7 Key Promoters Of Research From And About Africa

As the second largest continent in the world, and home to a wide range of languages and cultures, Africa has much to offer in terms of research opportunities. There are several groups dedicated to advocating for the exploration of such issues as economic development, agriculture, disease, and social sciences. Here, in no particular order, are organizations shining a spotlight on topics of concern to Africa.

Starting off the list at #1 is the African Center for Economic Transformation. It is an economic policy institute focused on supporting Africa's long-term growth through transformation. The group produces research, offers policy advice, and galvanizes action so that the continent's countries can develop their economies, reduce poverty, and improve livelihoods for all their citizens.

Dr. K.Y. Amoako, founder and president of ACET, is the author of Know the Beginning Well, which offers an inside look at Africa's development across five decades. His speaking engagements include the Ghana Economic Forum and Governance Academy Day. Meanwhile, the organization has appeared in numerous media outlets, including Daily Maverick, the New Telegraph, and Forbes.

Joining the list at #2 is African Women in Agricultural Research and Development, which works toward inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for Africa. Its Gender Responsive Agricultural Research and Development initiative helps local farming institutions prioritize gender and diversity in the workplace. The program has chapters in Zambia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Uganda.

AWARD offers training courses in the areas of mentoring, leadership, science skills, and gender responsiveness. Other programs include the One Planet Fellowship, which supports inquiry into climate change adaptation, and the Global Forum on Women in Scientific Research, which focuses on bridging the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

At #3 is the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, the continental organization responsible for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research for development. The group serves as the technical arm of the African Union Commission on matters concerning science, technology, and innovation. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, it has partnerships with such groups as the World Bank, Syngenta, and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

FARA participates in the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, which promotes investment in all levels of the agricultural system in order to meet the needs of the resource-poor end user. Among its other initiatives is the Africa Foresight Academy, a network of practitioners focused on strengthening innovation and knowledge for a more responsive agri-food system.

Coming in at #4 is the British Institute in Eastern Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. It exists to promote inquiry into the humanities and social sciences within the wider region of eastern Africa, focusing on subjects such as anthropology, archaeology, history, and linguistics. Through its summer school program, the BIEA offers students the opportunity to study the language and culture of the village of Mivumoni, while interacting with top-field research scholars.

In order to conduct humanities and social science-based research in a rural African setting, the organization operates the Marakwet Research Station. The in-house team works on a wide range of topics, including mapping landscape features, issues around cropping and farming practices, recording oral histories, and coordinating interviews and focus groups. The BIEA is registered in England and Wales.

Entering the list at #5 is Human Heredity and Health in Africa. This consortium facilitates inquiry into diseases on the continent, while also developing infrastructure, training, and ethical guidelines to support a sustainable African research enterprise. Providing resources to scientists conducting population-based research, it offers training via the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as access to information about clinical trials.

H3 Africa's Independent Expert Committee is comprised of international experts actively working in such fields as population genetics, infectious diseases, and global health. The committee is responsible for providing scientific input to ensure the organization achieves its goal of empowering scientists, establishing research networks, and building research capacity across the continent.

In the #6 spot is TReND, a charity that supports scientific capacity building across Africa. It runs biomedical training courses, provides universities with equipment, and coordinates academic volunteering and outreach programs. The organization's members regularly publish research in peer reviewed scientific journals, including Applied and Translational Genomics, PLOS Biology, and Nature.

To showcase science to young Africans, the TReND Outreach Network hosts events featuring hands-on activities in microscopy and 3D printing, as well as Ask A Scientist radio programs and public lectures. Other initiatives include the African Science Literacy Network, a partnership between scientists and journalists that supports more accurate information to the general population. The group's accolades include a Global Economic Fellowship, an honor from the Planet Earth Institute Data Challenge, and a Lister Prize for Preventive Medicine.

Wrapping up the list at #7 is NOVAFRICA, a knowledge center created in 2011 by the Nova School of Business and Economics of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Its mission is to produce expertise that promotes business and economic development in Africa, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations. The center also promotes activities such as internships and training programs, and offers consulting services in its areas of expertise.

Among the group's research projects are exploring the integration of refugees in Northern Mozambique, and examining information gaps and irregular migration to Europe. Under the theme of economic development throughout the continent, NOVAFRICA hosts a seminar series featuring international speakers from such institutions as MIT, University of Essex, and Amherst College.