Terms of Reference Shaping the future of physics in South Africa by rraul

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									Terms of Reference Shaping the future of physics in South Africa

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Assignment title Shaping the future of physics in South Africa.

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Need for the review/foresight process Over the last few years the SAIP has expressed its growing concern with regard to the state of physics in South Africa, particularly regarding dwindling student numbers (i.e. lack/low intake of students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level) and research funding. Concerns were also raised about both the role of, and state of funding for, physics in general. A proposal for the process of review and foresight was therefore developed by the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF).

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Purpose of the review/foresight process The purpose will be to: o

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review the state of physics in South Africa formulate a strategy to revitalize physics in South Africa.

Scope of the review/foresight process The review/foresight process will focus on physics in the tertiary education sector in South Africa. It should enjoy the credibility of the community in its widest sense to include government, the research community, industry and higher education. During the review/foresight, attention will be given to: o reviewing the funding regimes which promote physics and technology developments through research efforts in the private sector, science councils, academic institutions and/or any other donor agencies reviewing institutional infrastructure for the development of physics research capacity reviewing the human resources and skills development in physics consolidating existing reviews of physics

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o proposing strategies to revitalize physics.
5 Assignment principal The Management and Policy Committee (MPC), comprising representatives of key groups within the physics community of South Africa (i.e. higher education, industry, science councils,
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government, the biophysics and medical physics community, research students) with delegated authority to Prof EC Zingu, Chairman of the MPC.

The MPC shall: o o o o o o o o o o o oversee/monitor the entire process of the review/foresight to its successful conclusion appoint a chairperson of the MPC nominate members of the International Panel and its convenor approve the work plan for the review/foresight process appoint or co-opt additional members onto the Technical Committee meet regularly under the direction of the chair of the MPC, as required determine and approve the time frames for the review/foresight process compile a list of documents to be made available to the members of the International Panel provide a list of interviewees for the International Panel approve the allocation of funds within the available budget monitor expenditure in accordance with an approved budget assume responsibility to procure additional resources receive the final report from the International Panel present the report from the International Panel to the DST and the NRF solicit responses to the report (review and strategic plan) from the relevant stakeholders submit the final report (review and strategic plan) of the International Panel and the collated responses to the stakeholders identified.

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Assignment coordinator The Technical Committee (TC) comprises of members with appropriate technical, administrative and logistic skills. TC members will include a physicist, representatives of the DST, the SAIP and the NRF. The Evaluation Centre of the NRF will act as secretariat for the review/foresight until the final report from the International Panel has been submitted to the MPC. The TC shall: o o o o o o o o o o o o be accountable to the MPC translate the TOR into actionable tasks be responsible for the contractual agreements with the International Panel develop a work plan for the International Panel in close cooperation with the MPC develop a budget for the entire review/foresight process indicating the responsibility for various costs, if applicable manage, coordinate and administer the entire review/foresight process including all logistic arrangements act as secretariat to the MPC and to the International Panel liaise with the stakeholders under review at all the required levels make travel and accommodation arrangements for the members of the MPC, the International Panel as well as the interviewees ensure that the work plan for the review/foresight process is adhered to effect the necessary payments solicit the background documents for the International Panel as stipulated by the MPC.

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Review /foresight dimensions An International Panel (IP) will review the state of physics in South Africa and propose strategies with the aim of stimulating a revitalization and redirection of physics in South Africa by: o o o reviewing the reports and minutes of previous assessments of physics in South Africa assessing submissions received regarding strategies for developing physics in South Africa undertak ing a review and foresight of the state of physics based on an interpretation of the documentation provided by the T (as well as on information obtained during C interviews with relevant stakeholders.) undertak ing on-site visits to and discussions with stakeholders, including academics, government representatives and industry with the objective of determining the potential to do physics formulat ing a strategy for future implementation to redirect physics in South Africa reporting verbally to the MPC and other stakeholders at the end of the review/ foresight process compiling and submitting a written report on its findings and recommendations to the MPC within the stipulated format and timeframe.

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Review/foresight process “Shaping the future of physics in SA” is a process involving three phases: o o Phase 1 (completed) involved regional workshops held in the latter half of 2002 to secure buy-in from the stakeholder community at regional level. Phase 2 (completed) involved a National Stakeholders Meeting held in Pretoria on 16 May 2003 to nominate members of the MPC as well as the TC and to consider the respective draft terms of reference for the MPC, TC and IP. Phase 3 will involve: o the implementation of the work plan for the review/foresight process by the TC o the deliberations of the IP and the compilation of the report by the IP to be completed by the end of March 2004, depending on the availability of the panelists o the dissemination of the report and elicitation of feedback by the MPC o the implementation of the recommendations of the review/foresight studies by the relevant stakeholders

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The approval and appointment of the IP o o o o The IP will comprise of experts (at least four high-profile international scientists from abroad and at least two from South Africa) with appropriate experience and skills. The MPC, in conjunction with the NRF, will nominate and shortlist the proposed names for the IP members. The Director General of DST will approve the IP members. The MPC through an appointed agent (NRF) will appoint the members and convenor of the IP.

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Documentation The documents to serve as background to the review/foresight process will be stipulated by the MPC. The TC will source the documents and make them available to the members of the IP four weeks prior to the commencement of the review/foresight

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process. The IP may request from the TC specific documentation considered essential for carrying out their tasks. 8.3 Work plan The TC will draw up a work plan in consultation with the MPC. It will provide opportunities for the IP to interview/have discussions with relevant stakeholders and to obtain additional information through selected on-site visits. 8.4 Stakeholder interaction The TC will arrange appointments/on-site visits/discussions for the IP with the stakeholders during their two-week period in South Africa. The IP will determine the line of questioning that will be followed during interviews. 8.5 Deliverables by the IP o o o A verbal presentation by the IP providing feedback to the MPC, the physics community and all other interested stakeholders A preliminary report upon completion of the review/foresight process A final report containing an executive summary, specific recommendations on priorities and interventions and a strategy for future implementation, to be submitted within two weeks of completion of the review/foresight process.

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Time frame The IP will meet in South Africa for two weeks January to March 2004 depending on the availability of the IP. during the period

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Budget o The NRF and the DST contributed funds towards the costs for the review/foresight process. Additional funds may be secured from other sources by members of the MPC to contribute towards expenses of the process. The following costs for the IP members will be covered: o travel costs related to the official programme o accommodation (bed and breakfast) o fixed daily subsistence o a fixed honorarium for each day of the review/foresight programme in South Africa Reasonable travel and accommodation costs incurred by interviewees will be reimbursed. Reasonable travel costs incurred by MPC and TC members to attend all meetings essential for the process will be covered. Additional funds for any other activities not budgeted for but approved by the MPC will have to be obtained from other sources.

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