Kenyan scientists among 22 others picked by continental body

Three Kenyans are among 22 early career scientists from the African continent who have been recognised by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS).

They were selected from five African regions to be AAS Affiliates from 2017 to 2021.

The scientists were selected through a merit based review process for the second cohort of the AAS Affiliates programme that recognises exceptional young scholars.

Kenyan scientists who were recognized by AAS are Dr Mwangi Thumbi of Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Dr Damaris Matoke of International Centre of Insect, Physiology and Ecology and Moureen Kemei of Intel Corporation.

The 22 scientists who are PhD holders and below the age of 40, were selected from Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

They were selected after a rigorous review process by eminent senior scientists who are AAS Fellows in the respective Academy’s regional offices.

The scientists work in the fields that include engineering, biosciences and health research.

African Academy of Sciences set up the Affiliates programme in 2015 to recognise, mentor and help early career professionals to develop into world class research leaders.

Through a donation from AAS Fellow and Senior advisor Kevin Marsh, the Academy has set up a fund to promote the professional development of Affiliates and other early career scientists to help attract and retain them on the continent.

Africa loses about 20,000 professionals a year to countries out of the continent most of whom are young people who leave because of lack of infrastructure and opportunities to grow their scientific careers.

The Affiliates will be supported to attend conferences, symposiums, workshops and other activities that will improve their skills in proposal development, grant writing and pitching innovations to help them win more grants, improve their publication records to ensure their research impacts on their communities.

“It’s encouraging to see organisations such as the AAS recognising the work of young scientists through mentorship opportunities and tools which we use in developing our careers,” said Dr Melissa Kapulu, a Zambian postdoctoral fellow at the KEMRI-Welcome Trust Programme.

The African Academy of Sciences which is a pan African organisation headquartered in Nairobi, aims to drive sustainable development in Africa through science technology and innovation.

It has a tripartite mandate of pursing excellence by recognising scholars and achievers, providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping the continent’s strategies and policies as well as implementing key science, technology and innovation programmes.

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