The InterAcademy Council (IAC), a multinational organisation of science academies, has today (10 November 2014) issued a review of the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI). The review concludes that the initiative has been a significant success—both in terms of meeting its stated objectives and in its wider positive impacts on the trajectory of the African science academies that it supported.
The review also says that a possible successor to ASADI should be shaped and delivered within Africa. The review sees a clear need for more active continental-scale representation for African science. This might involve enhancing the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), the coordinating body for the African science academies.
ASADI is a partnership of the U.S. National Academies and several science academies in Africa aimed at strengthening the capacity of the African academies to inform policymaking through evidence-based science advice. The 10-year program involved efforts to build the scale and expertise of academy secretariats and infrastructure, and has also supported the Annual Meeting of African Science Academies (AMASA). The IAC review was issued during the AMASA 10 meeting in Kampala, Uganda.
The review lays out recommendations for the African science academies to help them build on the success of ASADI. The review recommends among other things:
- African academies of science and their stakeholders should work together to ensure that needed capacity building efforts continue.
- African academies of science should strengthen and expand the capacity and capability that they have built during this programme, by developing, implementing and sharing good practice.
- African academies of science should be more proactive policy advocates at regional, continental and global levels.
- African academies of science should make every effort to broaden their financial support base to provide longer-term, more sustained financial security.
- NASAC should work to strengthen the institutions and activities that enable collaboration among African science academies.
Turner T. Isoun, Chair of the review panel and former Minister of Science and Technology for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said:
“The IAC’s review of ASADI has revealed both the strengths of the programme and the work that remains to be done, identifying opportunities and threats for the future of science academies in Africa. It is offered as not just a “box-ticking” end of programme review, but as a constructive way forward for academies in any country, highlighting lessons learned and priorities for improving future work in this area.”
“Africa is not alone in facing science and technology capacity challenges. This review shows that working in partnership has benefits for all partners, and that the more deeply and widely knowledge can be shared, the greater its potential benefit. These lessons apply globally.”
ASADI was launched in 2004 and will end in early 2015. It received funding of $20 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and smaller sums from other partners.
To request a copy of the review or an interview, please contact:
Senior Press Officer
The Royal Society, London
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Director of Media Relations
U.S. National Academy of Sciences
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The IAC report Enhancing the Capacity of African Science Academies: The Final Evaluation of ASADI, will be found on the IAC website: