SAAO - South African Astronomical Observatory

SCBP: Mission and Objectives

Core Missions

Target Audience

High Level Objectives



Education in Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Technology

Schools, Universities, Teacher training institutions

School Support (Teacher, Learner, SGB)

Workshops; tours; extra classes; school bursaries/incentives; teacher training

Effective teaching and learning

Materials and Resource Development

Wide distribution of high quality curriculum related resources for teachers, learners and teacher trainers

Widespread access to high-quality curriculum related resources

Promotion of Science, Engineering and Technology Careers

Selected career expos; university student events; talks by scientists/role models; career magazines

Greater interest in and awareness of astronomy and related careers

Training and Development

Post- and under-graduate scholarships; mentorship programmes; development of associated skills e.g. managerial

High quality trained professionals ready for employment in SET industries

Science Communication and Awareness


“Popular Science” resources

popular science magazines, booklets, pamphlets

Interest in science generated amongst large target groups

Science communication capacity building

Training for scientists in communication skills; scientific training for journalists (science writing)

More scientists available for media interactions;

Greater accuracy of scientific content in media

Tour programmes

Facility tours of carefully monitored quality; development of information handouts; development of the visitor centre

Better informed public;

Constantly improving visitor centre

Large scale promotion of SET

Public lectures; open nights; star parties; “mall science”; participation in expos and festivals; family activities at the SAAO; media presence (TV/Radio)

Interest and excitement generated amongst the general public regarding SET

Socio-Economic Development

Public, especially rural and disadvantaged communities

Utilisation of scientific and technological expertise to address socio-economic challenges

Community meetings with professionals to discuss challenges and possible solutions; new business development; ICT outreach and skills transfer

Self-sustaining and prosperous community through innovative solutions and job creation.

Technological advisory and support to local and national government

Efficiency of ICT (informal audit); technical advice on infrastructure development; strategic planning support

Greater efficiency in the delivery of government services

Utilisation of Maths, Science, Engineering and Technology as a common ground to encourage peace and unity.

Bring together previously segregated communities through star parties; use MSET as a foundation to encourage greater communication between previously segregated schools

Greater integration in previously segregated areas

Technology Transfer and Innovation

High technology institutions, Industry

Sharing of technological expertise amongst other hi-tech institutions

Technology-specific conferences/meetings; specialist advisory committees; ad hoc collaborations

Greater collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst hi-tech institutions resulting in more efficient scientific R&D

Identify and promulgate niche areas of expertise and potential spin-offs of in-house technology

“Brainstorming” sessions to seek benefits outside of core functions; ongoing discussions through technical forums

Industry and public benefit from spin-off technologies;

Patents/Commercialisation resulting in spin-off companies


Strategic Priorities

Inspire a culture of thinking and a desire to learn.
Support disadvantaged people and address societal imbalances.
Encourage collaboration both nationally and internationally.
Support and enhance rather than reinvent programmes.
Ensure adequate monitoring, evaluation and quality assurance.

Strategic Priorities