IBM Research-Africa and the Next Einstein Forum have partnered on a new Visiting Scientist Program, where five of the 15 newly named NEF Fellows will have the opportunity to visit and lecture at one of IBM’s 12 global research labs.
“The visiting scientists – full-time scientists at prestigious institutions and universities across the world – will spend a week at the IBM Research lab where they can directly engaging with our scientists who work in their related field of study,” said Solomon Assefa, the director of IBM Research-Africa’s lab in South Africa, at the NEF’s 2016 Global Gathering in Senegal.
During their fellowship, each will have the opportunity to lecture to the IBM scientific community, collaborate and network with IBMers, work with local lab directors, and explore the potential for future collaboration between their institutions and IBM Research.
The NEF is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and seeks to mobilize the brightest minds in Africa to address the continent’s most pressing issues, with an emphasis on the STEM disciplines and the social sciences. The foundation showcases the brilliant contributions of Africa’s young scientific community through its Fellows, all of whom are under the age of 42. The Fellows hail from across the continent, and are making enormous impacts in diverse fields at world-leading institutions, including Harvard University, Max Planck Institute, University of Cape Town, and IBM Research – Africa.
The Forum tells their stories, highlighting the innovation and scientific advancement they’ve made across the continent, while also working to build an African scientific identity. IBM’s Kommy Weldemariam was recognized as a Fellow in 2015 for his work creating cognitive systems for education and healthcare in Kenya, and across the continent.
“What we are doing here is trying to reverse the classic technology transfer where Africa inherits innovation from the West,” Kommy told Forbes, last year.
In addition to bringing together Africa’s top scientists, policymakers, industry leaders, civil representatives, and entrepreneurs, the NEF also hosts the online NEF Platform. It serves as a hub for information on science and innovation policy in Africa, and facilitates information sharing among scientific leaders and young innovators about the transformative potential of science. The Foundation is working to change the narrative of science on the African continent from a landscape fraught with challenges to one loaded with potential.
Each NEF Fellowship is for a period of two years. The Fellows will have the opportunity to submit an application to IBM’s Visiting Scientist Program in the first six months of the Fellowship – the first of whom will begin the program this September.