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Café Scientifique

RC&I has embarked on a new outreach initiative by introducing the Café Scientifique concept - a first for Cape Town. The aim is to stimulate discussions around science, engineering and innovation and encourage broader interaction with society.

We have launched a local branch of this international grassroots movement, described as:

  • "…… a place where, along with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context."

These events, sometimes dubbed as “science for the sociable”, bring people together in a friendly, informal “pub” atmosphere in an after-work, happy-hour context. It starts with an informal talk (not a seminar!) in laymen’s terms on a key UCT invention given by the inventors themselves, who will highlight key aspects of their research and the resulting commercial opportunities. They will then encourage question and answer exchanges and spark debate and general discussion around the technology – it’s a chance for everyone to express an opinion, expert or otherwise.

This is an opportunity to showcase and publicise some of the major inventions in the University’s portfolio and empower non-scientists to more comfortably and accurately assess science and technology prospects with the idea of attracting angel and other investment.

Previous events were hosted in the UCT Irma Stern Museum and Art Gallery. To integrate into a Café styled atmosphere, future events will be held in the Café/Tea area, Department of Chemical Engineering (Upper Campus, UCT). Click here for directions.

Café Scientifique events from 2015 onwards have been made possible through the generous sponsorship of Spoor & Fisher.

Tentative Event Schedule for 2018/2019

Tuesday 18 September 2018 Professor Andy Buffler 
Tuesday 16 October 2018 Professor Sharon Prince
Tuesday 13 November 2018 Dr Llewellyn Padayachy
Tuesday 29 January 2019  Assoc Professor Jeff Murugan
Tuesday 26 February 2019 Dr Melissa Densmore

To RSVP or Sign Up for our mailing list to receive a confirmed invitation, please contact Candice Jacobs.  The number of attendees is limited, so please ensure that you RSVP and receive confirmation.

Event Schedule


Tue 20 Sep 2017 Mr Richard Perez

Design-Led Thinking: A new way of collaborative problem solving in our complex world

Invite. Article.

Tue 6 June 2017 Prof Karen Sliwa-Hahnle  

Peripartum Cardiomyopathy: From bench to bedside to population studies

Invite. Article.

Tues 6 Sept 2017 Prof Kobus van Zyl

Hunting for the Leak: An Agony in 8 Drips

Invite. Photos. Video. Article.

Tues 19 April 2016 Prof Russ Taylor

The Square Kilometre Array: Big Telescope, Big Science, Big Data

Invite. Photos. Article.

Tues 6 Oct 2015 Dr Sharon Blair

The World’s Platinum Nation: Will fuel cells add value to our local platinum industry?

Invite. Photos. Video. Article. Read More.


Tues 21 Jul 2015 Prof Jill Farrant

Resurrection plants: Future food, future health?

Invite. Movie. Photos Article.


Tues 14 April 2015 Prof Peter Zilla

Minding the Gap: Heart Surgery for the Many

Invite. Movie. Photos. Video. Article.

Tues 05 Aug 2014 A/Prof Arnaud Malan

Computational Fluid Dynamics: From Medicine to Mining to Spacecraft
Invite. Movie. Photos. Video. Article.

Tues 03 Jun 2014 Prof Alison Lewis

Modern Alchemy: Making Value Out Of Waste Water

Invite. Read more. Article. Photos. Video.


Tues 25 Feb 2014 Prof Keertan Dheda

New Tactics against an Old Enemy: Novel Approaches to TB Diagnosis.
Invite. Read morePhotos. Video.


Tues 21 Jan 2014 Dr George Vicatos Metal to Bone: From Small Engineering Task to Enormous Medical Achievement.
Invite. Read more. Article.  Photos. Interview. Video.
Tues 10 Sep 2013 Prof Sue Harrison

Magnificent MicroAlgae: fuel, fine chemicals & feeds.
Invite. Read more. Photos. Video.

Tues 16 July 2013 Prof Ed Rybicki

Vaccine Rapid Response: Is South Africa Ready? 
InviteRead more. Article. Photos. Video

Numbers will be limited. To register as an attendee please email

The first four Café Scientifique events were made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).