Harnessing STEM to address Africa’s challenges: an academies’ perspective

Moderator:
Dr Tracey Elliott
Panellists:
Dr Connie Nshemereirwe
Dr Teresa Stoepler
Ms Jackie Olang-Kado
Prof Himla Soodyall

Dr Connie Nshemereirwe

Dr. Connie Nshemereirwe is an independent science and policy facilitator, and acts at the science-policy interface as a trainer, writer and speaker. She is the current Co-Chair of the Global Young Academy, the Secretary General of the Uganda National Young Academy, and sits on the Steering Committee of the Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP) based at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She also works with the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) based in Nairobi, Kenya, delivering the bi-annual Pan-African Advanced Research Design Programme that is aimed at increasing the capacity of African Academics to carry out policy-engaged research.

Her undergraduate studies were in Civil Engineering, but in later years she made the shift to Education by completing a master’s degree in the design of education and training systems at the University of Twente in 2004, later followed by a PhD in Educational Measurement at the same University in 2014.

She is also active in Civil Society through the Ugandan Think Tank, Kigo Thinkers, and speaks at and attends various public engagement activities on the subject of adequacy and relevance of formal education in Uganda.

Dr Teresa Stoepler

Teresa Stoepler, Ph.D., is executive director of the InterAcademy Partnership for Research (IAP-R), a multinational organization of science academies that provides advice to international organizations and national governments. She is also a senior program officer with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences where she leads the Pakistan-U.S. Science & Technology (S&T) Cooperation Program and contributes to other international scientific programs. As a member of the Global Young Academy, Teresa co-leads an initiative to mentor and induct at-risk scholars into the membership of the organization.

Previously, she was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at U.S. Geological Survey where she helped the U.S. government build a standing capacity for strategic science following environmental disasters. In this role, Teresa led the formation of academic partnerships to expedite the formation of “crisis science” teams. She holds a B.S. in Biology and Botany from Humboldt State University and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the George Washington University. Trained as an ecologist, Teresa’s previous research focused on plant-insect interactions, including pollination, parasitism, and disease ecology in both natural and agricultural systems.

Dr Tracey Elliott

Tracey Elliott is Project Director for two InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) projects (2016-2018) 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.

Ms Jackie Olang-Kado

Jackie Olang-Kado is the Executive Director of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC). NASAC, whose secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya, is a consortium of twenty-four science academies in Africa, with membership drawn from all spheres of science. Jackie is a Masters of Arts graduate in Project Planning and Management (MA-PPM) from the University of Nairobi.  She also holds a Bachelor of Education degree (BEd.) in Mathematics and Commerce, from the same university. Her specialization is project management for policy in science and she has over sixteen years’ experience working with scientists in Africa. She is an astute proponent for home-grown solutions that will enable Africa realize its potential. Besides her role in NASAC, she also provides input to a number of African initiatives and also serves on the several national and international Committees.

Prof Himla Soodyall

Himla Soodyall is the Secretary General of the Academy of Science of South Africa Council. She is involved in assisting the academy craft the Science Engagement strategy and in the young scientist liaison activities including the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) Activities. In 2005, she was appointed the sub-Saharan African principal investigator on the Genographic Project − a five-year, worldwide project undertaken by the National Geographic Society to map humanity’s migratory history. She is renowned for her groundbreaking genetic research into the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. Her studies have identified some of the oldest DNA found in living people today, adding weight to the theory that modern humans evolved in the area now known as Southern Africa. Professor Soodyall is currently a Principal Medical Scientist and Associate Professor at the National Health Laboratory Service and the University of Witwatersrand.

Building on its sessions at SFSA 2016 and 2017, the InterAcademy Partnership (the global network of 138 science, engineering and medical academies) will report on the findings of its three-year project “Harnessing Science, Engineering and Medicine (SEM) to address Africa’s challenges”; introduce emerging plans for follow-on initiatives on supporting policy implementation, science leadership capacity and diaspora engagement; and seek input on the development of each of these.
The Harnessing SEM project has three core objectives: to mobilise African SEM leaders to develop and implement new approaches to addressing shared challenges; to strengthen merit-based academies in Africa; and to build stronger, sustained linkages between African and global experts and the policymakers and donor organizations working to address Africa’s challenges. The practical focus of the project is national implementation of the AU’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) and regional implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As this project enters its final phase, panellists will review findings and achievements, and explore opportunities for follow-on work, drawing on ideas and insights from SFSA participants.
Discussion will focus on efforts to mobilise senior and young academies on the continent to better support the implementation of STISA 2024 and the SDGs; to develop science leadership across the continent, building on the African Science Leadership Programme developed by the University of Pretoria and Global Young Academy (GYA) and focusing on science for policy training and mentorship (a pilot is presently being designed); and to learn from the African Academies Diaspora Fellows Program, also being piloted this year.

2018-11-13T08:41:04+00:00