AAS-AESA announces US$2 million investment to boost Africa’s scientific capacity
The African Academy of Sciences and the NEPAD Agency’s Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) and its partners today announced a US$2 million programme, which will train postdoctoral researchers to support globally competitive research in African universities and contribute to the creation of knowledge-based economies on the continent.
The investment, enabled by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, will build on the foundation of the Science Initiative Group (SIG)’s Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE), which has for a decade prepared PhD- and masters-level scientists and engineers in sub-Saharan Africa through competitively selected, university-based research and teaching networks. The new AESA-RISE Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme responds to an urgent need to increase the number of researchers in Africa.
Africa has only 169 researchers per million inhabitants, compared to 428 in Chile and 4,107 in the UK, resulting in it contributing only 2.6% of global scientific output. Africa’s few high-quality postdoctoral training programmes are insufficient to meet the demand; compounding the problem, there is limited funding for postdoctoral training, and the faculty who would otherwise conduct postdoctoral training and research are unavailable due to heavy teaching loads driven by high student enrolment rates in African universities. A postdoctoral fellowship is a necessary part of the training that enables a scientist to develop into a fully successful research and academic leader and a critical addition to the educational ecosystem.
The new AESA-RISE Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme, is being implemented in partnership with seven African, US and European higher education institutions, to:
“The AESA-RISE Postdoctoral programme will make an important contribution to improving the continent’s scientific capacity by developing world class researchers and supporting them to work in environments that will enable them to produce knowledge to help Africa to meet its developmental needs,” said AAS’ Interim Executive Director and AESA Director Dr Tom Kariuki.
The first phase will run for three years but AESA and partners are leveraging for more funding to extend the programme and to maximise impact.
Since its creation in 2015, AESA has been dedicated to the development of Africa’s research leadership. Today’s investment builds on this work and leverages partnerships to ensure its success.