The Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP) is growing and evolving, and also in terms of its leadership. At its last meeting, the Steering Committee appointed Dr Connie Nshemereirwe as the new Director of the programme, taking over from the founding Director, Prof Bernard Slippers.

Now in its seventh year, the ASLP aims at growing mid-career African academics in the areas of thought leadership, team management, and research development, with the intention of enabling them to contribute to the development of a new paradigm for science in Africa, focused on its contribution to solving the complex issues facing both Africa and the global community.

 

A key aspiration of the ASLP from the beginning has been to gradually hand over the ownership of the programme to the fellows. This is embedded in the practice of inviting fellows from previous cohorts to act as mentors in the proceeding cohorts, as well as supporting fellows to replicate the programme within their institutions and regions. Over the last 3 years, Dr. Nshemereirwe has been instrumental in supporting these regional programmes in the role of ASLP Regional Coordinator/Accelerator, and her success with this was part of what led to her appointment as overall director of the ASLP. 

 

This appointment is an important milestone in the evolution of the ASLP as it marks the transition of the programme into the hands of the fellows. The fact that this role will now be carried out by an African female scholar is also worth noting, given the under-representation of African women scholars in science leadership.

 

“Our top priority in the coming years is to activate the community of fellows towards spreading the ASLP ethos of collective leadership around our toughest challenges as the African continent. We need to move away from the competitive and individualistic culture prevalent within our research landscape, and instead recognise that we face similar challenges. We are better off collaborating with our fellow scientists, as well as engaging the relevant communities beyond academia so that together we can contribute to creating a better life for generations to come.”

 

​​Dr. Connie Nshemereirwe is an independent science and policy facilitator and acts at the science-policy interface as a trainer, writer, and speaker. Her undergraduate studies were in Civil Engineering, but in later years she made the shift to Education by completing a master’s degree in the design of education and training systems at the University of Twente in 2004, which was followed by a Ph.D. in Educational Measurement at the

 

same University in 2014. Dr. Nshemereirwe is a 2015 fellow of the ASLP and a past co-chair of the Global Young Academy.

 

 

The ASLP is an initiative of the University of Pretoria and the Global Young Academy and is supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation.