About African Academy of Sciences
African Academy of Sciences, AAS African Academy of Sciences Vision TO BE THE ENGINE FOR DRIVING SUSTAINABLE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA. Mission The AAS mission is to serve, first, as an honorific society with the primary function of honouring African science and technology achievers and, second, as a development-oriented mobiliser of the entire African science and technology community with the fundamental role of facilitating the development of scientific and technological capacity for science-led development in Africa, promoting excellence and relevance in doing so. Strategy The AAS has been repositioning itself to proactively and aggressively respond to the challenges Africa faces by developing its five-year strategy in 2013 .The Academy’s goal is to help shape Africa’s agenda for science and contribute to developing the field. The AAS elects Fellows, who are proven science, technology and innovation leaders, policy advisors and thinkers most of whom live and work throughout the continent. The Academy also gives prizes, funds research that is relevant to Africa’s challenges, and works with policymakers to develop science strategies. The AAS’ work is covered in three areas: Recognising excellence Implementing science, technology and innovation programmes Providing think-tank functions. THE AAS IS A PAN AFRICAN ORGANISATION HEADQUARTERED IN KENYA, WHICH AIMS TO DRIVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA THROUGH SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION. It has a tripartite mandate of pursuing excellence by recognising scholars and achievers; providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping the continent’s strategies and policies; and implementing key science, technology and innovation programmes. The AAS utilises its membership pool which consists of a community of scientists to engage with governments and policy makers on the continent. The membership comprises individuals who have reached the highest level of excellence in their field of expertise and have made contributions to the advancement of the field on the continent. To date AAS has recognised 330 AAS Fellows and Associate and Honorary Fellows who are proven science, technology and innovation leaders, policy advisors and thinkers most of whom live and work throughout the continent. Relevant specialist committees assess nominees and those that are recommended are subsequently voted in by AAS Fellows and finally approved by the Governing Council. The AAS is the only continental academy in Africa, enjoying the support and recognition of NEPAD and the African Union as well as several governments and major international partners. These bodies also recognise the think-tank functions of the academy and its increasing role in setting the research agenda for the future development of the continent. The AAS is implementing programmes in partnership with pan African and international organisations. In 2015, the AAS launched the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, a platform created in collaboration with the New Partnership for Africa’s (NEPAD) Agency. AESA is an agenda setting and funding platform to support the development of Africa’s research leadership and promote scientific excellence and innovation to overcome some of Africa’s developmental challenges. The current Strategic Plan of the AAS (2013-2018) identifies six STI areas of focus, namely Climate Change. Health and Wellbeing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Water and Sanitation Food Security and Nutritional Wellbeing Sustainable Energy. THE ACADEMY WAS FOUNDED IN 1985 FOLLOWING A PROPOSAL PRESENTED BY THE RENOWNED ENTOMOLOGIST THOMAS ODHIAMBO AT THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF TWAS, THE WORLD ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, IN TRIESTE, ITALY. Odhiambo led a taskforce on the creation of the Academy, which presented its recommendations at a meeting convened on 10 December 1985. Participants at the meeting unanimously adopted the recommendations, turned the gathering into a General Assembly and drafted and adopted the Academy’s founding constitution, which has since been updated (link). The 33 participants who attended the General Assembly also became the founding fellows of the Academy. The Academy also developed and implemented four strategies between 1989 and 2005 that focused on forestry research, biotechnology, soil and water management, improved food production and policy and advocacy. In 1988 the AAS launched the journal Discovery and Innovation, which focused on all areas of science and ran until 2012. The AAS continued to grow in the ensuing years and bought its current premises in the upmarket suburb of Karen in Nairobi in 1992. THE AAS HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE IN AFRICA. AREAS WHERE THE ACADEMY HAS MADE AN IMPACT ARE: The number of fellows has grown from 33 in 1985 to the current 300. The number of female fellows has also grown significantly since the establishment of the Academy. The AAS gave over a 100 grants for forestry research to African scientists in the 10 years that it ran the Capacity Building in Forestry Research in Africa project. It also facilitated the development of a common position for Africa, which strengthened the continent’s negotiating muscle in the International Forum on Forest. Through the African Forest Research Network the AAS trained 150 postgraduate students and gave grants that helped African institutions to buy equipment and helped to develop the careers of grantees with many presenting at conferences. The AAS’ Capacity Building in Soil and Water Management project, which ran from 1989 to 1993, trained masters students from 10 African countries and funded collaborative projects between 80 research institutions that helped improve run off farming in Eritrea, the management of irrigation in Sudan and for Zimbabwe to find ways to use wetlands in dry regions for farming. The Academy’s African Training Leadership and Advanced Skills provided research grants and internships for women, helping them to develop their careers and organised meetings that provided platforms for scientists to share their research. The AAS has also published profiles of over a 1,000 African scientists, a resource that can be used to identify potential partners and experts to help governments in evidence policymaking. African presidents and senior government officials attended the AAS’ Research and Development Forum for Science-led Development in Africa, which contributed to efforts to raise the profile of science among policymakers. The AAS hosted the World Academy of Sciences Regional Office for sub-Saharan Africa (TWAS-ROSSA) from 2003 to 2014. During this time, the programme honoured over 70 scientists through the TWAS Regional Prize, the TWAS-ROSSA Young Scientists’ Prize, the TWAS-AAS-Microsoft Award for Young Scientists, TWAS Young Affiliates and Biovision travel grant. The AAS also organised the Young Scientists Conferences every year to provide a platform for young scientists to network with their peers and senior scientists and to share their research. The Academy also supported capacity building activities of TWAS’ eight national chapters in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe and facilitated collaboration between its Arab; Latin America and the Caribbean; East and Southâ��East Asia; and the Pacific and Central and South Asia regional offices.
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