The SGCI and the Global Research Council (GRC) virtually convened the 2021 Annual Meetings of African Science Granting Councils on 16 – 18 November 2021. The SGCI Annual Forum and Masterclass on the theme Public Engagement in Research and Innovation brought together 172 participants from 30 countries representing a broad range of stakeholders including representatives from the science granting councils; researchers from different disciplines; ministry officials with line responsibility for education, science, technology and innovation; and the SGCI governance and management actors.
During the Masterclass, a keynote presentation was given by the lead author of the commissioned paper, Dr. Konosoang Sobane from the Impact Centre, Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa. This was followed by a panel discussion of regional (African SGCs) and international partners. The Councils were represented by TETFund (Nigeria), NCST (Rwanda) and NRF (South Africa). The panelists responded to the keynote presentation by sharing practical, African experiences and activities related to public engagement in research and innovation. Additional inputs from Botswana, Uganda, Senegal, Kenya and Namibia reinforced African perspectives on the matter. The panel also benefitted from lead experts from the United Kingdom Collaborative on Research and Innovation (UKCRI) and the Netherlands Research Council (NWO) offering their experiences from a global perspective. The participants then engaged in a moderated question and answer (Q&A) session. The session concluded with a summary given by the lead author on the main issues and suggestions for a way forward. The Forum emphasised that the SGCs need to adopt a knowledge brokering approach that goes beyond transferring information to packaging research in a more accessible and meaningful form for the public. The Forum further observed that an open science approach and open data sharing contribute to fostering public trust.
The 2021 Africa Regional Meeting of the GRC was co-hosted by the Research Council of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe), the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology (Botswana) and the Fonds National de la Recherche et de l’Innovation pour le Development (Burkina Faso). Alongside the regional consultation, the GRC provided feedback on the activities of the Gender Working Group, and a session on the GRC Strategy: Actions towards the Development and Implementation of the GRC’s Vision and Roadmap was facilitated. There were 45 participants from 17 research councils (including science and technology ministries and public science funding agencies); joined by representatives from the Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (SENACYT, Panama) and the National Science Foundation (NSF, United States) who will co-host the 2022 GRC Annual Meeting. Participants discussed, and provided the Africa regional context for, the two topics proposed for the 2022 GRC Annual Meeting – science and technology workforce development, and research ethics, integrity and culture in the context of rapid results research.
The SGCI in collaboration with the Global Research Council (GRC), convenes an annual meeting of Africa SGCs that brings together all the participating councils and other STI stakeholders around the world to deliberate and share experiences around strategic issues. In 2021, the meetings presented an opportunity to deliberate on a number of additional themes, including: collaborative research; gender and inclusivity; open science; science and technology workforce development; and research ethics integrity and culture in the context of rapid results research.
For more information, contact:
Dr Maurice Bolo, Scinnovent Centre