Dr. Musa Mulongo
In order to understand science and technology research and scholarship in Africa and our role in it, we have to make an attempt to understand the larger picture and identify what ails this sector in Africa.
A 4-year study jointly funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC-Canada) and Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany) has used a multi-design approach that combines bibliometric analysis, a survey, and interviews. The authors analyzed data from thousands of journal articles, more than 7,500 survey responses and 250 in-depth qualitative interviews. The results of this study have been summarized in this book titled “The Next Generation of Scientists in Africa”.
The major findings are that while science investment in Africa had declined in the final decades of the 20th century, there is renewed optimism as there is increased funding in the last decade. Nonetheless, the prospects of young African scientist are far from being bright: they still face fierce competition for funding, insufficient mentoring, a competitive work culture, heavy teaching loads, and limited mobility and international research collaboration opportunities. ASI is keen to stimulate discussion around these issues and engage all forum members in finding ways to address them. It is unlikely that one solution will address all the challenges that have been identified – this will be a long complex process with multi-sector engagement, but ultimately will lead to better research in science and technology and more fulfilling careers.