By Our Reporter

The African Union (AU) and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) has launched an award for the best upcoming African research scientists.

The initiative dubbed African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence – Pilot Programme (ARISE-PP) is a 25 million Euros approximately 3,072 billion shillings programme that will support 44 early mid-career African researchers.

Felix Dakora, President, African Academy of Sciences (AAS) says that each researcher will secure a grant worth 500,000 Euros approximately 61 million shillings to implement 5-year cutting-edge research projects.

“The financial support will help the researchers make contributions towards the transformation of Africa into a knowledge-based and innovation-led continent,” Dakora says during the launch in Nairobi.

Dakora observes that the initiative that is spread in 38 countries is forming part of a new way of ensuring that the African continent develops uniformly.

He says that the initiative will help researchers in finding solutions to some of the challenges facing the continent such as climate change, food security, water and environmental conservation.

Dakora notes that AAS will ensure that the outcome of research activities by the researchers can be replicated in all the 55 countries to help fix challenges that are almost similar throughout the continent.

He observes that Africa’s land productivity requires urgent attention from researchers adding that it is unfortunate that with 60 percent of arable land, the continent is only capable of producing 10 percent of food that is consumed locally.

Hambani Mashelani, head of the Division for Education Division in the Department of Education, Science, technology and Innovation at the African Union (AU) urges researchers to respond tirelessly towards transforming the scientific landscape in Africa.

Mashelani says that researchers must embark on ways and means of reversing ravaging caused by climate change, energy crisis and Covid-19.

The official says that researchers from the continent should generate knowledge to enable tem develop locally made products so as to save countries expenses of importing such products.

Piero Venturi, European Union (EU) science delegation to the AU says that African countries can advance in science through strong collaborations.

Venturi notes that these collaborations are needed in the areas of public health, green transition, innovation, technology development and research on poverty related diseases.

The program that is being implemented by the AAS is supported by the EU and the African Union (AU). 

The 44 researchers have their research projects tailored around public health, green transition, innovation and technology and science and higher education.