Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA)

It is for this reason that the African Union (AU) Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2015, endorsed the establishment of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) - a platform created by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the NEPAD Agency.

Housed at AAS headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, this pan-African platform offers an opportunity for long-term development of research leadership, scientific excellence and innovation that will impact on Africa’s developmental challenges. The AESA platform, among other things, is identifying challenges that hinder rapid scientific advancement in Africa, run open calls for proposals with transparent review processes, actively manage grants and evaluate and measure the impact of such investments. AESA promotes collaborative and coordinated implementation of the AU’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) in the area of health.

AESA specifically:

  • Contributes to setting the agenda for health research and innovation in Africa;

  • Provides competitive grants to train future generations of scientists who can produce quality research to inform health policy, and develop medical innovations that will reduce the continent’s disease burden;

  • Builds scientific capacity to create facilities and an environment to attract and retain world class scientists;

  • Mobilises resources from multiple domestic and international partners in order to ensure Science Technology and Innovation (STI) programmes are adequately supported to maximise their impact.

AESA’s success is built on strong buy-in by African leadership, to contribute to the development of science, technology and innovation in Africa and development of active partnerships with domestic and international stakeholders. AESA is engaging state and non-state actors on the continent in order to mobilise investment in accelerating excellence in science on the continent. Internationally AESA has already received the recognition and financial support of three partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WellcomeTrust and UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).  AESA is designing programmes to fund African research in partnership with these and other global funding agencies, and with various pan-African organisations. The first of the AESA programmes is the Wellcome Trust-funded, Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS), a US$70 million initiative to support the development of world class researchers in Africa by providing competitive grants to collaborative teams to conduct health research, offer training and mentorship and improve research infrastructure. Similar initiatives are being negotiated with other partners.