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The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA)

Shifting the centre of gravity for African science to Africa

Launched in 2015, AESA is an Africa-led, Africa-centred, and Africa-specific funding and agenda setting platform created to accelerate scientific excellence, leadership and innovation. It is developing strategies and mobilising resources to catalyse the development and implementation of Science, Technology and Innovation programmes in Africa. AESA is leading the way in setting and aligning a scientific agenda to inspire a new generation of scientific leaders and have a transformational impact on health and developmental challenges on the continent and globally. AESA seeks to catalyse investments, strategies and programmes that engage the brightest minds in Africa, foster scientific excellence, inspire research leadership and accelerate innovation in ways that will improve lives and shift the centre of gravity for African science to Africa.

The platform was established as a partnership of The African Academy of Sciences (The AAS) and the AUDA-NEPAD Agency with the support of Wellcome, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). AESA is currently implementing major programmes, designed to shape ideas and careers of young researchers through in-country leadership, mentorship and training opportunities. AESA also seeks to empower scientists by funding exciting grant programmes that support novel but scalable ideas; provide networking and research advocacy opportunities for young researchers, and build high-quality research management and financial practices. The AESA platform is anchored on The AAS Strategic Plan and aims to shift the centre of gravity of African science to Africa. AESA’s goals are to implements STI programmes through for pillars where major programmes are based.

Building R&D leadership & Infrastructure/environments

DELTAS Africa: Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS) Africa supports the Africa-led development of world-class researchers and research leaders in Africa by addressing four strategic areas: scientific quality; research training; scientific citizenship and research management and environment  

H3 Africa: The Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) is a major genomics research programme supporting population-based studies that use genetic, clinical and epidemiological tools to better understand how the interplay between human genes and the environment influence disease susceptibility, pathogenesis and prevention with the goal of improving the health of African populations. 

Support the development of an innovation & science-driven entrepreneurial culture

GC Africa: Grand Challenges Africa supports and inspires the creation of extraordinary innovations that address health and developmental challenges in Africa through seed and  grants awarded to the continent’s most impressive solutions. GC Africa builds on the previous successes of local Grand Challenges programmes and a strong base of African Grand Challenges grantees.  

Identify and support rising research leaders to stay and build their careers in Africa

The African Academy of Sciences has created five programmes dedicated to Rising Research Leaders, offering postdoctoral and postmasters training to support globally competitive research in African universities and research institutes and to help build knowledge-based economies on the Continent.

The AAS has created five programmes dedicated to Rising Research Leaders, offering postdoctoral and postmasters training to support globally competitive research in African universities and research institutes and to help build knowledge-based economies on the Continent.

Filling critical gaps in the research ecosystem

  1. Research Management Programme in Africa (ReMPro Africa) focuses on four interconnected strands: embracing leadership – sustainable funding mechanisms – common standards and best practice – supporting career development and training to strengthen institutional research management functions and maximise researchers time spent on research and innovation.     

  2. Community & Public Engagement: CPE at The AAS promotes two-way interactions between scientists and non-scientist/non-specialist publics about science, research and innovation; intended to provide opportunities for mutual learning and benefit.

  3. Mobility schemes: The AAS Mobility Grants are offered to build scientific collaboration within Africa while breaking language and cultural barriers and between African and Indian researchers.
  4. Science Communication & advocacy activities are geared to improve the visibility of The AAS and science in Africa, build networks and build journalists' capacity to report on science.