Exploring New Ways to Support Research: Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa
Governments and regional bodies across Sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly eager to strengthen science. Policy documents and programmes reflect this enthusiasm, which is matched by increased support from funders outside the region looking for new ways to sustain research that is in line with Sub-Saharan African aspirations.
This lecture focuses on programmes and policies that reflect a complex array of expectations about what science can and should deliver. National, regional and international funders adopt a variety of sometimes ambiguous rationales about the pathways through which these contributions from science funding are delivered, with distinctions between ‘basic’ and ‘applied’ science failing to provide significant clarity. On the one hand there is a desire for excellent research as sanctioned by academics acting with high degrees of autonomy and, on the other, for science that is deeply embedded in local social and policy realities and whose success or failure requires input and evaluation by a much broader array of stakeholders.
These aims are not impossible to resolve, but reconciliation is far from straightforward and numerous policy and communication rifts exist. The lecture will identify a number of relatively straightforward ways in which the process of supporting science can be improved and enhanced so that science contributes to multiple agendas. However, it will also highlight more fundamental challenges which confront science funders across the globe related to the ways in which support for research is framed and provided.
Discussant: Chiheb Bouden
Moderated by Stefan Skupien
Joanna Chataway is professor of Science and Technology Policy and the newly appointed Head of Department for Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy at the University College London.
Chiheb Bouden is professor at the University of Tunis El Manar. He worked as General Director in the Ministry for Higher Education and Research and served as its Minister from 2015 to 2016.
Stefan Skupien is a research fellow of the president's project group. He manages a research project on Assessing North-South scientific cooperation.
The Lecture is part of the research project ‘Assessing North-South Scientific Cooperation: African-European Research Partnerships and their Ideas of Sustainability’.