The Vitality and Effectiveness of TWAS ‘Young Scientists’ Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Moderator: Prof Robin Crewe, Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship

Panelist: Dr Archana Bhaw-Luximon, University of Mauritius

Panelist: Prof Collet Dandara, University of Cape Town

Panelist: Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim, CAPRISA

Panelist: Prof Moctar Toure, TWAS


Young scientist opportunities, such as those provided by TWAS are frequently reported as being life- and career-changing. As young scientists participate in these programmes they get the chance to reflect and think beyond the daily practice of science to its applications in solving some of the biggest global problems of our time. International programmes for the developing countries and Science & Technology Lagging Countries (STLCs)  in the form of scholarships, fellowships and exchange programmes provide young scientists with significant opportunities in foreign countries, where they can network and collaborate with experienced & peer-group researchers from different cultural backgrounds. These opportunities expand the young scientists’ personal horizons and their knowledge base. For example, being affiliated to TWAS and senior & young academies of science creates a platform for mentorship and knowledge generation for young scientists, and fosters relations with world renowned scientists. This open up doors for other young scientists to flourish and minimises the geographical barriers for research and project collaborations.

Presented by Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and The World Academy of Sciences Regional Office for sub-Saharan Africa (TWAS-ROSSA), this roundtable session will assess the vitality and impact young scientists’ opportunities using TWAS programmes for the developed countries as a case study, the panellists will share the benefit of participation and affiliation in these programmes to themselves as individual scientists and to the science community. Awareness creation of the availability of such opportunities for young people will be the core. The expected outcome of this roundtable discussion is to bring to the attention of science organisations, government departments, policy makers, scientists, media and civil society, the importance of mobilising young scientists within the science system at national, regional and global levels.  The discussion will highlight the impact of young scientist programmes and will suggest ways in which regional bodies together with individual scientists could assist to increase the uptake of these opportunities from the least developing and lagging countries as a way of bridging the geographic barriers for maximum reach in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof Robin Crewe, InterAcademy Partnership (IAP)

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”.


Professor Archana Bhaw-Luximon, University of Mauritius

Professor Archana Bhaw-Luximonhas a PhD in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Mauritius (UoM, 2001). She joined the Department of Chemistry, UoM in 2003 and is currently Associate Professor. She is the current Head, Department of Chemistry (2014-2016). She was appointed as a TWAS Young Affiliate in 2008. Her area of research are: advanced polymers; biomaterials; nanomedicine and tissue engineering. Her research is based at the Centre for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research (CBBR).


Prof Collet Dandara, University of Cape Town & TWAS Young Affiliates Network

Prof Collet Dandara was born in Zimbabwe where I completed BSc, BSc (Hon) and PhD degrees, from the University of Zimbabwe. He had a brief stint as a mathematics and science high school teacher after completing BSc (Hon). His PhD research work was carried out in the laboratory of Emeritus Professor Leif Bertilsson at Huddinge Hospital in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Karolinska Institute. Professor Leif Bertilsson is one of the “god-fathers” of pharmacogenetics. After being awarded his PhD, he joined the University of Cape Town as a postdoctoral research fellow.  Dandara then joined the University of Witwatersrand as a lecturer, a position that lasted for 16 months before returning to the Cape, to now join the Division of Human Genetics as a Senior Lecturer.



Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim,  CAPRISA

PhD, Associate Scientific Director of CAPRISA, is an infectious diseases epidemiologist. She holds Professorships in Clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, USA and in Public Health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She is also a visiting scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University. She is currently chair of the South African National AIDS Council Prevention Technical Task Team, a member of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and Scientific Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS. She is an advisory board member of the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS), Scientific Advisory Board member of the US President’s Emergency Pan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Chair of the PEPFAR Adolescent Girls and Young Women Expert Working Group, a member of the HIV Centre Strategic Advisory Committee and the NIH OAR Microbicides Planning Group. She is currently Vice-President (Southern African Region) of the African Academy of Sciences. She is affiliated to several organisations: Member, UNAIDS Science Expert Panel Committee; Foreign Associate Member, US National Academy of Medicine; Fellow, African Academy of Science; Fellow, The Royal Society of South Africa; TWAS Fellow; Member, and ASSAf. She is also a recipients of the following honours & awards: TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize, SAMRC Scientific Merit Award, Sciencefor- Society Gold Medal ASSAf Award, Order of Mapungubwe: Bronze, and African Union Kwame Nkrumah Science Award.


Professor Moctar Toure, The World Academy of Sciencs (Africa Region)

Professor Moctar Toure is the Vice President of TWAS (Africa), Vice Chair of the Senegalese National Academy of Science, chair of the board of Africa Harvest and member of AGRA’s Soil Health TAC. He was educated at the University of Orleans, Ecole Nationale Sup. Agron. de Rennes and University of Rennes, France (PhD 1973). From 1989 to 2006, he was successively Exec. Secretary, SPAAR; Lead specialist, @ the World Bank; and Program Leader, @ the GEF. Prior to the World Bank he was: Advisor, Minister of Agriculture, Rabat, Morocco; soil scientist and director, Rice Research Ctr.; scientific director and DG of Inst. Senegalais de Recherches Agricoles; and Director of Agricultural Research, Min. of Sciences and Technology, Senegal. He is a former member of several boards of trustees related to the CGIAR system: AfricaRice, IPGRI, ICRAF, ICIPE, and IBSRAM. He is a founding member of the African Academy of Sciences and the Senegalese Natl. Academy of Science.



By | 2017-12-01T09:38:06+00:00 October 6th, 2017|