The second (of three) PERKA beneficiary meeting was held on 13 and 14 November 2019 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The second meeting was used as an opportunity for sharing and reflecting on success stories and exemplars of “what works”. The objective was to move beyond a description of what is being done (which was the focus of the first meeting) and to critically examine elements of successful postdoctoral fellowship programmes that can inform the development of good practice guidelines.
An additional focus of the meeting was to bring together current and potential funding partners who can share their experiences and models for funding early career researchers, and to expose these funders to the Carnegie-funded programmes. An intended spin-off of this engagement is that academics and funders have the opportunity to network, hear each other’s perspectives and establish potential connections for future collaboration.
Finally, in response to the needs expressed by the participants at the first PERKA meeting, a half-day session on designing and implementing impactful mentoring programmes was presented by the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).
In parallel to the discussions among the programme representatives, the PERKA team held a series of focus group sessions with the invited postdoctoral fellows from the Carnegie-supported programmes. The purpose of these focus groups was for the PERKA project leaders to learn first-hand about the experiences of postdoctoral fellows and the challenges they face as early-career academics, while also providing networking opportunities for the postdocs. Building on this networking objective, postdocs were given the opportunity to share and discuss their research and benefitted from a session on ‘Building an Academic Career’.