Mobilising African Academies to Support Africa’s Commitments to Global and Regional Policy Frameworks

Dr Tracey Elliot, InterAcademy PartnershipProf Robin Crewe, InterAcademy Partnership

Dr Chux Daniels, Sussex University

Dr Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura, African Academy of Sciences

Prof Sameh Soror, Helwan University


Building on its session at last year’s SFSA, the InterAcademy Partnership (the global network of over 130 science, engineering and medical academies) will provide an update on its project “Harnessing SEM to address Africa’s challenges”.   To recap, this project has three core objectives: (1) to mobilise African SEM leaders to develop and implement new approaches to addressing shared challenges; (2) to strengthen merit-based academies in Africa as effective civil society organizations and respected sources of evidence-based advice to their societies; and (3) to build stronger, sustained linkages/partnerships between African and global expertise in STI and the policymakers and donor organizations working to address Africa’s challenges.

The practical focus of the project is the national implementation of the African Union’s (AU) Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) underpinning Agenda 2063, and the regional implementation of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A survey of African senior and young academies, together with evidence from senior policy advisers, has provided a better understanding of the barriers to engagement at the science-policy interface, whether national, regional or global.  Two recurrent themes will be discussed at SFSA 2017: (i) building links with AU/NEPAD and (ii) science leadership.

The project has created some space for the academies to engage with the AU and NEPAD to explore how African scientists and academicians can better support the region’s policy commitments.   Opportunities include the monitoring and evaluation of STISA 2024; challenging research agendas and wider policymaking (shaping the narratives); scientific leadership and governance; international engagement and diplomacy.  These require (i) scientists having a better understanding of AU / NEPAD infrastructure and process, to identify where there are natural conduits or entry points for them to engage; and (ii) AU/NEPAD officials having a better understanding of the science landscape in Africa and the expertise available to them.

Science leadership is an important recurring theme and the project includes mapping and an assessment of African science leadership programmes to take a longer-term view of skills demands across the continent. It is also exploring how to better mobilise science leadership within the African diaspora, building on existing initiatives. These efforts will help reinforce the importance of regional networks of academies and other players on the continent in building and sharing skillsets, infrastructure and competence.

 

Dr Tracey Elliott, InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), United Kingdom

Tracey Elliott is Project Director for two InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) projects on global and regional policymaking, exploring the role of national science academies in particular. She also works with other regional and global networks of science academies on a freelance basis, notably advising the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and supporting occasional project work for the Global Young Academy (GYA). Tracey was formerly the Head of International at the Royal Society (UK), responsible for developing and implementing its international strategy, with special focus on internationalising policy work and international relations. She has co-authored Royal Society reports on science diplomacy and global science cooperation. Prior to this, she worked for the UK Government, heading up its Global S&T Partnerships and advising both the UK Science Minister and Government Chief Scientific Adviser on wide-ranging policies. Tracey has also worked for the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Natural History Museum, London.Tracey has a PhD in Biological Anthropology and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

 

Prof Robin Crewe, InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), South Africa

Professor Robin Crewe was born in Johannesburg and studied at the Natal University in South Africa before proceeding to the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, U.S.A. for his Ph.D. He completed his Ph.D. in Entomology in 1971 and was awarded the degree with distinction. From 1986-1996 he was the Director of the Communication Biology Research Group of the University of the Witwatersrand. He has been a Vice-principal of the  university of Pretoria since 2003 and retired from this position in June 2013. He was the past President of ASSAf and was the Chair of the National Research Foundation Evaluation Appeals Committee and was Chair of the Board for a term at NRF. He is a member of the Social Insects Research Group (SIRG) in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria. He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, a Fellow of TWAS, a founding member of the ASSAf, a fellow of the African Academy of Science, an ASSAf Gold Medalist for meritorious service and a Gold Medallist of the Zoological Society of South Africa. The French Government granted him the Order National du Mérite with the rank of Chevalier in 2006.
Prof. Robin Crewe is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship and a member of the Social Insects Research Group in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria. He has worked for many years on chemical communication and social organization in a variety of social insects. His current research is on honey bee social organization and population dynamics with a view to ensuring that this biological resource can be used sustainably into the future for the supply of bee products and to provide pollination services. He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, a fellow of the African Academy of Science, and a fellow of the World Academy of Science. He received the Gold Medal of the Academy of Science of South Africa in 2013. He is a past president of the Academy of Science of South Africa and of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) and currently serves on the councils of NASAC and the World Academy of Science (TWAS). He is co-chairing the IAP study “Harnessing Science, Engineering and Medicine to address Africa’s challenges”.

 

Dr Chux Daniels, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, UK

Dr Chux Daniels is a Research Fellow in Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, UK. Chux is a member of African Union’s (AU’s) Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) Monitoring and Evaluation Committee. STISA is a core component of AU’s Agenda 2063, and the regional implementation of the SDGs.

Chux’s on-going research include: (1) a political economy analysis of Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This initiative, funded by IDRC, DFID and the South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), aims to strengthen the capacities of science granting councils in SSA to support research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to the Africa’s economic and social development; (2) the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC). This research examines innovation and the future of innovation policy – its foundation, formulation, implementation, and governance. Alongside SPRU, other research organisations involved are from Colombia, Finland, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden.

In Africa, Chux is currently working with STI researchers, policymakers, and governments of countries that include Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa. Chux holds a PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies, an MBA, MSc and BSc qualifications.

 

Dr Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura, African Academy of Sciences (AAS), Nigeria/Kenya

Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura has over fifteen years of experience in International Development, Strategic Governance, Policy Analysis and Natural Resources Management through appointments with African Academy of Sciences(AAS), AGRA, the World Bank, LANDESA, UNREDD, UNDP-GEF, International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) and Makerere University. Currently, Evelyn is a Strategy and Policy Manager at the African Academy of Sciences where provides strategic leadership in the development and delivery of AAS and AESA’s scientific agenda for Africa. Evelyn holds a Joint PhD in Public Policy from Indiana University, USA and a Masters in Environmental Management and Development from the Australian National University. Evelyn’s PhD Dissertation focused on Institutional changes and their impacts on resource governance and was supervised by the first female Nobel laurate in Economics, the late Prof. Elinor Ostrom. Her research interests include global development policy issues especially those related to Science Technology and Innovation, climate change, land tenure and property rights, agriculture and natural resources governance.Evelyn has led several programs and projects focusing on Strategic Governance, Land, Gender, Youth, Agriculture, Climate Change and Science Technology and Innovation, primarily in Africa. She has won several other awards including the Elinor Ostrom-Johan Skytte Fellowship, the International Foundation for Science award for field research, the Compton Foundation Peace & Security Fellowship and the Australian Sponsored Training Scholarship. In 2016, Evelyn was a finalist in the Agricultural sector in the CEO Global’s Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards. She is the current Vice President of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) and Chairperson of the External Advisory Board, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI).

 

Prof Sameh Soror,Helwan University, Egypt

Sameh Soror is head of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department at the Faculty of Pharmacy Helwan University and Director of the Centre for Scientific Excellence “Helwan Structural Biology Research (HSBR)”. He was graduated from Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University with the grade Excellent (honor) in 1997 and he received his Master degree in genetics from Kaiserslautern University, Germany in 2003 followed by a PhD degree in genetic engineering in 2007. He worked as postdoctoral researcher at Free University Brussels from 2008 to 2009 and 2011-2012 and at Flames Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) in Belgium from 2009-2011.From 2013 to 2015 he was elected as Co-Chair of the GYA, to which he was admitted in 2011.Sameh Soror has a profound expertise in participation and managing research grants. He is a member of the National Committee of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the National Committee of crystallography in the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research (ASRT) and he served as board member of the Global Council of the IAP Science Education Program (SEP) from 2013-2015. He is cofounder of the Egyptian young academy of sciences (EYAS) and member of its advisory board. He was lionized by world economic form in 2012 during the meeting of new champions in Tianjin, China. He was awarded the state prize for advanced technological sciences, which supports medical sciences 2013.He was awarded the Helwan university prize in basic science for 2013/2014.