African nations are emerging from decades of turmoil and brain drain that have weakened their institutions of higher education in general and science and technology in particular. These nations now recognize the urgent need for stronger science and technology (S&T) capacity if they are to take their places among modern nations and harness the power of knowledge to reduce disease, enhance food security and stimulate their economies. Members of a scientific task force associated with the Millennium Science Initiative (MSI) first met more than three years ago with the intent to design a new program to strengthen African S&T. The goals of this initiative are to nurture Africa's long-neglected human resources, provide support to keep Africa's finest young scientists at home, and rebuild the effectiveness of the continent's universities and laboratories. Article here.
The World Bank hosted a Science & Technology Stocktaking Meeting in Washington, DC in late November. Presenters included Bruce Alberts, President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; RA Mashelkar, Director General of CSIR, New Delhi; Judi Wangalwa Wakhungu, Executive Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies, Nairobi; and Won-Young Lee, Technology Management Graduate Program, Seoul National University.
In November 2004, a team of SIG board and staff members visited Kazakhstan at the invitation of the Kazakh government and the World Bank to help develop recommendations for the implementation of centers of excellence.
SIG, the Vietnam Education Foundation and the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology have signed a statement of cooperation to formulate a plan for Centers of Excellence in science and technology in Vietnam. According to the plan, VEF and SIG would provide technical and strategic support to MOST as it investigates and builds an appropriate model to create Centers of Excellence in Vietnam. Press release here.
A Program Committee has been appointed to implement the two-year pilot phase of the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI). The committee, representing five regions of sub-Saharan Africa, was appointed by SIG. AMMSI envisions two linked strategies: (1) to strengthen teaching in traditional disciplines, raise the low numbers of undergraduate mathematics majors, and begin to build sound graduate programs in mathematics; (2) to emphasize emerging areas of contact between mathematics and the other sciences of direct relevance to society. Article here.
The Institute for Advanced Study has received a $150,000 Project Initiation Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant was requested on behalf of the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI) and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) to build mathematics capacity at the postgraduate and faculty levels. Article here.
With the aim of analyzing the state of innovation in our country, scientists and academics from Mexico, the United States and Canada convened a meeting on May 24 and 25 with business and government leaders at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, under the auspices of the National Council on Science and Technology and the Science Initiative Group, with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Convened by José Sarukhán, Tom Hexner and Salvador Malo (of the Institute of Ecology of UNAM, the Science Initiative Group and CENEVAL, respectively), the meeting had one central objective: to explore the relations that exist in Mexico among academia, government and business. Two of its principal goals were to establish points of contact among the cultures of the three countries and to promote innovation in Mexico. Article here.
At the invitation of Yoweri K. Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, SIG Board member J. Tomas Hexner participated in the Presidential Investment Council in Kampala on September 30, 2004. The Council is mandated to advise the Government on ways to stimulate and sustain economic growth in Uganda.
SIG is pleased to announce the appointment of Mohamed H.A. Hassan to its Board. Dr. Hassan's appointment, made at the July 2004 meeting of the SIG Board, is in recognition of the central role he has played during the early years of the MSI, especially in initiating its programs in Africa. Dr. Hassan was primarily responsible for identifying and organizing the Africa MSI Task Force, representing the leadership of the scientific and academic communities of the sub-Saharan region. Announcement here.
U.S. and Vietnamese officials announced scholarships yesterday for 71 Vietnamese students to study in the United States next year as part of a program to improve the quality of scientific education and research in Vietnam. "These are 71 tremendous ambassadors to strengthen the relationship between Vietnam and the United States," said Rep. George Miller, D-Concord, who played a key role in shepherding the program through the U. S. Congress. Miller was in Hanoi this week to meet the new scholars and confer with Vietnamese officials and scientists about establishing "centers of excellence" to boost teaching and research. Article here.
The Vietnam Education Foundation held a media briefing today at the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel on several current projects in which it is involved. Mr. Chung W. Kim, President of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study and Member of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Education Foundation, will discuss the results of a major seminar supported by VEF during which top Vietnamese, U.S. and international science figures discussed a possible Millennium Science Initiative for Vietnam. Article here.
This study explores the barriers and opportunities facing women in the South working in the field of science and technology. It aims to identify the factors that prevent women from realizing their full potential in their chosen field as well as how women's ability to take advantage of the opportunities a science career can offer can be enhanced. Based on this analysis it puts forward a set of suggestions that can be taken up by policy makers and funders of science to strengthen women's participation in science and technology. Report here.