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The Republic of Science meets the Republics of Somewhere: Embedding scientific excellence in sub-Saharan Africa

Chataway, Joanna; Daniels, Chux

How can international and regional actors on the one hand, and national actors on the other hand, align and realign practice, funding and support to ensure embedded excellence in science and research in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)? What are the roles, challenges, and opportunities for science granting councils (SGCs) – science or research councils, or agencies responsible for the funding and/or management of science and research in SSA – in embedding scientific excellence in SSA? In this chapter, we examine the notion of embeddedness, or relevance, of scientific excellence to national development agenda. We discuss actions that SGCs can take to foster and support embedded excellence in science and research in SSA. We argue that the notion of excellence needs to extend beyond the traditional metrics, such as publications and citations, if science and research are to be relevant to national contexts. We maintain that in order to embed scientific excellence in SSA, adequate alignment and realignment of the various agenda (of international, regional and national actors), practice, funding and support for science and research in Africa will be necessary. To achieve this goal, SGCs in SSA will require greater ownership of their research agenda, autonomy, resource, vision and alliances. Grounding the ‘Republic of Science’ in the realities of national contexts will require this. Furthermore, a set of ‘capitals’, strengthened capabilities, and capacities will be needed to support the process of embedding excellence at the national level.

Published by African Minds.
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