Representatives from the ACGT associate network, SABINA (Southern African Biochemistry and Informatics for Natural Products) recently gave progress feedback at the second annual The Carnegie-IAS Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE) Meeting in Nairobi Kenya from 28 - 29 September.
The five RISE networks were all represented at the meeting where issues relating to students and mentoring, communication, institutional buy-in and equipment were among the topics of discussion. In attendance on behalf of SABINA were Jane Morris of the ACGT, Martha Kandawa-Schulz from the University of Namibia, as well as John Saka and Frank Ngonda of the University of Malawi. Article here and here.
Following on a 10-year more than $100 million investment to strengthen higher education in Africa, Carnegie Corporation of New York's President, Vartan Gregorian, announced today that the foundation expects to make an initial investment of approximately $30 million over the next three years in a new strategy that will strengthen sub-Saharan Africa's next generation of educators and university leaders.
Grants will focus on three countries, South Africa, Ghana and Uganda, while a series of complementary discipline-based regional networks will offer competitive training fellowships to draw academics and researchers throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Press release here.
USA Embassy in Botswana Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Scott Hamilton officially launched UB Node of African Materials Science and Engineering Network (AMSEN) on October 13, 2009 at the Old UB Staff Lounge. The other member universities are University of Namibia, University of Nairobi, Witwatersrand University, South Africa and Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria.
The objectives of AMSEN are to build research and training (R&T) capacity in materials science and engineering, and to train manpower for staff positions in the participating universities. Article here.
Prof Lesley Cornish and Dr Tanya Capecchi attended the second Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE) from 28 – 29 September 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya.
The meeting was most useful from interactions with the sponsors of the program, as well as discussions with other members of the African materials Science and Engineering Network, AMSEN. Prof. L.A. Cornish also took this opportunity to meet with the students at the University of Nairobi who she is co-supervising. Newsletter here.
A year ago, the Science Initiative Group reported on the establishment of the Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE), which provides Ph.D. and M.S. training in science and engineering at networks of universities in sub-Saharan Africa. Read SIG annual report here.
The government of Uganda in the year 2007 received funding support from the World Bank for implementation of the Uganda Millennium Science Initiative (MSI) Project.
The project is being implemented by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), which is the national institution responsible for development and promotion of S&T policies and strategies and their integration in national development processes.
The UNCST will therefore, in October 2009, conduct the Millennium Science Initiative Project Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Surveys 2009, focusing on: ‘Researchers in Science, Technology and Engineering Institutions’, ‘Secondary School Students’ Attitudes towards Science and Technology’, and ‘Client Attitudes towards UNCST and UIRI Service Delivery in MSI project execution’. The M&E data will guide implementation of the activities associated with these outcomes and provide benchmarks for the measurement of progression of their execution and their overall impact. Article here.
CSIR Biosciences in March welcomed two doctoral students from Tanzania and Malawi as part of a human capital development initiative to boost the science, engineering and technology base on the continent and indirectly assist African countries to progress towards a knowledge-based economy.
The initiative emanates from the CSIR's affiliation to the Southern African Network for Biosciences (SANBio) and SABINA network, a body of six southern African research institutions seeking to exploit biodiversity in the region and increase capacity in natural products research with the view of increasing food security, public health and value-added exports...
[Dr. Vinesh] Maharaj highlighted the benefits that come with greater collaboration among African scientists: "We are adding value not only to South Africa but to transfer technology to other parts of the SADC region. It is also a boost for South African research as we are afforded access within a legal framework, to biodiversity in Tanzania and Malawi - it's very difficult to get legal access to biodiversity in another country - we also receive some recognition in terms of intellectual property rights," he said. Article here.
Recruitment of students has begun in various African universities under a new initiative known as the Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE). Fifty-one students have been admitted in universities in five networks. Of the recruited students, thirty-five will pursue their doctorate degree, fifteen will pursue their masters degrees while one will be a post-doctoral fellow. Press release here.
Sadly, many of the people best placed to address Africa's urgent problems — biologists, chemists, physicians, engineers — go abroad in search of better opportunities. They leave behind under-staffed, under-resourced universities and an upcoming generation of would-be scientists with too few mentors. Donors have been working for decades to mitigate the problem through programmes to support African universities and individual researchers, and there has been some progress. But unless African governments provide adequate resources to train scientists and engineers in their own universities, improvement will be unacceptably slow and Africa will continue to lose some of its most capable citizens. Article here.
The University of Botswana, together with a group of four other universities in sub-Saharan Africa, has been awarded US$800,000 collectively as funding for the African Materials Science and Engineering Network (AMSEN) project. AMSEN members include the University of Botswana, University of Namibia, Federal University of Technology, Akure, University of Nairobi and the University of Witwatersrand. These institutions will use the funds to assist each other in research and training in order to enhance manpower and facilities development in material science and engineering. The University of Botswana prides itself on participating in this project since it will contribute to the growth of the Faculty of Science at the university. Article here.