#02 2024

SARVA team initiates collaborative workshop series with Centres for Global Change

By Galaletsang Keebine, Junior Data Scientist, NRF-SAEON uLwazi Node

The South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA) project team has initiated a series of workshops with the five Centres for Global Change (CGC), also known as the Risk and Vulnerability Science Centres (RVSCs). The centres were established by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) under the Global Research Plan for South Africa.

Two workshops have been held so far, one at Walter Sisulu University on 6 March and a second at the University of Limpopo on 26 March. These workshops are critical to SARVA’s strategic mission to strengthen relationships and foster collaboration with the CGCs.

Enhancing global change research 

As part of the DSI’s 10-year Global Change Grand Challenge, SARVA and the CGCs are dedicated to enhancing global change research by exploring synergies in the application of open data for science. These workshops went beyond conventional technical skills development; they served as platforms for exploring avenues of collaboration between participating organisations.

The initial workshop at Walter Sisulu University saw 27 enthusiastic participants, including students, researchers and supervisors, come together to hone their technical skills. This spirit of collaboration continued at the University of Limpopo, where 34 participants from diverse backgrounds and career levels participated in the workshop.

The core focus of the workshops was to equip participants with the necessary tools and knowledge to explore, analyse and manage data. Presentations, including an overview of the Research Data Lifecycle, laid a theoretical foundation for the practical applications discussed during the hands-on activities.

Immersive sessions on Python Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for advanced data management and analysis, coupled with hands-on tutorials on Google Earth Engine for spatial analysis, provided invaluable insights into these software and technologies, opening new horizons for participants.

Vibrant collaboration ecosystem

The outcome of these workshops has set the stage for a promising collaboration. Participants were immersed in a vibrant collaboration ecosystem, where ideas flowed freely and connections were forged. The active participation of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) further enriched the discussions, highlighting the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Limpopo workshop included participation from the DSI Directorate responsible for overseeing SARVA. The DSI outlined the desired outcomes from the current partnership between SARVA and the CGCs at the event.

As SARVA continues the workshop series with the other CGCs – University of the Free State, University of Fort Hare and Sol Plaatje University, the SARVA team remains committed to sowing the seeds of collaboration and promoting scientific research for global change through data mobilisation.

Participants in the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) workshop included the SARVA team, staff and students of the WSU Risk and Vulnerability Science Centre, and representatives from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

Participants in the University of Limpopo workshop included the SARVA team, the Risk and Vulnerability Science Centre staff and students, and representatives from the DFFE and Department of Science and Innovation.

Workshop participants during the technical training at Walter Sisulu University.