Search By Topic


(UPDATED) News for Seedbeds of Transformation conference: Call for sessions and travel grant applications

The Seedbeds of Transformation conference has announced a related call for SDG Labs. See that call here.

The organisers of the "Seedbeeds of Transformation: The Role of Science with Society and the SDGs in Africa" conference have announced two calls for interested participants. They are seeking proposals for conference sessions and applications for travel grants for African innovators.

This conference runs from 9 to 11 May 2018 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It is organised by Future Earth, the South African Government Department of Science and Technology, the National Research Foundation of South Africa and START.

To learn more about this conference, visit the event website.

For information on the upcoming calls, see the announcements below:

Call for session proposals (deadline 9 February)

Travel grants for African innovators (deadline 9 February)

Call for session proposals

The organisers of the upcoming Seedbeds of Transformation conference have announced a call for proposals for sessions. This event will provide a collaborative space for people from diverse perspectives to explore transformations and the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.

The deadline for submissions is February 9, 2018.

We are seeking proposals for sessions that encourage active participation and open dialogue among attendees. Sessions should seek to draw on diverse perspectives from research, policy and practice and focus on African priorities and actions. The conference will accommodate approximately 300 participants. The session proposals are expected to address one or more of the conference themes:

We are seeking ideas for immersive and highly participatory sessions that advance key concepts and ideas under the three themes, and that produce strategic and actionable recommendations at various decision making levels to take forward from this conference. Because of the conference structure, we are looking for session concepts that rely on dialogue and engagement much more than on conventional presentation formats. Proposals that originate from African-based applicants or that have a strong link to local, national and regional African contexts are preferred, though other proposals will be considered. 

Selection criteria for successful session proposals (arranged by priority):

  • Extent to which the session topic connects to at least one of the conference themes.
  • [25 points]
  • Extent to which the session has a focus on and relevance to Africa, and the extent to which individuals from Africa are involved in developing the session. [25 points]
  • Extent to which the session has an innovative, interactive and engaging format. [20 points]
  • Extent to which the session has clearly defined goals and is focused on producing tangible and relevant outcomes.  [15 points]
  • Extent to which the session organizers demonstrate broad and relevant representation. (We will give preference to sessions with gender balance, contribution from early career professionals and that include diverse disciplines and sectors of society.) [15 points]

To apply, please fill out the online form here.

When applying, please indicate:

What topic or topics will the session address?

What conference theme or themes does the session correspond to?

What specific approaches and methods will be used to explore the topics and themes?

How will the session feed into high-level findings and recommendations produced by the conference? Do you envision that your session could impact discourse and action on transformations and the SDGs beyond the conference, and how?

How long will the session be (options are 0.5, 1, or 1.5 hours)?

Who are the participants? Please indicate the need for travel support for key participants (note that funding is limited, so partial support is encouraged).

  • Session Lead
  • Session Co-Lead
  • Other key participants
  • Audience (who should attend)

What are specific session needs (room size, table needs, audio-visual, flip charts, etc.)?

What are anticipated funding needs for travel support? Please specify funding needs for Session Lead, Co-lead and key participants, and whether it is full or partial support. The amount of support is contingent upon availability of funds.

For more information, contact Craig Starger at

Travel grant for African innovators

Future Earth will provide a limited number of travel grants for individuals based in Africa to participate in the “Seedbeds of Transformation: the Role of Science with Society and the SDGs in Africa” conference. The grants will enable individuals working on scientific, technological and social innovations in support of sustainability to share their ideas and products at the conference. The conference will be designed around the concept of a "marketplace," allowing participants to share their ideas in an environment that encourages open dialogue. Grantees are invited to present their work, expand their networks and get engaged with Future Earth and partners during and beyond the event.

The deadline for applications is 9 February 2018.

Who can apply?

We are looking for creative individuals who are experimenting with new ways of merging ideas and action, blending art and science, advancing innovative research approaches, visualising data, creating links between research and society, conceptualizing challenges and more – with the goal of advancing sustainability solutions tailored for diverse African contexts. Individuals applying for this grant can come from research organisations, government, the private sector, NGOs, media, and the broader civil society based in Africa. These innovations may take the form of new technologies, strategies, concepts and ideas that address both social and environmental change, as well as innovative research approaches.

Future Earth’s offer

Future Earth will support a limited number of African innovators through a competitive, merit-based selection process. The innovators grant will either partially or fully cover round-trip economy airfare or ground transportation, conference registration fees, accommodations, meals, incidentals and visa costs. Applicants can apply for either full or partial funding, depending on their local or other support. Based on the applicant’s merit and need, Future Earth will offer either full or partial funding.

Required commitment of the grant recipients

Successful travel grant applicants agree to:

  1. Be full participants in the conference "marketplace," sharing their projects and ideas through presentations and dialogue.
  2. Share their ideas with a broader audience by working with Future Earth's communications team to publish one or more blog posts or other digital products.
  3. Work with conference partners to showcase their work on their websites.

Application requirements

Successful applicants must be employed by or enrolled in a programme, university, organisation, company or other body whose work is relevant to advancing research and action for sustainability. We encourage applicants to join the Seedbeds of Transformation community forum on the Open Network, which will foster dialogue before and after the conference. A current CV in English or French should be submitted along with the application.

To apply, please fill out the online form here.

Applicants must answer the following questions:

  1. Describe the partners and stakeholders with whom you work on a regular basis and what problem(s) you are collectively trying to address.
  2. Describe your innovation. How are you innovating within your work environment? What or whom are you targeting? At what level is it occurring (local, national, regional)? What is changing or could potentially change as a result of your work? What are ways that your work can grow and be sustained?
  3. What are the main products, outputs, processes, concepts, etc., that you have completed or are working to complete related to your innovation? Please provide links to websites, publications, etc., if available.
  4. Why do you want to share your innovation at the Seedbeds of Transformations conference? How would you envision sharing it in an open and participatory manner?
  5. How specifically will you benefit from attending this conference? Will attending this conference positively impact your work environment? If so, please explain.
  6. Do you need travel support, and if so why? Is there any portion of your travel costs that could be covered by your organisation?

For more information, contact Jon Padgham at