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Tolu Oni is a public health scientist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and cochair of the South African Young Academy of Science. At last year’s World Science Forum in Budapest, Hungary, she was joined by 50 selected individuals from around the world to provide a young scientists’ perspective on tackling global challenges.
What started out as a brainstorming session on innovative solutions for addressing the Sustainable Development Goals culminated in an initiative to create sustainable jobs for the future. The bold central idea here is that scientists — and especially young scientists — should be the ones designing the jobs of the future.
The question of how to attract more women to science subjects at universities was another hot topic. When asked what she, as a woman, brings to her research field of urban epidemiology, Oni answers succinctly: “I think I bring 50 per cent of the world’s population with me.”
She adds: “Sometimes, we forget as scientists that we are part of society… If we’re talking about society, we have to be representative of it.”