The Royal Society of South Africa is the Republic’s premier multi-disciplinary scientific organisation having received its Charter from Edward VII in 1908. The Society owes its existence to the efforts of members of the South African Philosophical Society (founded in Cape Town in 1877) who collaborated with scientists in the Transvaal, Natal and the Orange River Colony after the Anglo-Boer War to establish a truly South African, broad-based scientific society. For a century, the Society has consistently played the leading role in being the public face of South African science.

Ever since its inception the Society has maintained its intellectual integrity, independence and interdisciplinary perspective. Without discrimination, it has fostered a national culture of science excellence through funding, education and public outreach. It has rewarded eminent scientists with Fellowships and medals and facilitated a spirit of camaraderie among academics who are generous with their knowledge. It has encouraged specialists to recognise excellence in fields other than their own.

It is the aim of the Royal Society of South Africa to foster and advance pure and applied science by:

  • facilitating the exchange and development of scientific ideas and knowledge, especially in the interdisciplinary context
  • recognising and rewarding excellence in research and scholarship
  • promoting international contacts and collaboration
  • providing independent expert advice on significant issues which require scientific analysis
  • initiating debate on matters of public importance which affect science or arise from its application
  • fostering science education
  • encouraging the study of the history of science in South Africa
  • holding relevant scientific meetings
  • publishing scientifically valuable work
  • maintaining a library of scientific value
  • arranging lectures and symposia on appropriate topics
  • bestowing medals and awards