Amid high spirits and a sense of accomplishment, RISE, the Regional Initiative in Science and Education in Africa, held the capstone meeting of its inaugural 8-year phase on April 19-22 in Nairobi. Some 80 doctoral and master’s degree recipients and students, joined by academic leaders, gathered to share experiences, learn from one another, and imagine their futures as the architects of Africa’s development.
Since 2008, RISE has been supporting PhD- and MSc-level scientists and engineers in sub-Saharan Africa through five competitively selected, university-based research and teaching networks in locally relevant science and engineering disciplines. With funding from Carnegie Corporation of New York and a secretariat based at the Science Initiative Group (SIG) at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, RISE has been instrumental in nurturing a new generation of African scientists. To date, the RISE networks have trained a total of 180 emerging scientists hailing from 17 African countries.
RISE Graduate Dr. Nelson Odume
The April meeting was a celebration and showcase; a networking opportunity where inter-university partnerships were reinforced and research collaborations established; and a forum to plan the next phase of RISE. Dr. Nelson Odume, Director of the Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality at Rhodes University in South Africa, earned both his master’s degree and his doctorate at Rhodes through RISE’s water resources network. “Being part of RISE is a rare privilege to engage with some of the best scientific minds on the continent and to undertake groundbreaking research projects. Thanks to my positive experience as a part of the RISE community, I wake up each day looking forward to contributing to the socioeconomic development of Africa by doing research that meets the needs of the continent.”