In the frame of a selection conference held on May 23-26, 2018, at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Limbe / Cameroon, a total of nine young researchers had the opportunity to present their plans to an international review panel. The short-listed applicants, who had submitted applications for a further three or two years of project funding, included junior and senior fellows currently supported by the Volkswagen Foundation via the funding initiative "Knowledge for Tomorrow – Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa". The candidates presented their projects on two consecutive days and were individually interviewed on their research by the panel of experts. Parallel to this, the postdocs were also able to participate in workshops where they could deepen their knowledge of statistical methods and corresponding software.
The Foundation is now supporting the seven successful young researchers with a total of 565,000 euro. The lucky seven, including three female researchers, come from Madagascar, Benin, Uganda, Cameroon and Kenya. Their range of topics encompasses, among others, sustainable land use, resource efficiency, biodiversity and biological pest control.
In the course of their projects, the fellows will be closely supervised and able to attend workshops to train soft skills. Mentors will provide support in the implementation of their projects – but also in individual career development. Coordinator of the call for proposals "Resources, their Dynamics, and Sustainability – Capacity Development in Comparative and Integrated Approaches" is Prof. Dr. Hartmut Stützel from the Institute of Horticultural Production Systems at the University of Hanover. Together with Prof. Dr. Mama Foupouagnigni from AIMS, his team also helped to prepare and organize the selection proceedings.
The postdoctoral programs in six different disciplines (Neglected Tropical Diseases, Natural Resources, Livelihood Management, Engineering, Social Sciences and the Humanities) enable early career researchers to implement their own projects at scientific institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. Future calls will only address postdocs already funded by the Foundation. For more information on the initiative, please see "Knowledge for Tomorrow – Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa".