|Welcome Speech||Felix Dapare Dakora, AAS President|
The General Assembly (GA) is a gathering of African Academy of Sciences Fellows and Affiliates (both senior and early career scientists) from across the globe providing an opportunity to network and showcase research through scientific presentations, welcome and induct new Fellows and Affiliates, as well as celebrate key scientific achievements such as the awarding of the prestigious AAS-Olusegun Obasanjo Prize on Science, Technology, Innovation and Discovery. The business meeting of the AAS Fellows also takes place at the General Assembly. The virtual 12th General Assembly of the African Academy of Sciences will be held on 7-9 December 2020 in collaboration with the British University in Egypt (BUE). This year’s GA will include the following sessions spread over the three days:
High Level Opening Ceremony including
Induction of AAS Fellows, Associate Fellows, Honorary Fellows and AAS Affiliates
Award of the 2018 AAS Olusegun Obasanjo Prize
The AAS Olusegun Obasanjo Prize Public Lecture
Affiliates Annual Meeting
AAS Business Meeting (for AAS Fellows Only)
High Level Closing Ceremony
Theme of the General Assembly
The AAS is in its 35th year of promoting excellence in science in Africa. An integral part of achieving this vision has been promoting the convergence of sciences - ‘the convergence of expertise necessary to address a set of research problems, and the formation of the web of partnerships involved in supporting such scientific investigations and enabling the resulting advances to be translated into new forms of innovation and new products’ (NRC, 20141). By recognising excellence of scientists from all scientific disciplines, implementing STI programmes through the AESA platform, to supporting evidence-based decision making of African governments and key stakeholders, AAS stands out as a leader in driving multidisciplinary and multisectoral efforts in order to achieve sustainable development goals in Africa.
The complex challenges of the twenty first century require us to do more. At the research level, Humanities have shown that there can be different representations and alternative interpretations of scientific knowledge. The emergence of the sciences of complexity, such as the study of the human psyche, genetics, neuroscience and climate change, show that the world problems that concern humanity today, are too complex to be examined and explored through one lens only. Furthermore, the precincts between the Sciences and Humanities have begun to grow fainter and the points of intersections are steadily and persistently increasing through interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research adding cross-disciplinary perspectives that establish new epistemological paradigms.
The AAS offers the scientific community a chance to revisit, celebrate, highlight, and challenge our existing cultures on what science (and scientists) can do/cannot do. At the upcoming 12th General Assembly scientists and science leaders will share what has been achieved so far by the AAS scientific community2, highlight some strategies through our existing science programmes and partnerships, as well as deliberate on ways of advancing new and existing strategies. This, we believe is a priority to achieving the SDGs, Agenda 2063 and STISA 2024 on which the AAS scientific agenda is grounded.
We invite attendees of the 12th AAS General Assembly to make presentations in this broader theme of “Converging the Sciences, Changing the Culture” while drawing on some of the sub-themes listed below. In your presentations, we encourage you to consider the following three questions: 1) What is enabled by convergence within your research /programme /institution? 2) What are the typical challenges encountered when nurturing convergence; and 3) What mechanisms can be used to support and facilitate convergent research in Africa?
Convergence in Action - Advancing scientific knowledge and solving complex problems through convergence of sciences. These will include presentations from diverse scientists/science programmes/institutions on how they have fostered collaborative research in but not limited to the AAS scientific clusters, the AAS-AESA programmes, and the thematic areas of the AAS Fellows/Affiliates Working Groups.
Convergence of the COVID-19 research and development priorities in/for Africa – a special session focussing on the role of the AAS and partners in addressing COVID-19 research and development priorities as well as priorities for epidemic preparedness and global health security for Africa.
Convergence spurs Africa’s innovation ecosystem – presentations from diverse scientists/science programmes/institutions on the potential and experiences of innovations emerging from convergent research e.g. grand challenges, FLAIR programmes etc.
Fostering convergence in research organisations and science academies: challenges and strategies - Leadership strategies, partnership arrangements and funding mechanisms to catalyse new directions in science and research culture in Africa
Please note that, this being a virtual GA, only a handful of diverse abstracts shall be considered for presentation during the science sessions of the General Assembly.