Marnell Kirsten (left) and Marina Joubert at SASUF 2024 on the Campus of Lund University

18 May 2024

By Prof Marina Joubert

Stellenbosch University Vice-chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers accompanied a delegation of 12 researchers from Stellenbosch who participated in the 2024 edition of the Sweden South Africa University Forum (SASUF), a series of events held across Sweden from 13 to 17 May. SASUF is an annual exchange programme designed to initiate, catalyse and sustain collaboration on research and innovation between South African and Swedish researchers.

Professor Marina Joubert represented CREST and the field of science communication. With Marnell Kirsten, a former CREST student currently a PhD student at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden, Prof Joubert presented a workshop on how public engagement with science can be leveraged to foster research collaboration. The workshop explored tools such as science storytelling, responsive dialogues and data visualisation to break down barriers and engage diverse publics, policymakers and even fellow scientists.

The Stellenbosch delegation was invited to meet with Lund University Vice-Chancellor Professor Erik Renström and senior research managers at that university. Professor Renström emphasised the importance of effective public communication of science and indicated that Lund University would be keen to collaborate with Stellenbosch partners on this topic.

During the official welcome event of SASUF 20204, Stig Svensson, the deputy mayor of the City of Lund, called on scientists to make sure that their research is seen and heard outside the academic domain. This is vital, he said, to ensure that people will not be misled by charlatans who have their agendas when communicating about the multiple acute issues faced by societies that are rooted in science.

The next edition of SASUF (2025) will be held in South Africa. Visit to find out more.