Science with Africa 2.0

I am currently collaborating with the UN Economic Commission for Africa on a project that I’m absolutely fascinated with given my longstanding interest in Africa, science, technology, and innovation. UNECA launched their “Science with Africa” program nearly a year ago to help build capacity in the Science and Technology arena and they’ve developed a strategic roadmap that I’ll post later. The goals include finding ways to enhance access to scientific research for African scientists as well as facilitate new forms of cooperation and innovation across the continent. Peter Singer and Abdullah Daar recently published a paper on “convergence platforms” for African life scientists to address what is perceived as a significant bottleneck in the innovation chain, that is, the linear innovation model that has witnessed gaps in bringing together scientists, business communities and funders so that innovations can make it into the marketplace. Scientists typically lack the understanding of business models required to bring an innovation to light and their are further disconnects with funders leaving many innovations at the benchside. We are planning to develop a new platform that harnesses insights from African knowledge networks at UNECA, social networking platforms, science commons and open science to create a new form of convergence platform or collaboratories with African scientists and their networks. Below I have a presentation on “Science with Africa 2.0” that is an overview of science 2.0 and social networking in Africa that we used in a workshop in December 2008 to brainstorm how this might work. We’re now in fundraising mode so if you have any suggestions please feel free to contact me. I’ll likely be providing additional details and contact info as this project develops.

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