I am in Dar es Salaam for a couple of days in the company of Ghanaian, Tanzanian and UK scientists, under the auspices of the Royal Society -Leverhulme Africa Awards scheme (which funds the capacity building and science around our current KWAEEMMA project in Ghana. Our colleagues Theresa Peprah and Stephen Adu-Bredu from Ghana are here as well. The meeting is a chance to network with a wider community of UK-Africa projects on topics ranging from disease research to mineral chemistry to radio astronomy, and it is also a chance to discuss some of the big challenges and opportunities in advancing African science. Two key questions on the agenda are (1) how can the Royal Society establish a programme for career advancement for talented African scientists and (ii) how can national or pan-African funding systems be established for African science. There is the prospect of real progress on both these fronts in the coming years, but delivery will be challenging.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University