AAS receives a donation US$400,000 from Kevin Marsh, winner of the Al-Sumait Prize 2016

Nairobi, Kenya, 2 December 2016 – Globally renowned Kenyan based scientist, Prof Kevin Marsh, who recently won the Al-Sumait Prize has announced that he is donating the prize money of US$1 million to support African research initiatives directed at developing and promoting scientific excellence. A portion of the prize amounting to US$400,000 has been transferred to the Africa Academy of Sciences to set up a fund to help the professional development of early career scholars.

Prof Marsh received US$1 million Al-Sumait Prize on 22 November from The Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Sciences for his achievements to control and eradicate malaria, much of the work having been done in Kenya where he spent close to 30 years working at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Centre in Kilifi.  His contributions have impacted on the health of hundreds of millions of African children.

“We congratulate Prof Marsh for his prize, and we are also pleased to receive his pioneering contribution to support early career scholars in their effort towards professional excellence and leadership,” stated the AAS Executive Director Prof Berhanu Abegaz. “We also hope this generous gesture from Kevin will inspire other philanthropists to contribute to science in Africa,” added Prof Abegaz.

The fund given to AAS will help in the Academy’s efforts to increase the number of future generations of scientists who will contribute knowledge and solutions to the continent’s health and developmental challenges. Africa only has 164 scientists and engineers per million inhabitants, compared with 656 for Brazil, 2,457 for Europe and 4,663 for the United States. It has also been losing an average of about 20,000 professionals a year to countries outside the continent since 1990, most of whom are young people who leave because of lack of infrastructure and opportunities to grow their scientific careers.

“Investing in Africa’s young scientists is investing in the future of the continent.  Providing opportunities for young scientists will help to attract and retain them on the continent and I am happy to be contributing to this effort,” said Prof Marsh.

The proposal is to use the funds for such activities as attending conferences, symposia and workshops and other activities that will improve their skills in proposal development, grant writing and pitching innovations. The Academy is holding discussions with Professor Marsh and other stakeholders to set up guidelines on how best to use the funds to support young scholars.

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About AAS

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 that impact on developmental challenges through the new agenda setting and funding platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA). AESA was created by AAS and the NEPAD Agency. 
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About Prof Kevin Marsh
Prof Kevin Marsh is a malariologist who has spent 30 years in Africa conducting research. He was director of the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, for 25 years until 2014 when he joined the AAS as its senior advisor. He is a professor of tropical medicine at the University of Oxford and chairs the WHO Malaria Policy Advisor Committee. He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was awarded the Prince Mahidol prize for medicine in 2010 and the Al-Sumait Prize in 2016.

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