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Meet South Africa’s top young scientists at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair
Tuesday, 03 October 2017: From 4 to 6 October, Boksburg will be buzzing with excitement as young scientists from across the country descend on the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre to compete in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair.
 
Over 600 of South Africa’s top future engineers, chemists, physicists, mathematicians and innovators will be competing at the country’s largest school-level science fair for a chance to take home prizes worth more than R4 million. 
 
These bright young minds have earned a spot at the Eskom Expo ISF after beating out the competition at a series of regional finals and they will be poised to showcase their innovative projects to a panel of judges and industry experts in the hope of bagging the top prize - a scholarship to study in Germany thanks to Siemens, as well as six full bursaries to study anywhere in South Africa.
 

Like Sinenhlanhla Dlamini, the 2016 winner, who is currently studying in Germany, these future problem solvers are keen to take their scientific hobbies to the next level thanks to the Eskom Expo.
 
 
For 37 years now, the Eskom Expo has been cultivating a passion for the sciences in young people, giving participants a fun and exciting way to explore science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI).
 
“The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists creates a platform for future scientists and engineers across South Africa, to establish a base for their future careers. The competition is a great launch-pad for motivated youngsters keen to explore these fields and change not only their circumstances but their environments for the better. It is an ideal catalyst for unearthing the country’s brightest young minds in mathematics and science and also opens their eyes to the various options and many exciting career opportunities available in the extensive scientific world,” says Executive Director of the Eskom Expo, Parthy Chetty.
 
The Eskom Expo has always sought to foster an interest in the sciences and through strategic support enable promising young scientists to pursue their interest at a tertiary level, thereby creating a pipeline of young talent to serve across a range of industries. From laptops right through to university scholarships the Eskom Expo is truly enabling young people to pursue their dreams. 
 
Engineering and digital technology giant, Siemens is one of the major sponsors and has been involved with the Eskom Expo for two years. The company has committed laptops and science kits as well as three full local bursaries plus an incredible opportunity for one young scientists to go through a three and a half year mechatronics or electronics apprenticeship at the Siemens Technical Academy in Berlin.
 
This is a unique opportunity promoting both international and multicultural exposure for young African innovators. This year Siemens is also funding the travel expenses of learners from other African countries like Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to share their innovations at this year’s Eskom Expo.
 
Siemens CEO for Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall’Omo says: “Skills development and investing in our youth is imperative to grow innovation in Africa. As a global company with a strong local presence, we are proud to contribute to the development of Africa’s next generation. Innovation and positive societal transformation is in our corporate DNA.”
 
This model of investing in and supporting budding young scientists has been incredibly successful with many of SA’s top scientists including Mark Shuttleworth and Siyabulela Xuza South Africa’s very own rocket scientist, having participated in the Eskom Expo.
 
Many of the learners who participate are inspired by challenges they see in their communities and set out to find effective and innovative solutions to these problems. From finding clever ways to tackle the drought that is gripping large parts of the country, developing renewable and cleaner energy sources right through to ways to tackle plastic pollution, these young people have their fingers on the pulse of the country’s most pressing problems.
 
Using the basic scientific method of proposing a hypothesis and testing this hypothesis they gain valuable exposure that lays a solid foundation to explore a career in the sciences, while remaining practically orientated to find solutions to South Africa’s, and the globe’s biggest challenges.
 
Eskom has been the headline sponsor for several years as the state-owned enterprise sees the value in developing a passion for STEMI.
 
Thava Govender, Eskom Group Executive: Transmission and Acting Group Executive Sustainability & Risk says the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is a demonstration of Eskom’s commitment to helping develop skilled science and engineering professionals, not only in South Africa but the rest of the continent.
 
“Creating skills in these fields and bridging the developmental gap between nations is a worldwide challenge and the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is one way of attempting to do that. Each region needs to start at home and address this challenge in its own backyard and we are doing that while we also support other countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Namibia. The competition is making a significant contribution to sustainable socio-economic development in Africa by empowering its children,” Govender says.
 
The public are invited to attend the Eskom Expo and see first-hand the impressive projects that these young South Africans have developed.
 
The Eskom Expo is open to the public on 5 October from 1:30 – 5:30 at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre.
 
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