FAR-LeaF PRESENTS SESSION AT SRI PANAMA

Four representatives from the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa Research Leadership Fellowship Programme (FAR-LeaF) will present a session at the Sustainability Research & Innovation (SRI) Congress conference hosted in Panama.

The SRI is the world’s largest transdisciplinary gathering for the global sustainability community. SRI2023 is hosted by the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Panama (SENACYT) and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI).

SRI2023 unites more than 2000 global sustainability research leaders, government and civil society experts, funders and innovators to inspire action and promote sustainability transformation. This annual international event elevates diverse knowledge on sustainability, provides an inspiring platform to share innovative ideas, and creates an inclusive space for collaboration and action. SRI is a joint initiative of Future Earth and the Belmont Forum.

FAR-LeaF is an early career research fellowship program focussed on developing transdisciplinary research and leadership skills. In particular, the programme seeks to build a network of emerging African scientists with the skills to apply transdisciplinary approaches and collaborate to address complex challenges in Africa's human well-being and environment nexus. The FAR-LeaF presenters are program director Prof Stephanie Burton, Future Africa researcher Leti Kleyn and fellows Prof Nkechi Owoo of the University of Ghana and Dr Vincent Pagiwa of the University of Botswana.

The session hosted by the FAR-LeaF representatives will explore the success and impact of a network of African early career researchers/academics (ECRAs) in 10 countries developed through the interactive fellowship programme coordinated through FAR-LeaF. This Fellowship, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has supported 24 ECRAs in a two-year programme.

The challenges have taught the fellows about the critical importance of communication and consistent connection and the need for sound infrastructure and ongoing research support.


Each fellow has built a research programme in their home institution and established a base for future career development. Through regular online and in-person interactions, the fellows have participated in the FAR-LeaF network and used this as a foundation for a broader network across their regions and the continent. Much has been learned about successfully establishing and maintaining such networks' linkages.

The challenges have taught the fellows about the critical importance of communication and consistent connection and the need for sound infrastructure and ongoing research support. The programme included building an innovative Virtual Research Environment (VRE) to facilitate and support research, collaboration, data management, ethics, information resources and skills development. This has been key to the programme’s success and will continue to be a valued resource.

The FAR-LeaF programme has significantly impacted the capacity development of this African network of early career researchers/academics.

Heidi Sonnekus | FAR-LeaF Program

 

The Future Africa Research Leader Fellowship (FAR-LeaF) is a fellowship programme, focussed on developing transdisciplinary research and leadership skills, to address the complex, inter-linked challenges of health, well-being, and environmental risks in Africa.