See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Science in Africa: tackling mistrust and misinformation
23:09Mental-health researcher Mary Bitta uses art and artistic performance to tackle public mistrust in science across communities in Kilifi, Kenya.This distrust can extend to procedures such as taking blood and saliva samples, and also to mental-health problems, which many people think are caused by witchcraft — evil spirits or curses from parents or grandparents, she says.Such beliefs account for mental health not being prioritized by policymakers, she adds. But change is afoot.“In the last five years alone, we’ve had policy documents specifically for mental health. There’s also been progress in amending legislation. For example, there has been a recent lobby to decriminalize suicide because, as we speak, suicide is illegal in Kenya,” she says.Bitta tells Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa, how she uses a form of participatory action research — in which communities are involved in song, dance, video and radio productions — to change attitudes to mental health.This is the final episode of an eight-part podcast series on science in Africa. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Science in Africa: a wishlist for scientist mothers
33:31Angela Tabiri and Adidja Amani tell Akin Jimoh how they combine family life with career commitments, helped by strong networks of family support.In Ghana, where Tabiri researches quantum algebra at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Accra, the government requires working women to stay at home for three months after having a child. Once they return to their jobs, they can leave work at 2 p.m. until their child is six months old, she says.“We don’t have infrastructure to support young mums in Ghana,” Tabiri adds, citing the absence of nursing rooms and nurseries in academic institutions.mani, deputy director for vaccination at Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health in Yaoundé, and a lecturer in medicine at the University of Yaoundé, points out that it is now government policy to admit equal numbers of men and women to her faculty of medicine. Despite this, women are still under-represented at senior levels.“I’m a mother of two. I want my boys to be an example and to help the women around them,” she says.“Educate our boys — educate men around the world to be agents of change by supporting women.”This is the penultimate episode in an eight-part series on science in Africa hosted by Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Verpasse keine Episode von “Working Scientist” und abonniere ihn in der kostenlosen GetPodcast App.
Science in Africa: Diaspora perspectives
33:30Molecular biologist Khady Sall returned to Senegal in 2018 after setting up Science Education Exchange for Sustainable Development (SeeSD), a non-profit organization she founded while a PhD student in the United States. SeeSD promotes science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics education to encourage scientific literacy and critical thinking in young people.Sall tells Akin Jimoh how her career experiences abroad made the return to Africa a daunting prospect. But working and living abroad has convinced her that science careers in Africa, and the cities where science takes place, should not follow US and European models.“If we’re not authentic in being scientists, and not doing research that follows local problems and our local culture, then at some point, we will just become another US or another France, and that will be very boring. Hopefully that will not happen here. And then we will be vibrant and do a different kind of science. People will say: ‘Wow, why didn’t this happen sooner?’”Togolese researcher Rafiou Agoro runs the African Diaspora Scientists Federation, a mentoring platform that connects African scientists based abroad with colleagues back home, from his base at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. So far, Agoro and his team of 150 mentors have supported more than 100 scientists.“I was looking for any any opportunity to have an impact back home. A lot of people who are abroad are eager to do something back here. COVID has taught us distances matter less when it comes to education,” he says.This is the sixth episode in an eight-part podcast series hosted by Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Science in Africa: ‘The world needs science and science needs women’
33:24Doreen Anene and Stanley Anigbogu launched separate initiatives to promote science careers to young girls and women in Africa. What motivated them to do so?Anene, a final-year animal-science PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, says her mother struggled to get a teaching job in Nigeria because she did not have a science background. Her experience inspired her to set up The STEM Belle, a non-profit organization in Nigeria.“Growing up I had these stereotypes. ‘You’re going to end up in a man’s house. There’s really no need for you to stretch yourself because the end goal is to be married, right?’”“My mother didn’t want her children to go through this so she started indoctrinating the benefits of science and her experience to us.”Anigbogu, a storyteller and technologist, founded STEM4HER after meeting a young girl at a science fair. She told him that her mother thought that careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) were for boys, not for her.“We discovered that girls in the rural areas were mostly affected by that societal mindset. Inventors are using science to solve global problems, but women are not in that space,” he says.This is the fifth episode of an eight-part series on science in Africa, hosted by Nature Africa chief editor Akin Jimoh. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Science in Africa: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic
27:49Africa “gullibly” followed Europe and other Western regions in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that resulted, says Oyewale Tomori, past president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and a former vice-chancellor of Redeemer’s University in Ede.“Whatever disaster was happening in other parts of the world was not that pronounced in the African region. I think we should have recognized that before we planned our response,” he tells Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa.Tomori says the pandemic exposed flaws in Nigeria’s health system, such as why there were initially so few testing laboratories, and why, after boosting the number to 140, between 40 and 50 are now no longer reporting. He also calls for a continent-wide African Center for Disease Coordination, and a more sustainable vaccine-production strategy across the continent.This is the fourth episode of an eight-part series on science in Africa. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Science in Africa: is ‘decolonization’ losing all meaning?
27:25Paballo Chauke and Shannon Morreira examine a drive by the University of Cape Town (UCT) to cultivate a more inclusive academic environment after a campus statue of nineteenth-century imperialist Cecil Rhodes was toppled in April 2015.Chauke, a bioinformatics coordinator and environmental geography PhD student at the South African university, fears that the term ‘decolonization’ has lost much of its meaning since the statue fell, and is now at risk of becoming a mere buzzword, used by people to seem open-minded. He says: “I’m worried that people think it’s all going to be strawberries and cream, it’s going to be peaceful, it’s going to be nice, and people want to feel good, people want to feel comfortable.”For Chauke, collaborating with other academics from Africa takes priority over the ‘standard’ practice of partnering with people from Europe and North America.UCT anthropologist Shannon Morreira says: “If we think about decolonization in African science, it’s not saying throw out the contemporary knowledge systems we have, but it’s saying build them up, diversify them, so that other knowledge systems can be brought in as well.”This is the third episode of an eight-part series on science in Africa, presented by Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Science in Africa: lessons from the past, hopes for the future
21:39Nigerian virologist Oyewale Tomori describes how science has fared in the six decades since his country gained independence, with a frank assessment of the current state of academic research in his home country and across the continent.Tomori, past president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and a former vice-chancellor of Redeemer’s University in Ede, discusses the effects of foreign funding; brain drains and the contribution of diaspora scientists; and the societal changes needed to attract more women into science.One specific suggestion is that scientific academies and individual researchers work harder to engage the public. “If your science doesn’t affect the life of your people, nobody cares about you,” he says.Tomori’s assessment of the state of science in Africa is the second episode of an eight-part series, presented by Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Science in Africa: a continent on the cusp of change
29:29Early career researchers in Africa are starting to reap the benefits of increased investment in science and a growth in the number of research collaborations and partnerships, says Ifeyinwa Aniebo, a molecular geneticist who researches malaria drug resistance in Nigeria.But the continent’s scientific growth could accelerate even faster if more domestic funding was available to support African scientists. This, alongside better infrastructure, and a stronger commitment to getting more women into scientific careers, would help to prevent future brain drains, she adds.Aniebo’s assessment of the current state of science across the continent launches an eight-part podcast series, Science in Africa, presented by Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa.Future episodes will investigate how African countries are addressing colonial legacies; the continent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic; creative approaches to science communication; and ongoing efforts to recruit and retain female scientists. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Dutch city where industry–academia collaborations flourish
12:10Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has a long history of partnering with local technology giants such as Philips Electronics and DAF Trucks, with support from city leaders.University president Robert-Jan Smits tells Julie Gould how mutual trust and a respect for academic freedom have helped academics and industrialists to forge successful collaborations since 1956, when the university was founded.In the final episode of this six-part Working Scientist podcast series about porosity, the movement of people between academia and other sectors, Julie Gould is also joined by Fiona Watt, director of the European Molecular Biology Organization in Heidelberg, Germany, and Dario Alessi, director of the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy at the University of Dundee, UK. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Beyond academia: how to “de-risk” a mid-career move to industry
14:27Joan Cordiner took steps to “de-risk” her career when she moved into academia. Having spent her entire career up to that point in industry, she left her role as a technical and change manager role at chemical company Syngenta, and joined the University of Sheffield, UK, in 2020.Cordiner, who does not have a PhD, reflected on her skills, strengths and experience and how to apply them to her new role as a professor at the university’s department of chemical and biological engineering. This included identifying knowledge gaps and areas that would really benefit her new employer.De-risking means making any career move less of a learning curve for yourself, but also easier for new employers by ensuring that they benefit from the fresh perspectives that you bring to a role.In the fifth episode of this six-part podcast series about porosity, the movement of people within academia and beyond, Cordiner is joined by Jorge Abreu-Vicente, who switched to industry after completing his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.