News & events


Science and Society: Public Understanding of Science (PUS) in South Africa and Other Collaborations

25 January 2011
12:15 - 14:00

Date :

25 January 2011

Time :

12:15 – 14:00


Dr Hester du Plessis, Senior Researcher, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) and the Sustainable Energy Technology and Research (SeTAR) Centre, Faculty of Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The role of research in the field of Public Understanding of Science (PUS) is globally recognised as playing an important part in the development of government policy of Research and Development (R&D) as well as Science and Technology (S&T).


The analysis of PUS surveys provides governments with insight into society’s attitudes, understanding, aspirations and opinions regarding science. In the current ‘science and society’ paradigm in PUS, the call toward the ambitious development of a global Science Culture Index (SCI) is providing a complex challenge to a diverse group of international PUS researchers from India, China, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Italy, UK and South Africa.

In the African context, this challenge serves as a wake-up call towards the importance of PUS and provides scope for debate around both the theoretical and the technical aspects of PUS survey content and aim. This presentation will probe some of the more crucial requirements for a shift towards the establishment of PUS as an organised discipline, capable of global research participation within both the African and the South African context.


Cape Town: HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Vuyokazi Ngxubaza, Tel +27 (0) 21 466 8004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or Cell: +27 (0) 82 050 8453

Durban: First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Thandiwe Zungu, Tel +27 (0) 31 242 5400, cell: 083 359 3946 or

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: +27 (0) 12 302 2811, e-mail: