World’s Academies Launch New Project on Harnessing Science, Technology, and Innovation to Address Africa’s Challenges

The InterAcademy Partnership[1] - the global network of national science, medical and engineering academies - today launched a new three-year project on scientific input to African policymaking. Delivered in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS)[2] with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York[3], the project will explore how academies can strengthen the contributions of science, engineering, and medicine to African development.

At its inaugural meeting in Nairobi today, the project working group - with a collective experience of multilateral cooperation in science, medicine, engineering, research, and policy - discussed some of the key challenges that scientists and science advisers face in African policy-making systems. Over the course of the project, the working group will explore the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for evidence-informed policy advice in Africa, and address barriers that academies face in making a more active contribution. 

Professor Daya Reddy, Co-Chair of IAP-Research, President of the Academy of Science in South Africa (ASSAf) and President-Elect of the International Council for Science (ICSU), overseeing the project, said “As Africa’s research output grows, it is increasingly important that it is used to help improve the lives of Africans throughout the continent. This project will explore some of the challenges for scientific input to policy, in the context of the regional implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.”

Professor Robin Crewe, Co-Chair of the IAP working group and Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria, added, “This IAP project will build on previous capacity building programs for the African academies, with a strong focus on policy implementation. I anticipate that it will help inform and mobilize not only the African academies but wider scientific and policymaking communities across Africa.”

Professor Oyewale Tomori, Co-Chair of the IAP working group and President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, concluded “This project can help foster dialogue and cooperation between providers of African scientific advice, including the growing number of national young academies. My hope for the legacy of this project is one of stronger, sustained partnerships between those of us keen to make science, engineering, and medicine work for African society.”

More about IAP

The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) is a new umbrella organization formed by the merging of three established inter-academy networks: the InterAcademy Council, IAP—The Global Network of Science Academies, and the InterAcademy Medical Panel. IAP currently has 130 member academies, which together reach governments that represent 95 percent of the world’s population.

InterAcademy Partnership

Working Group on Harnessing Science, Engineering, and Medicine to Address Africa’s Challenges

Professor Robin Crewe (co-chair)                                             
Director, Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship     
University of Pretoria                                                                     
South Africa

Professor Oyewale Tomori (co-chair)
Nigerian Academy of Science

Professor C. Richard A. Catlow
Department of Chemistry
University College London
United Kingdom

Professor Guéladio Cissé
Sanitary Engineering & Environmental Epidemiology
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli
Vice President
Mohammed V University

Professor Peter Fritz
Scientific Director (emeritus)
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ

Professor T.J. Higgins
CSIRO Agriculture
Queensland University of Technology

Professor Mahouton Norbert Hounkonnou
International Chair in Mathematical Physics and Applications (ICMPA-UNESCO Chair)
University of Abomey-Calavi

Professor Cato T. Laurencin
University Professor and Van Dusen Distinguished Professor
Director, Institute for Regenerative Engineering
University of Connecticut

Professor Odile Macchi
Director of Research (emerita)
CNRS - The National Center for Scientific Research

Professor Keto Elitabu Mshigeni
Research Professor
Hubert Kairuki Memorial University

Professor Eric O. Odada
College of Physical and Biological Sciences
University of Nairobi

Professor Himla Soodyall
Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research Laboratory, Division of Human Genetics
National Health Laboratory Service and the University of Witwatersrand
South Africa

Professor Sameh Soror
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Helwan University