Dear SARIMA community
I trust that this first SARIMA newsletter of 2020 finds you well and in good health.
I would firstly like to acknowledge that we are living in challenging times right now – characterised by limitation of movement and a temporary suspension of the life that we have grown used to. The uncertainty surrounding the duration of these measures, as well as the images we see of suffering around the world and fears for our own vulnerable people, have the potential to fill us with a sense of anxiety and stress. In our research institutions these past weeks we spent the time to urgently put some contingency measures in place in an attempt to alleviate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our research and innovation efforts.
I would like to encourage you to remain positive and hopeful that it is in our power to make a significant difference to the spread of the virus. I am extremely grateful that our government, as well as those of our member countries in SADC, took decisive action in this regard early on. I wish every SARIMA member and each of our stakeholders the absolute best in these trying times.
SARIMA’s activities are continuing and my wish is that you will use all of the virtual means available to you to engage with us and continue to build the network of professionals that we wish to strengthen and support. Please keep an eye out for our virtual offerings for capacity development, calls for opportunities for professional recognition or accreditation, our conference arrangements, and other.
The SARIMA committee has recently decided to conduct this year’s SARIMA conference as a virtual conference for the first time. We realise that this is a relatively unknown concept to most people. Be assured that this decision was not taken lightly – but then, SARIMA has never hesitated to stand at the forefront of innovation! There are unfortunately simply too many unknowns to go ahead with arranging a physical conference in 2020.
Rest assured that the SARIMA Conference Committee is absolutely determined to ensure that this is an exciting, innovative, enriching experience for all conference attendees. Please see the following link for more background on our plans: www.sarimaconf.co.za. We will need your help to make this a success! Please DO respond to our call for abstracts, which will close on 30 April 2020. Please also respond enthusiastically to the forthcoming call for SARIMA/DSI Excellence Award nominations. If there was ever a time to celebrate excellent and professional support in our research and innovation institutions, it is now!
You would have seen that INORMS 2020 in Hiroshima, Japan was postponed to May 2021. We will continue to support our Japanese colleagues to host a successful conference in 2021. This means that the subsequent INORMS conference in Mauritius, to be hosted by SARIMA, will now be held in 2023. It gives us another year to plan a truly spectacular INORMS 2023 in Mauritius (and another year for you to start saving up for your attendance!).
Please renew your SARIMA membership for 2020 if you have not yet done so! The existence of SARIMA is dependent on its members – so please do join as a member for 2020 and enjoy the networking, professionalization and capacity development opportunities and exchange of good practice that the organisation offers you.
In 2020 we want to bring SARIMA closer to its members and stakeholders. As board members, we continue to look for opportunities to stabilize the operational core of the organisation. Identifying funding streams to ensure SARIMA’s financial sustainability remains a priority, and something that we will continue to pursue in order to ensure that SARIMA can thrive long into the future.
It remains SARIMA’s goal to be a source of identity, inspiration, networking, support, development – and fun! – for professionals like yourselves. We wish to strengthen SARIMA’s network and activities across the countries in Southern Africa, and we are taking active steps to promote the participation of all the SADC country professionals in the organisation.
Enjoy reading our news, and please engage with us on your needs for support and development in the field of research as well as innovation and technology transfer management.
I would like to wish you a peaceful period of working-from-home (something that we as research and innovation management professionals are thankfully largely able to do), and that you may find yourselves well supported and equipped to deal with the circumstances that we currently find ourselves in.