Science, technology and innovation for upskilling knowledge-based economies in Africa
Kevin Marsh, Senior Advisor African Academy of Sciences and Professor of Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford, UK
All countries in Africa are united by a shared vision of the future laid out in the Africa Union 's 'the Africa we want'. This envisages a future heavily based on the development of knowledge based economies. This in turn will require a major acceleration in the development of career structures for supporting this in all sectors related to science technology and innovation. Currently we are seeing a 'shift in the centre of gravity' with the development on the continent of new approaches to supporting science, technology and innovation. I will map out and discuss some of these major changes and their implications for career development for African researchers.
Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health Research, University of Oxford, UK
The Global Health Network delivers a programme of online learning and supports career development for African health care workers. These courses are highly focused on providing the know-how and skills needed to plan, operate and report pragmatic and locally relevant health research in places, situations and diseases where live-saving evidence is missing. So far over 400,000 of these courses have been taken in Africa and the whole platform has had over 10 million visits. This facility also guides health workers in taking a step and developing a career in research. The World Health Organisation says that low income countries need to be the generators and not the recipients of data and this is what we are working to address through a life-long approach to delivering training, tools, methods and support.
Allan Pamba, VP Pharmaceuticals E Africa & Government Affairs Africa, GlaxoSmithKline
Careers can be fluid and often the doors of opportunity open in unpredictable corners. My journey started and was propped up in academic research in Kilifi-Kenya, moved to pharmaceutical industry R&D in London-UK and is now in commercial General Management across E. Africa.
My personal experience underlines the need for open-mindedness and cross-sector collaboration. The interphase between Academia and Industry is often 'suspect' and rather cautious. There are increasing examples of industry-academia partnerships opening exciting career opportunities in Africa. The best is yet to come, but strong, visionary leadership will be required on both sides to open more doors for such partnerships.