The newly formed Pan-African Scientific Research Council (PASRC) recently announced its inaugural members, and 19 UP academics have been included on the council, which consists of 492 researchers and professionals.
These members are part of the council’s first cohort, following its launch in June 2020. Members have been selected for their proven excellence in research, potential for growth, and ability to contribute to engagement with policymakers in Africa. The inaugural member selection was made by the council’s Evaluation Committee, which consists of 26 established researchers.
The main goals of the PASRC are to highlight excellence in research in Africa, promote the career development of young scholars and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. The council will also strive to influence evidence-based policymaking in Africa, and communicate scientific research to a wide audience through public engagement.
“It is an honour to have been selected as a fellow of the PASRC, to be part of an African scientific community involved in Africa-focused research,” says UP Associate Professor Eugenie Kayitesi, a food scientist with a Y2 NRF rating. “Now more than ever, scientists must come together to generate policy-relevant research that will help governments and societies respond to the novel coronavirus and other unresolved issues, particularly those relating to poverty reduction and addressing food and nutrition insecurity.”
Prof Kayitesi adds that she will be playing a leadership role by joining structures such as the council’s editorial board and committees. “I will have the opportunity to present and publish my research, collaborate with other council members and provide guidance to younger researchers. I will also be able to contribute to the council’s engagement with policymakers.”
Prof Thulani Makhalanyane, who is Deputy Director of UP’s Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics, says it is a great pleasure to be an inaugural fellow. “As a fellow, I will have an opportunity to contribute to the leadership of the council, and as a microbial ecologist, I hope to promote the advancement of my field throughout the African continent. I hope that being part of the council will allow me to contribute to the mentorship and development of other scholars on our continent. As an academic of UP, this is a fantastic opportunity to promote the objectives advanced by institutional platforms, such as the Future Africa institute and campus, by speaking directly to political leaders.”
The establishment of the PASRC was initiated by Prof Leonard Wantchekon, founder and president of the African School of Economics in Benin. He is an affiliated faculty member at Princeton University and is a professor of politics, international affairs and economics. He says forming the PASRC was based on the idea that “research is not a luxury, but rather a survival strategy” and is “part of his contribution to the ongoing global campaign to generate a robust and enduring international response to the [COVID-19] pandemic”.
Click here for the names all the newly selected PASRC members.