Under the IAP-Carnegie project Harnessing SEM to address Africa's challenges, IAP teamed up with Future Africa at the University of Pretoria and KnowInnovation to deliver a science-advice-for-policy workshop for 35 early career researchers in Africa. Hailing from 14 different countries on the continent, the researchers included African Science Leadership Programme fellows, members of the Global Young Academy and National Young Academies, African Academy of Sciences Affiliates, and RISE graduates. The International Science Council's Regional Office for Africa and INGSA-Africa also participated.
Through interactive and experiential sessions, as well as interventions by practitioners, the participants learned about the broad landscape of science policy advice, communication skills for effective engagement with policymakers and how to translate knowledge for policy impact.
Feedback was encouragingly positive from the participants, who expressed the hope that the workshop would be just the first in a series of opportunities to learn about and engage with science policy. With Future Africa and other Partners, IAP is exploring ways to make that a reality.
At the end of the workshop, participants reflected on their experience. In their words, the workshop triggered participants to reflect, visualize and apply their mind … was very informative plus very practical plus tools given … changed the way I think of policy briefs ... linked the training to real life experiences making the concepts stick. They called the workshop insightful … engaging … inspiring, and commented on the fabulous presenters. Participants wrote I am now an informed scientist … Thank you for bringing the mentors, that was life changing for me … The course fits well in other Future Africa initiatives … You brought me closer to the SDGs ... I learnt a lot from the workshop. Thank you.