Science Initiative Group

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The Science Initiative Group (SIG)[1] is dedicated to fostering science in developing countries. Formed in 1999 to provide scientific and administrative oversight for the Millennium Science Initiative (MSI),[2] SIG is governed by a six-member board consisting of three scientists from developing countries, two leading U.S. scientists and an entrepreneur.[3] SIG is administered by a small staff based at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.[4] Its Executive Director is Arlen Hastings,[5] who co-founded SIG in 1998 with board members Griffiths, Hexner, Kim, Palis and Rao.

Since 2008, SIG's attention has been devoted primarily to development and implementation of the Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE).[6] RISE prepares PhD- and MSc-level scientists and engineers in sub-Saharan Africa through university-based research and teaching networks in selected disciplines. Its primary purpose is to strengthen science research and education in sub-Saharan Africa by increasing the population of qualified academic staff in the region’s universities.[7] [8] RISE's broader goal is to build capacity in science, technology and innovation to stimulate economic development in sub-Saharan Africa.[9]

In a 2008 competition[10] that attracted 48 proposals from 29 African countries, 5 networks were selected by an international panel of distinguished scientists. Since the project's launch, 26 women and 62 men have earned one or more degrees through RISE, and the majority of the graduates are employed in academic positions at African universities or in scientific industries, working on projects relevant to Africa’s development. There are currently 37 women and 65 men pursuing degrees through RISE.[11]

The five RISE networks are:

AMSEN: African Materials Science and Engineering Network[12] [13] involving: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; University of Nairobi, Kenya; University of Namibia; Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria; University of Botswana; University of Ghana

RISE-AFNNET: African Natural Products Network[14] involving: Makerere University, Uganda; University of Nairobi, Kenya; Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania

SABINA: Southern African Biochemistry and Informatics for Natural Products Network[15] involving: University of Malawi, Chancellor College; University of Namibia; University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; University of Pretoria, South Africa; University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), South Africa; Tea Research Foundation of Central Africa, Malawi

SSAWRN: Sub-Saharan Africa Water Resources Network[16] including: Rhodes University, South Africa; Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique; University of Botswana; Makerere University, Uganda

WIO-RISE: Western Indian Ocean Regional Initiative[17] including: Institute of Marine Sciences,[18] University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; School of Marine & Coastal Sciences,[19] Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique; Oceanography Department,[20] University of Cape Town, South Africa

The African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI)[21] became a RISE Affiliate Network in July 2014.[22]

Established by SIG in 2004 with pilot funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, AMMSI is a network of mathematics research and training, with emphases on graduate education and applied mathematics.[23] [24] Among its activities, AMMSI runs the Mentoring African Research in Mathematics (MARM) program. The network comprises six regional offices that together serve the entire continent: Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Nairobi, Kenya (Eastern Africa); Gaborone, Botswana (Southern Africa); Ibadan, Nigeria (Anglophone Western Africa); Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (Francophone Western Africa); and Rabat, Morocco (North Africa).

SIG's work has been supported by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

SIG Board Members[edit]

Emeritus SIG Board Members[edit]


  1. ^ "Science Initiative Group". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  2. ^ "Millennium Science Initiative". 2005-06-27. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  3. ^ "SIG Board". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  4. ^ "Special Programs & Outreach at the Institute for Advanced Study". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  5. ^ "SIG Staff". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  6. ^ "RISE: Regional Initiative in Science and Education". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  7. ^ "To Build Scientific Capacity in Africa, Carnegie Corporation Funds Regional Networks to ‘Teach the Teachers’". Carnegie Corporation of New York. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  8. ^ "African Higher Education in the World: Are They (and We) Ready?". Carnegie Corporation of New York. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  9. ^ "A Conversation with Phillip Griffiths". Carnegie Corporation of New York. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  10. ^ "RISE: Call for Proposals" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  11. ^ "RISE in Numbers". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  12. ^ "AMSEN: African Materials Science and Engineering Network". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  13. ^ "AllAfrica: Stuff is Cool, If You're a Materials Scientist". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  14. ^ "RISE-AFNNET: African Natural Products Network". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  15. ^ "SABINA: Southern African Biochemistry and Informatics for Natural Products Network". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  16. ^ "SSAWRN: Sub-Saharan Africa Water Resources Network". Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  17. ^ "WIO-RISE: Western Indian Ocean Regional Initiative". Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  18. ^ IMS Director. "institute of marine sciences IMS, taasisi ya sayansi za bahari". University of Dar es Salaam. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  19. ^ "UEM - Escola Superior de Ciencias Costeiras e Marinhas". Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  20. ^ "The UCT Department of Oceanography". Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  21. ^ "AMMSI". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  22. ^ "SIG Partnerships: AMMSI". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  23. ^ "AMMSI Postgraduate Scholarships". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  24. ^ "International Mathematical Union: Commission for Developing Countries". Retrieved 2015-03-19. 

External links[edit]