Africa researchers set ambitious target for 1 million scientists

The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) wants to expand its training programme in a bid to help the continent get to one million scientists that will be necessary to drive economic and social development over the next ten years.

currently, Sub-Saharan Africa contributes just one percent of global scientific products, such as patents, research papers, and peer-reviewed articles, with very little change over the last ten years. 

APHRC said a recent World Bank report says the continent needs at least a million quality research leaders with Ph.D degrees to help transform Africa.

Dr Catherine Kyobutungi, Executive Director, APHRC said as the research institutes celebrates 20 years of research, they want to embark on the next phase to transform into an enabler and catalyst in Africa’s R&D ecosystem in its 2022 – 2026 strategic plan.

“We are telling our political leaders that Africa will not achieve its dream of economic and social empowerment by continuing to rely on international technical expertise. We need to develop our own scientists from home-grown talent who will develop evidence-based local solutions that when translated into action and main-streamed into national decision-making processes, can cascade to the local level and change people’s lives”, said Dr Kyobutungi.

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APHRC says it aims to re-engineer the African research ecosystem by catalyzing the training of Ph.D.s through partnerships with academic institutions and nurturing  the next generation of African research leaders. 

Through initiatives like the African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (ADDRF) program and the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA), APHRC is helping to rebuild and strengthen the capacity of African universities to produce skilled researchers and scholars in Africa. ÀDDRF, the first large-scale capacity-strengthening initiative for APHRC, has produced over 185 PhDs and 15 Masters graduates. 

CARTA, its current flagship program, has recruited and developed over 250 Ph.D. fellows across diverse research fields since enrolling its first cohort in 2011. CARTA is a partnership of eight African universities, four African research institutions, and non-African partners offering fully funded doctoral and post-doctoral training opportunities to attract, train and retain the continent’s brightest minds.

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