The Africa Early Career Researchers Meeting  (AECRM) supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) and the University of Pretoria (UP) seeks to leverage networks that have come from African postdoctoral programmes to create a platform for peer-learning and facilitate the establishment of collaborative research, capacity building and networking opportunities for promising early career researchers on the continent. The meeting is driven by the need to continually support the career progress of immediate post-PhD graduates as they develop to become the world class intellectual leaders that Africa desperately needs.

The meeting was born out of the Peer-Learning for Emerging Researchers’ Knowledge and Advancement (PERKA) initiative, which was implemented by UP in collaboration with the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the CCNY.

During the four-day event, the University of Pretoria (UP) hosted over 70 early career researchers from 16 African countries to facilitate transdisciplinary and team-based science through experiential learning. The participants were nominated from the 13 African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centres of Excellence- and the Carnegie Corporation of New York- (CCNY) funded postdoctoral programmes across the continent for the African Early Career Researchers Meeting (AECRM).

The AECRM has adopted an innovative approach, anchored by systems thinking and transdisciplinarity, to facilitate collaboration among early career researchers. The COVID-19 pandemic, among many other societal challenges such as climate change, ecological biodiversity and sustainable food systems, has shown the need for research that transcends the boundaries of discipline and geography.

- Author Dr Melody Mentz-Coetzee

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