This paper argues that the acquisition of science and technology is a critical determinant of the development status of countries. Those countries that have excelled in science and technology are the most developed, while those with a weak scientific and technological base are the least developed. It is imperative that a series of concerted actions be adopted and sustained to permanently institute a scientific and technological culture in Africa. This may involve developing a coherent science policy, stepping up funding for scientific education and research, setting up viable networks for scientific information exchange and mutual support, integrating science into development strategies and more. Above all, African decision makers must give science and technology the highest priority in their strategies since development is not possible without scientific know-how. It is only through the judicious use of science and technology that African countries can cope with the stiff competition brought about by the globalization process which is rapidly integrating the national economies and cultures into a continuum where only the fittest are likely to survive. Article here.
Formulas and recommendations for advancing science throughout the world will have little effect if they are not accompanied by missionary zeal--and by means to exercise such convictions. For that reason, I propose establishing an International Corps for Global Science to allow science missionaries, young and old, to help build a global culture of science by working in those parts of the world that underserved by science now. How would this work? Obviously it would require funds from public or private sectors. It would need some administrative structure. It would need eager participants. They could range from newly-minted science graduates, looking for an experience akin to that offered by the U.S. Peace Corps, to more senior scientists, who would enjoy working on new problems in an unusual setting, with the prospect of contributing to a better world. Finally, it would be essential to link this new initiative with other on-going efforts to nurture science in the developing world. A zeal for science will not suffice. Our missionaries will need a reasonable context in which to work, one that includes trained nationals, appropriate equipment, and a friendly political environment. If there is a simple message here, it is this: We have a moral and political imperative to use the scientific knowledge produced in the past century to promote better health in neglected parts of the world during the next century. The power and beauty of science can help us pursue that imperative and improve the lives of many. But, to succeed, we must harness our enthusiasm for science, mobilize the talented young and old, and establish its culture in poor as well as rich nations. Full speech here.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, science departments in many African universities, including the University of Lagos in Nigeria, Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, Accra in Ghana, and Khartoum in Sudan, were among the finest in the developing world. Once heralded as beacons of progress on the continent, these departments now suffer from a host of problems that have made it all but impossible for them to meet even minimal responsibilities. The difficulties encountered by Africa's science departments have impacts that extend well beyond the departments themselves. Many of the continent's most serious problems, including malnutrition, disease, and environmental degradation, cannot be met without the presence of a critical mass of African scientists working on issues of direct concern to the continent itself. Science alone cannot save Africa, but Africa without science cannot be saved. So what can be done to revive African science, and who is responsible for leading such an effort? Article here.
The 3 MSI Institutes and 5 MSI Nuclei in Chile released their first annual reports this month, each of them demonstrating excellent progress in research, new program design, outreach and other MSI objectives. The Millennium Institute for Fundamental and Applied Biology, hosted by three institutions in Santiago, reports "decisive progress" in each of the four main areas of emphasis. The Center for Scientific Studies (CECS), founded in Santiago in 1984, moved south to Valdivia in 2000 partly to support scientific and cultural decentralization in the country. Now an MSI Institute, CECS supports research in two main areas: Theoretical Physics and Biophysics and Molecular Physiology. The Millennium Institute for Advanced Studies in Cell Biology and Biotechnology (CBB), in Santiago, has set up an integrated program of interdisciplinary approaches to biology, with an emphasis on the neurosciences. Announcement here.
Funded in its initial phase by the World Bank and the US-based Packard Foundation, the Millennium Science Initiative seeks to support a small number of outstanding research institutes in selected countries around the world, where scientists can do research in their home countries and also train the next generation of scientific leaders. Article here.