In recent years, scientific research and scholarly contributions in Africa have grown rapidly in terms of activity, production and preparing the ground for future generations of scholars and intellectual leaders. STIAS shares the commitment to contribute to the shaping of Africa’s future research landscape and, while challenges exist, we believe the continent is poised for a next phase of scientific discovery and breakthroughs with local and global relevance.
Africa’s scholarly networks, associations and academies play a pivotal role in this process of strengthening the academic institutions and the individuals who ultimately produce new knowledge. While each network organisation has its unique focus, all share the overarching goal of taking Africa’s research to the next level.
In order to enhance the implementation of this shared vision and responsibility, STIAS has invited the heads and academic coordinators of various organisations representing many parts of the continent to a colloquium on Research in Africa: Optimising synergies. We believe it can only be to the benefit of all involved to share experiences and insights, to discuss in depth the challenges and opportunities we are facing, and to optimise synergies in a spirit of cooperation and mutual support. STIAS is happy to provide a “neutral” platform for such a conversation and facilitate in whatever way necessary to generate greater momentum and to achieve wider impact of the work of African scholars and researchers.
The immediate context is the current revision by several international donors of their Africa support and partnership programmes. By discussing shared priorities for research and intellectual leadership development in Africa, a stronger message and positioning vis-à-vis such revised strategies can be articulated and implemented.
The organisations represented at the colloquium no doubt have participated in conversations of this nature over many years. STIAS does not lay claim to any specific expertise or agenda but believes – in line with its ethos – that we can achieve a lot more by sharing our collective wisdom and strengths. We each have our own specific goals and unique role to play, but we should be open and indeed be surprised to discover how much we have in common and how much we can support each other.
After an opening keynote address on the evening of 21 October, the colloquium will be organised around several panel sessions on 22 October where a number of broad themes in relation to the landscape of research in Africa will be put on the table. Panellists will be invited to make brief remarks, drawing on the work of their respective organisations, but not aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of their programmes. The following panel themes are proposed:
- Science, interdisciplinary research and societal impact
- Intra-African research cooperation
- Gender and research in Africa
- Early and mid-career scholars
A fifth panel on 23 October will consider the position of institutes for advanced study in advancing these causes, including a discussion on such institutes on the African continent (e.g. STIAS and MIASA). A final session for general discussion and conclusions will end by lunch.
For more information, contact Ms Nel-Mari Loock at 021 808 2652 or [email protected]