The congress will gather global leaders, experts, industry practitioners, and innovators in the field of sustainability.

The Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2022 (SRI2022) will be hosted by the Future Africa Institute at the University of Pretoria (UP) from 20 - 24 June, in partnership with Future Earth and the Belmont Forum. The congress is a transdisciplinary exchange, centred around advocacy, scholarship, innovation, and collaboration. It serves as a catalyst for action that promotes transformation towards global sustainability, and will gather global leaders, experts, industry practitioners, and innovators in the field of sustainability. The congress will be held in hybrid mode and is being coordinated by UP's own Professor Stephanie Burton: a Professor of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and at Future Africa. Prof Burton is the immediate previous Vice-Principal for Research and Postgraduate Education at UP, having served in the role from 2011 to 2020.

Future Africa is well positioned to host SRI2022 as it is a trans-African institute, and its work is driven by the principles of Sustainability and Equity. The projects and collaborations of Future Africa are also congruent with the objectives of Future Earth and The Belmont Forum, the partnering conveners of SRI2022. Future Earth's mission is to accelerate transformations to global sustainability through research and innovation. Similarly, the Belmont Forum is an international partnership that mobilises funding of environmental change research and accelerates its delivery to remove critical barriers to sustainability. Therefore, attendees have an opportunity to take part in a dynamic forum of sustainability pioneers, who are making broad strokes towards solutionist thinking.

A key attraction to the SRI2022 is the opportunity to network and form meaningful collaborations. The SRI2021 held in Brisbane, Australia, brought together over 2000 participants from over 100 countries. Future Africa has always served as a hub for the networks it seeks to develop. As the hosts of the 2022 event, the call to collaborate coincides with its mandate which Prof Burton describes as, "bringing together networks of people who are interested in the challenges which Africa faces and interested in working cooperatively to address those challenges."

Emerging researchers in attendance stand to benefit greatly from the congress's focus on sustainability scholarship and transformation at the intersection of research and innovation. Prof Burton herself has a strong focus in research ethics and integrity and is recognised for her leadership and expertise in research development and postgraduate training. "My real interest is in helping young scientists develop their careers, complete their qualifications and develop themselves as scientists," she says. Prof Burton's expertise has led to her involvement in organisations and collaborations such as Universities South Africa where she is collaborating in coordinating a nationally integrated programme to develop emerging career researchers, as well as developing systems that support the national landscape through mentoring programmes and capacity development. Additionally, she recently participated in compiling a national report, together with a small team, on doctoral degrees in the country, on behalf of the Council for Higher Education.

Attendees of SRI2022 can look forward to learning from leading experts in the field, engaging in transformative global conversations with a diverse group of stakeholders, connecting with some of the world's largest science funders, gaining new transdisciplinary skills and learning ways to translate their research into action.

Through events such as these, the Future Africa Institute continues to drive its interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research agenda through innovative methods and networks that stretch beyond geo-political boundaries.

To learn more about the SRI2022 visit: https://sri2022.org/

Author: Puno Selesho https://www.up.ac.za/news/post_3064171-future-africa-to-host-upcoming-global-sustainability-conference

Professor Stephanie Burton, Professor of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and at the Future Africa Institute: "SRI2022 brings together networks of people who are interested in the challenges which Africa faces and interested in working cooperatively to address those challenges.”