Rob Adam
South African Radio Astronomy Observatory and Square Kilometre Array

Rob Adam was appointed Director of the South African Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope project in January 2016.

Until recently Rob held the position of Group Executive: Nuclear at the Aveng Group. Prior to joining Aveng, Rob was Chief Executive Officer of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), South Africa's foremost nuclear technology company. He held this position from 2006 to 2012. Before joining Necsa, Rob was Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology, from 1999 to 2006. Rob has also been a Professor of Physics at both the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa and served on the Council of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa. He is currently a member of the Human Resource Development Council chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza and has chaired or served on numerous Boards and Councils over the course of his career.

Rob has held various academic positions in Europe and South Africa, has authored over 30 refereed articles in theoretical physics, published widely on science and technology policy and co-authored a book on science and technology in the Republic of Chile.


Fosca Giannotti
Research at the Information Science and Technology Institute

Fosca Giannotti is Director of Research at the Information Science and Technology Institute “A. Faedo” of the National Research Council, Pisa, Italy. Fosca Giannotti is a scientist in Data mining and Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics. Fosca leads the Pisa KDD Lab - Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining Laboratory http://kdd.isti.cnr.it, a joint research initiative of the University of Pisa and ISTI-CNR, founded in 1994 as one of the earliest research lab centered on data mining. Fosca's research focus is on social mining from big data:  human dynamics, social  networks,  diffusion of innovation,  privacy enhancing technology and explainable AI. She has coordinated tens of research projects and industrial collaborations. Fosca is now the coordinator of SoBigData, the European research infrastructure on Big Data Analytics and Social Mining, an ecosystem of ten cutting edge European research centres providing an open platform for interdisciplinary data science and data-driven innovation http://www.sobigdata.eu. In 2012-2015 Fosca has been general chair of Steering board of ECML-PKDD (European conference on Machine Learning) and is currently member of the steering committee EuADS (European Association on Data Science) and on the Italian Lab. of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems.


Jörg Helmschrot

Dr. Jörg Helmschrot holds a diploma degree in geography, geology and urban planning from the University of Jena in 1999. In 2006, he finished his PhD on the impact of afforestation on wetland and catchment hydrology in South African headwater catchments. Dr. Helmschrot also holds an extraordinary Professorship with the University of Stellenbosch, Faculty of AgriSciences and the Water Management Institute since 2016.  After working as a SASSCAL researcher at University of Jena until 2012, Dr. Helmschrot joined the Scientific Coordination team of the SASSCAL at University of Hamburg in 2013. Since June 2016, Dr. Helmschrot took up the position of SASSCAL’s Director of Science and Technology and Capacity Development and is in charge for implementing and coordinating the further development of the SASSCAL research and capacity development agenda as well as the establishment of the Open Access Data Centre. He is also in charge for the successful implementation of collaborative research projects funded through e.g. AU GMES Africa, EU H2020, BMBF, World Bank and ARC.

In his scientific career, he coordinated and was involved in more than 40 research projects with focus on IWRM, global and climate change impact modelling and assessment, catchment hydrology, irrigation hydrology, wetland functioning and salinity in Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin), USA, Australia, Turkey and Germany. His scientific work and outcomes are reflected in more than 90 scientific publications and more than 180 scientific talks.


Elizabeth Marincola
African Academy of Sciences

Elizabeth Marincola is a longtime leader of science publishing, advocacy, education, communication and policy. She is Senior Advisor for Communications and Advocacy at the African Academy of Sciences, a pan-African organization dedicated to the advancement of quality science across the Continent. At AAS, she is leading the development and launch of AAS Open Research, an innovative, transparent publishing platform. Marincola prior served as CEO of PLOS, publisher of the world’s largest open access journal. She was President of the Society for Science & the Public, Publisher of Science News, and Executive Director of the American Society for Cell Biology. She has served on multiple national and international advisory committees and boards, including the Board of Directors of eLife and the Strategic Planning Committee for the NIH National Library of Medicine. Marincola received the (U.S.) Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health. She received her A.B. from Stanford University and MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.


Simeon Materechera
North West University

Professor Materechera is the Director of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Center at the Mafikeng campus of the North West University. He oversees the teaching and research activities of IKS at the University and is involved in supervision and mentoring of postgraduate students. His career has involved networking activities that led to setting up of collaborations with peers, organizations and institutions involved with research, teaching and learning, and, community engagement. Professor Materechera has published widely including book chapters, conference presentations, monographs, commissioned research reports and peer-reviewed journal articles. He serves on the editorial boards of a number of journals.



Ismail Serageldin
Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) , the new Library of Alexandria, inaugurated in 2002, is currently, Emeritus Librarian, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Library of Alexandria. He is advisor to the Egyptian Prime Minister in matters concerning culture, science, and museums. He serves as Chair and Member of a number of advisory committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions, including as co-Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC), and serves on the Advisory Committee of the World Social Science Report for 2013 and 2016, as well as the UNESCO-supported World Water Scenarios (2013) and the executive council of the Encyclopedia of Life (2010) and Chairs the Executive Council of the World Digital Library (2010).  He has held many international positions including as Vice President of the World Bank (1993–2000). He also co-chaired the African Union’s high level panel for Biotechnology (2006) and again for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in 2012-2013, and was a member of the ICANN Panel for the review of the internet future (2013).