Independent Media's executive chairman Dr Iqbal Surve.

Cape Town - Young African female scientists needed to cultivate their ideas and ambition and use it to develop their hometowns and regions.

This was according to Independent Media executive chairman, Dr Iqbal Surve, who addressed more than 40 alumni and fellows at a forum hosted by the Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future at a forum at the V&A Waterfront on Wednesday.

The Schlumberger Foundation, an independent non-profit entity that supports science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, has set up the Faculty for the Future programme to create a community of women leaders in the STEM fields who will support the socio-economic development of their home countries by tackling local challenges.

Surve referenced last year’s discovery of a relative of humankind – Homo Naledi – at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Gauteng as part of the growing body of science discovery and how media had a critical role to play in promoting the sciences.

He said the collaboration between the scientific community and the media led to worldwide recognition of arguably one of the greatest archaeological breakthroughs in South Africa through the Homo Naledi story.

“This (the coverage of the Homo Naledi) is a great example of where something would have been, maybe, an article on page seven in the science and technology section, became the front page…what was amazing about this was the response from the communities and in particular from the schools. The schools were asking for more and more copies of the newspapers to be able to teach it in their classrooms.”

The Schlumberger programme was launched 12 years ago and has hosted meetings in the United Kingdom, the United States, France and the United Arab Emirates. The meetings are hosted once or twice a year in close association with prominent universities where Schlumberger grantees are based.

The programme looks to identify women around the world in countries where the gender gap is widest and to give them a chance to study science at a leading international university.

Schlumberger Foundation president, Roseline Chapel, said: “The foundation has been involved in many programmes, most of them around education. We also promote science in schools and universities around the world. This program was started in 2004 and is focused on increasing the number of scientists worldwide, in particular, women scientists.”

African News Agency