BRICS Young Scientists Forum (BRICS-YSF) Annual Conclave:

 In

Envolta nominated it’s one of the team member for 8th BRICS Young Scientists Forum (BRICS-YSF) Annual Conclave held in South Africa under the primary theme of The future of society and sub theme: Smart society through Artificial Intelligence (e.g., AI applications in public services such as resource allocation, transport, housing, and electricity).

The conclave highlighted the strategic importance of science, technology, and innovation (STI) as key drivers to attain environmental sustainability, solutions to societal challenges and youths’ transition to leadership.

Theme: Building BRICS and Africa Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism

The Main Goals of the 8th BRICS YSF:

  • To provide a platform for talented BRICS young scientists and researchers to exchange perspectives on transformative change and forge sustainable research partnerships, link and networks.
  • To promote youth driven creative solutions to the most pressing socio-economic problems
    in their societies.
  • To promote scientific cooperation/science diplomacy dialogues amongst the BRICS emerging researchers and countries beyond the summit; and
  • To promote the interconnectedness of society through research and innovation for inclusive and sustainable development.

The thematic discussions focused on the below sub-themes and specifically address the related issues as follows:

  • Climate change and environmental sustainability:

The specific sub-themes are: (i) Monitoring and modelling earth systems, (ii) Preparedness for extreme environmental events, (iii) Developing technologies for reducing carbon footprint in energy and transport systems, (iv) organic or inorganic waste management to produce new products as demonstration of circular economy.

  • The future of education, mind-set, and skillset:

The specific sub-themes are: (i) Applications for emerging and converging technologies (e.g., integration of multiple technologies within applications, nanotechnology, biotechnology, new applications of “old” technologies/old technology for a new purpose [e.g., photosensitive film discovered in 1880s now used for data storage applications), (ii) Emerging educational tools to overcome localized socio-economic barriers (e.g., remote learning, artificial intelligence based tools [e.g. Chat GPT, Chat Sonic], learning analytics, robotics support) (iii) Entrepreneurial mind set to navigate the ever changing future (e.g., emerging commercial markets, the evolution of trade platforms, emerging block chain opportunities).

  •  The future of society:

The specific sub-themes are: (i) Smart society through Artificial Intelligence (e.g., AI applications in public services such as resource allocation, transport, housing, and electricity) (ii) Science technology and innovation to address security issues, e.g., implementation of new STI outputs/approaches in primary health care, food production, emergency/disaster preparedness and cyber security); (iii) Interconnectedness of society (science diplomacy role, social upliftment through community of practice, society and culture).

The Main Themes of the BRICS was based on the following thematic areas:                                                                                                                          

1. Modernising Manufacturing                                                                                                                                                                                 

The thematic sub-themes was in the following: areas –

  • Advanced Electronics: Advanced electronics include devices that provide for the processing of information; sensing, transmission, communication; etc.
  • Mechanisation/Automations: Mechanisation is normally defined as the replacement of a human task with a machine. Automation involves the entire process, including bringing material to and from the mechanized equipment.
  • Production Technologies: Production technologies refer to all measures and facilities for the industrial production of goods. The basis is the transfer of scientific knowledge into technologically controllable and economically usable production systems.
  • Smart Factories: Smart factories refer to cyber-physical systems that use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyse data and drive automated processes.
  • Additive Manufacturing: refer to the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methodologies.

2. Modernising Agriculture

Breeding and Reproduction: In biology, breeding refers to the process of reproduction, typically plants or animals, to produce offspring. It can only occur between a male and a female plant or animal.

  • Animal Health and Nutrition. Animal nutrition entails the study of the composition and characteristics of the material consumed by the animal, the way this material is metabolised (converted, utilised, and excreted) in the digestive tract and body cells of mono gastric animals (pigs, broilers, layers), ruminants (sheep, cattle, goats), and lower digestive tract fermenters (horses, ostriches)
  • Plant Health and Nutrition: Plant health and nutrition is a term that considers the interrelationships of mineral elements in the soil or soilless solution necessary for plant growth and reproduction, plant metabolism and their external supply.
  • Post-Harvest Technologies: Post harvest technologies refer to science and techniques applied to agricultural produce after harvest for its protection, conservation, processing, packaging, distribution, marketing, and utilisation to meet the food and nutritional requirements of the people in relation to their needs.

3. Modernising Mining Industries

  • Automation and digitisation: Digitising the mining process changes it from a manual, paper-based operation to a digital platform that incorporates soiled systems, automation, AI, etc. to streamline operations and significantly improve business outcomes.
  • Mining beneficiation: Beneficiation, or value-added processing, involves the transformation of a primary material (produced by mining and extraction processes) to a more finished product, which has a higher export sales value.
  • Sustainable mining technologies: Sustainable mining technologies refers to those techniques that help reduce the negative environmental, social and governance impacts of mining operations, ensuring that the needs of future generations can also be met.
  • Health and Safety: this refers to the safeguarding of the health and safety of mine employees and communities affected by mining operations.
  • Environmentally responsible technologies: Environmentally responsible technologies refer to those technologies that will reduce carbon emissions in operations and mitigate adverse environmental impacts.

4. Exploiting new sources of growth: The Circular Economy

The Circular Economy approach offers numerous opportunities for socio economic growth and environmental protection. The approach can contribute to GDP, provide a new source of employment, increase profit margins at firm level and maximise resource utilisation efficiency.

  • Developing new technologies: These new technologies include big data, AI, block chain and the Internet of things (IoT), amongst others.
  • Reduction of waste: The Circular Economy is based on three principles namely, the elimination of waste and pollution, the circulation of products and materials and the regeneration of nature.
  • Improved reuse of materials: The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products.
  • Reduction of landfill sites.
  • Addressing plastic waste.
  • Net zero: Net zero refers to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible. A materials transition that applies Circular Economy principles involves lower impactful ways to produce materials that can help to realise global net-zero goals.

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