Grand challenges ask for great solutions

Helen Mendes

Helen Mendes
Freelance journalist, SciDev.Net


What can science do to help in solving the world’s big and complex challenges? And, more importantly, what are those challenges?

With these questions in mind, the InterAcademy Panel (IAP) will promote the conference Grand Challenges and Integrated Innovations: Science for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development, which will be hosted by the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and will take place on 24-26 February.

IAP is a Global Network of 105 Science Academies, launched in 1993. The IAP Conference is held every three years, hosted by one of IAP’s member academies, and is followed by the network’s general assembly.

The opening ceremony will be on Sunday, 24th. The organisers expect to have a keynote speech given by Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, whose presence is yet to be confirmed. Brazil’s minister of Science and Technology, Marco Antonio Raupp, is also a keynote speaker.

The Conference aims to discuss the role of science in tackling global challenges, and to connect science academies from all over the world with Grand Challenge opportunities. To achieve that, the conference will have four general sessions, where participants will discuss topics related to sustainable development. Besides the general sessions, participants will have the opportunity to debate and interact with scientists in the “Challenge Labs” – six sessions with group discussions of the speakers’ ideas. Topics include science literacy, food security, safe water and sanitation and climate change.

According to Peter A. Singer, chief executive officer of Grand Challenges Canada and co-chair of the conference, the goals of the conference are “to identify and discuss a listing of grand challenges through the challenge labs … and possibly develop an online marketplace for grand challenges opportunities”.

Journalist Marina Lemle and I will be blogging and writing news stories from the conference. Stay tuned.

Presentation of the IAP Conference produced by the Brazilian Academy of Sciences:

This blog post is part of our coverage of 2013 Global Network of Science Academies (IAP) conference which takes place 24-26 February 2013, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To read further news and analysis please visit our website.

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