Young African Scientists in Europe

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 F. Piuzzi    31-01-2019     Leggi in PDF

A remarkable participant at YASE: Amna Abdalla Mohammed co-President of the Community of Scientists of the Next Einstein Forum. Credits: ©Afriscitech/Raymond Gomez.

The YASE conference (Young African Scientists in Europe) was held on 6th July 2018 in Toulouse just before the European Science Open Forum 2018 (ESOF). It was organized by the on-line media Afriscitech. The purpose was to provide the new generation of researchers with information, testimonials and hints about the opportunities to carry on their high-level scientific career in Africa, together with some funding programs for African scientists in their early career.

African Research Ministers, together with African leading researchers, business representatives in Africa, academic leaders, and foundation representatives presented talks during the different panels. The goal was also to strengthen African researchers' cooperation with Europe. Importantly, non-academic career opportunities either within new enterprises (data management) or within start-ups (health equipment for diagnostics) were discussed. The more classical career opportunities offered by big African enterprises were also presented. The Agropolis Foundation introduced the programme “One Planet Fellowship” that will sustain 600 researchers in Climate Science in Africa and Europe.

The discussions following the panels were very intense and some topics such as the importance of using the country language (English, French or Portuguese) for better teaching science were highlighted. A panel about making "experimental science in Africa" highlighted the challenges to overcome, the first one being to provide instruments by developing a local way to do it. The Seeding Labs structure may provide an alternative solution by donating equipments.

Information about African networks for research was also provided, such as Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa). Last but not least, young representatives of the community of scientists of the Next Einstein Forum, together with ambassadors participated in the conference.

Following this first YASE conference, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) will host the YAS_NA 2019 (Young African Scientists in North America / Jeunes chercheurs Africains en Amérique du Nord) conference. Its objective is to provide African master's, doctoral and post-doctoral students expatriated to North America with information and choice regarding the pursuit of their scientific careers in Africa. Since the next ESOF will be held in Trieste in 2020, it will be interesting to have another edition of the YASE conference associated to it.