News & events


SEMINAR: Water access and use

What lessons can we learn from the STI policy studies?
20 March 2024
12:00 - 14:00

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) is hosting a seminar discussing the current water crisis as a case study to understand the role of STI policy in addressing such multi-dimensional and complex development problems. Drawing on the crisis of water access and use in South Africa and Uruguay, the seminar will focus on lessons we can learn from STI studies and participants will also discuss the scope, governance models and systems needed to solve South Africa’s water crisis.

South Africa has well-established research and innovation capacity in the water sector but has struggled with translating this capacity into a large-scale harnessing of technological and social innovations to avert threats of water shortage.

Science, technology and innovation (STI) studies provide a useful framework for confronting the current water crisis and similar societal challenges.

The seminar will be presented by Professor Isabel Bortagaray, a sociologist from Uruguay, and visiting international research fellow at the HSRC’s Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators. Professor Nick Shepherd, an associate professor at Aarhus University in Denmark and author of “Day Zero” Drought: Notes on a Future History of Urban Dwelling (2021), will provide some reflections from his research on the water crisis in South Africa.  

Date: 20 March 2024

Time: 12:00 – 14:00

Venue: Room CPT 69,  HSRC Cape Town Office, 1st Floor, Yacht Club, 2 Dockrail Road, Foreshore, Cape Town

To register and attend online:

For more information, please contact: Setsoheng Mayeki (


Seminar Chair: Prof. Alexis Habiyaremye, Senior Researcher, DSI/NRF South African Research Chair in Industrial Development, University of Johannesburg.  

12:00 – 12:10   Welcome

12:10 – 12:50   Presentation by Prof. Isabel Bortagaray: Looking at water access and use from the perspective of STI policy studies: What lessons can we learn? 

12:50 – 13:10   Discussant: Prof. Nick Shepherd

13:10 – 13:55   Q&A and discussion

13:55 – 14:00   Closing