The African Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE) will prepare PhD- and MSc-level scientists and engineers in sub-Saharan Africa through university-based research and training networks in selected disciplines. Its primary emphases will be on training new faculty to teach in African universities and on upgrading current faculty. With its focus on human capacity development, RISE complements ongoing efforts of Carnegie Corporation and other foundations to strengthen Africa’s universities by meeting the needs of individual scholars. Carnegie Corporation will support the initial three-year phase of the Initiative with a $3.3 million grant. Press release here.
The African Academy of Sciences and SIG convened a two-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, in June 2007, to plan RISE. Sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the workshop brought together scientists, educators, administrators, government officials, and development experts from Africa and abroad to help shape the initiative. Workshop goals were several-fold: to confirm demand for a regional initiative; to determine priority scientific and/or problem-focused areas; to coordinate with related and complementary initiatives; and to explore avenues of support from foundations, development banks, and potential partner organizations. Workshop summary here.
When Africa's heads of state met in January for the 8th African Union Summit, science, technology and sustainable development were the main topics of discussion. There is also increasing interest among developed countries to support scientific and technological capacity building in low-income countries, especially in Africa. The challenge lies in turning this heartfelt interest into sustainable initiatives and real progress. Every African nation must educate and support a new generation of problem-solving scientists. This means reforming educational systems and building world-class research universities and centers of excellence. Lasting success will ultimately be determined not only by aid from abroad, but by strong and enduring partnerships in science and technology between Africa and the rest of the world. Article here.
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet attended the opening of the Chilean Center for Scientific Studies, located in Valdivia, Chile. At the ceremony, President Bachelet offered congratulations to the individuals responsible for making the center a reality. CECS focuses on three major research areas: biophysics and molecular physics, theoretical physics, and glaciology and climate change.
For the poorest developing countries, 'outsourcing' the development and assessment of technology and innovation has been economically catastrophic. Policies designed to alleviate poverty and to create wealth have also suffered as a result. Fortunately, developing countries are now changing course and seeking to build their own scientific and technological capabilities. Drawing on their own growing expertise, an increasing number of 'scientifically proficient' developing countries are forging scientific links with developed countries that represent true collaborations among equal parties. Joint ventures are beginning to be more about business than benevolence. Universities across the developing world must play a central role in technology transfer. They provide valuable settings for educating and training scientists, economic development specialists and political officials; they produce unbiased information; and they offer forums for international exchange. Article here.
The Chilean MSI has selected five new Nuclei for 2007 and renewed three existing Nuclei in the latest round of competition. The selections were advised by a Program Committee of international scientists. Results were announced in Santiago today by Minister of Planning and Cooperation Clarissa Hardy, chair of the Chilean MSI Board. Of special note is that three accomplished Chilean investigators returned home from the United States to work in these Nuclei. List of Nuclei here.
Implementation of the Millennium Science Initiative (MSI) Program, since its inception seven years ago, has been successful and exemplary. The achievements of the Millennium Science Institutes and Nuclei can be gauged from the significant number of young scientists they have trained and from their success in attaining and promoting excellence in scientific research, in fields as varied as biology, biotechnology, physics, glaciology, computer science, engineering, ecology, mathematics, geophysics, and chemistry, with links to both the private and public sectors and education, thereby making a substantial contribution to key areas of national development. Their work has also helped trigger a number of well-planned cooperative and inter-active initiatives within the national scientific community. Article here.