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Networking Early Career Scientists


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Written by Meesbah Jiwaji, a National Research Foundation Research Career Advancement Fellow at Rhodes University in South Africa, one of the 11 participants from the inaugural Sentinel Meeting sponsored by GC Africa to attend the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting in the US.

Networking Early Career Scientists

There are no words to express how valuable the experience of attending the annual Grand Challenges Annual Meeting has been for me.

The Strengthening African R &D: A dialogue with African Diaspora in the Unites States was well planned, though- provoking and inspiring. The other exciting scientific tracks made it difficult to decide where to be and our Zambia group often ended up splitting and then filling each other in on what happened in the different sessions. Every session I attended was amazing. However, the final session for the Strengthening African R&D track was the highlight of the conference for me. One speaker in a roundtable discussion said that, “In this field, you can leave your ego and arrogance at the door. You walk in humbly. In this game, there are no winners. It is not a question of whether people will die, the question is how many people will die.”

This brought home the reality of the research, the impact, on human lives and on alleviating human suffering. I find myself reflecting on these words and expect to do so regularly going forward. Research and the translation of research, hand in hand, going forward.

I usually leave conferences feeling energised and excited. This is the first time that I feel not only both of these things, but more so, I feel humbled. Thank you to The AAS for sponsoring my attendance.