).
    • Session Lead
    • Session Co-Lead
    • Other key participants
    • Audience (who should attend)
  • What are specific session needs (room size, table needs, audio-visual, flip charts, etc.)?
  • What are anticipated funding needs for travel support? Please specify funding needs for Session Lead, Co-lead and key participants, and whether it is full or partial support. The amount of support is contingent upon availability of funds.

For more information, contact Craig Starger at