Capacity building for young scientists and scholars is one of the GYA’s strategic targets. Furthermore, in light of the GYA aim to close the gap between low- and middle-income and high-income countries, the Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP) aims to:
Co-developed by the University of Pretoria and the GYA, it builds on the Global State of Young Scientists (GloSYS) project by addressing two central issues that emerged from the early research: mentoring and support structures, and focused training to increase leadership skills.
Since its begin, the ASLP has proven itself to be an exceptional model to develop a network of emerging science leaders across the continent (>50% of whom are woman), who are committed to developing and implementing a new vision for the future of African science.
Circulating the call to its network of young scientists and science academies in Africa, and providing evaluators for applications, the GYA assists in recruiting the cohorts of young scientists to benefit from the training. Selected fellows meet for a week-long workshop, followed by a year of project work and mentorship, with a follow-up workshop one year later.
Altogether 18 GYA members (listed in this project above as “past members”) have also taken part in the ASLP. Listed as “members” are GYA members and alumni who are part of the ASLP Steering Committee.
The inaugural workshop commenced with the first group of 20 fellows in June 2015, in Pretoria, South Africa.
The second cohort of Africa Science Leadership Fellows consisted of 22 outstanding scientists from all major regions of Africa. The scientists, spanning a wide variety of disciplines including the social sciences and humanities, met in April 2016 in Pretoria. The week-long workshop on ‘Leading a new paradigm for African Science’ delved deeply into topics such as collective leadership and science communication. Leaders in academia and research, science communication, and leadership theory and practice joined the fellows for interactive sessions.
An Africa Science Leadership Clinic was held in October 2016, to discuss leadership style, effective group and workshop structure, methodology, funding and organisation and to facilitate the further development of effective transdisciplinary networks across Africa.
In 2017 and 2018 the third and fourth cohorts of ASLP fellows – approximately twenty-two outstanding scientists from different disciplines all across Africa – took part in the ASLP.
The 2019 Africa Science Leadership Programme, the programmes’ fifth round, was held for the first time in the newly opened Future Africa Campus. More details here.
The ASLP programme is in its second 3-year funding period (with funding from the Robert Bosch Foundation), from 2018-2020.
The programme is creating a lasting network of science leaders on the African continent, spanning not only across countries, but also across disciplinary boundaries. It is successfully developing an awareness and a curriculum for leadership development in academia that can be applied in other institutions in Africa and beyond, and has created a focal point for connection with science leadership training programmes in other parts of the world. Inspired by the Africa SLP, an ASEAN SLP has run for two consecutive years, with further meetings in planning from 2019-2021.
ASLP in the Media
“African science needs more leaders. Here’s how to develop them.” 26 March 2019. By Bernard Slippers and Eva Alisic, in The Conversation.
“African mothers in science need more support. Providing it is actually easy.” 10 January 2018. By Bernard Slippers and Smeetha Singh, in The Conversation.
“Closing the gap in science leadership.” 5 May 2017. By Kudzai Mashininga, in University World News Africa Edition.
“Africa Science Leadership Program Aims to Develop Skills of Next Generation of Scientists.” 16 April 2016. By Lahcen El Youssfi, in Morocco World News.
“Leadership training for African scientists.” 26 March 2015. By Bernard Slippers in Nature.
Professor Bernard Slippers, project leader from the University of Pretoria and past Co-Chair of the Global Young Academy, describes the impact of the programme:
“There is such a big need to develop the skills of a next generation of scientists to lead more interdisciplinary and globally connected teams to resolve address the complex challenges the world faces. ASLP is fast becoming an example of the type of programme through which this development can be fast tracked.”
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