Twenty-one outstanding scientists from all major regions within Africa participated in the fourth round of the Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP), which is part of the Future Africa initiative by the University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Global Young Academy

The scientists represent basic and applied sciences, and span a wide variety of disciplines including the social sciences and humanities. 

The programme on ‘Leading a new paradigm for African Science’ started on 16 March with a week-long workshop. The fellows dove deeply into topics such as collective leadership, strategic thinking, interpersonal and general science communication, as well as how this relates to research that impacts the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the AU 2063 agenda. Leaders in academia and research, science communication, and leadership theory and practice joined the fellows for interactive sessions. The workshop will be followed by a year of application and mentorship, with a follow-up workshop planned for March 2019. 

A number of key speakers injected inspiration into the group during interactive sessions; Prof Cheryl de la Rey shared a thought-provoking talk on how to build trust in research, science and society, Prof Derick de Jongh shared his expertise on the role of responsibility in leadership, Prof Stella Nkomo discussed finding your scholarly voice as a key part of academic leadership and Prof Willem Fourie engaged with the group about the fundamentals of research styles of leadership, with a specific focus on Africa.  

Prof Stephanie Burton congratulated the fellows at the official gala event and said that the ASLP is an important programme within the Future Africa Institute. She also mentioned that UP is excited about working with excellent research leaders on the continent such as them. 

Among the fellows selected for the fourth round of the programme are Dr. Johannes Ferreira and Dr. Nwabisa Mehlomkulu of the University of Pretoria. In addition, Dr. Alisa Phulukdaree, Department of Physiology and Tuks Young Research Leader Programme (TYRLP) 2015 fellow, served as a mentor to the programme. Other mentors included Dr Samson Khene (ASLP 2017 fellow), Rhodes University - South Africa, Dr Eva Alisic, Monash University - Australia and Prof Rees Kassen, University of Ottawa - Canada. Both Dr Alisic and Prof Kassen as past co-chairs of the Global Young Academy.

The 2018 ASLP fellows met with the 2017 cohort of fellows on 20 and 21 March, when the 2017 fellows started their second workshop. In reflecting on the workshop, one of the 2018 fellows said: “It was a priceless experience in which I gained transformative knowledge about collective leadership skills. This fantastic, remarkable and unforgettable week at the ASLP taught me what leadership truly entails. I intend to invite others on this leadership journey to uplift Africa.”

Prof Bernard Slippers, project leader and director at FABI from the University of Pretoria and past co-chair of the Global Young Academy said: “African science is brimming with potential, but is currently underdeveloped. The ASLP programme recognizes the need for quality and collective leadership skills amongst the next generation of scientists who are steering the development and expansion of this system.” 

The programme is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation and involves many collaborations, including with the Leopold Leadership Program at Stanford University and the specialist facilitation company Knowinnovation. The programme now includes 84 fellows from 61 institutions from 18 countries across Africa. 

View ASLP 2018 Workshop Gallery

View ASLP 2018 Gala Dinner Gallery