9 November 2018 – As the world celebrates the World Science Day for Peace and Development on Saturday, 10 November 2018, The African Academy of Sciences (The AAS) and partners will celebrate by awarding seven inaugural early career African researchers with an AESA-RISE postdoctoral fellowship. AESA-RISE is the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa - Regional Initiative in Science and Education. A three-year postdoctoral fellowship that supports the training of postdoctoral researchers in Africa. With an initial US$2 million funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), the AESA-RISE fellowship seeks to deliver the next generation of Africa’s research leaders studying critical issues impacting sustainable development in Africa.
The AESA-RISE researchers were selected through a rigorous and competitive selection process after responding to a closed-call application process where 87 alumni of the Science Initiative Group (SIG)’s RISE programme were invited to apply for the fellowships. RISE 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 seven researchers were drawn from Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda with some fellows based in institutions outside their home countries, such as the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and the University of eSwatini.
The trainees will receive funding to tackle antimicrobial resistance, discover drugs for cancer and skin diseases, contribute knowledge to conserve woodlands and develop low cost alloys used for military and civic applications, aircraft, bicycles and medical devices. They will benefit from three to six months research visits and mentorship at institutions outside their African host institution. These visits will include to institutions such as the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, the Univeristy of Liverpool, Cambridge-Africa Programme at the University of Cambridge, the Africa Oxford Initiative, the African Research Universities Alliance, the International Science Programme at Uppsala University in Sweden, and the University of Basel in Switzerland in the framework of the Swiss – African Research Cooperation (SARECO).
“Through the AESA-RISE programme, The AAS is responding to an urgent need to increase the number of researchers in Africa and to produce knowledge and products that impact lives and livelihoods on the continent,” said Dr Judy Omumbo, The AAS Postdoctoral Programme Manager.
Gaolathe Tsheboeng, a Botswana-born Lecturer at the University of eSwatini said: “I am pleased to be a fellow of AESA-RISE, which is making an important contribution to increasing the population of African scientists and to support early career scientists like myself to advance our careers and research, so we can contribute home grown solutions to the challenges facing our continent.”