1.               Vision

Future Africa is transforming the world through African research excellence


2.               Mission

Transdisciplinary Science Leadership for Innovation


3.               Aims

The aims of Future Africa are:

  • To promote the broad field of ‘convergence science’ through a transdisciplinary approach and with linkages among a wide range of academic disciplines and institutions.
  • To stimulate collaborative and transdisciplinary research of the highest possible quality, while at the same time providing workable solutions to Africa’s long-term developmental challenges.
  • To train and develop young scientists in transdisciplinary research and science leadership aligned with the human capital development needs of Africa.
  • To actively seek to bring researchers from the University, the rest of Africa and the global scientific community together to advance excellence in transdisciplinary research for sustainable development.
  • To establish partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society, policymakers, business, as well as the media to produce collaborative transdisciplinary research and training.
  • To promote the future development of Future Africa and the University of Pretoria.


4.               Future Africa’s principles

Africa focused - Africa is a very large continent, endowed with unbelievable richness in terms of the people, cultures, biodiversity and environments. We view this whole to have an undeniable connection; socially, ecologically and economically. It is also a continent on which research capacity needs to increase massively to be competitive with other regions of the world. We will thus actively strive to address issues at a broader African scale, and promote research and networks across the continent. 

Interdisciplinarity, teamwork and academic networks - While individuals are often credited for scientific breakthroughs, and while we recognize the critical importance of individual brilliance, no scientific discovery is ever made in isolation. It always builds on the collective knowledge of a system. At the same time, we recognise that the complexity of issues facing the world cannot be addressed through isolated disciplinary approaches. A large proportion of the most impactful work done today is achieved through interdisciplinary and multinational teams. Future Africa will strive to help develop such an interconnected, team-based approach, rather than focusing solely on individual brilliance, competition and promotion.

Transdisciplinarity and social responsibility - Future Africa concerns itself with the social context within which it exists and does its research. We endeavour to take up the responsibility that comes with the privilege of being knowledge producers. This translates into engaging society directly, and via consensus such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in the design and outcomes of research. We will seek to connect all the research that we do to the societies in which we operate.

Excellence - While Future Africa will not be competition driven, it will seek to ensure that it conducts its science to the highest possible standards. This will mean constantly striving to ‘raise the bar’ on the quality of our publications, our impact on society, our engagement with individuals and networks, our environment and our community of Future Africa scholars. In this context, we view curiosity driven, basic research and applied research as part of a continuum and important for the health of the science system.

Diversity - Future Africa views the contribution of the total richness of humanity as critical to the optimal efficiency and impact of science. We believe in the value of the individual to contribute to the collective, and without tapping into the richness of human diversity, the contribution to the whole remains incomplete. We not only respect diversity, but seek to promote diversity in all that we do. With diversity we refer to race, gender, sexuality, culture, discipline, age and all the other rich layers of our society.

Open Science - Future Africa views science as a public good. The Future Africa community will respect legally protected and intrinsic rights to knowledge, patents or publications. However, we view science as predominantly publicly funded, and always a public good, that needs to be actively disseminated as widely as possible to contribute optimally to the good of humanity and the planet.

Leadership - We endeavour to take personal and collective responsibility to lead the change that is needed to make the world a more equal, just and sustainable place. Future Africa will endeavour to actively develop leadership skills in students and academics in all the above-mentioned matters, and to instil and enable this proactive approach to transformation in all our endeavours.


5.               Future Africa’s core values

The core values of the Future Africa community:

  • Commitment to the ethos and values of Future Africa, to service, innovation, partnership, life-long learning, truth, respect, integrity and ethics
  • Research excellence
  • Human-centred, trans-disciplinary approaches to developing intellectual capital
  • Collegiality and collaboration, and active commitment to diversity across knowledge domains to enrich the human experience
  • Fostering a pedagogy built on the principles of thinking, learning and doing by recognising the importance of evidence, creativity and excellence to create change
  • Innovation to increase local, national and international impact of transdisciplinary science, and leadership for innovation.