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The Next Generation of Scientists

Young scientists are a powerful resource for change and sustainable development, as they drive innovation and knowledge creation. However, comparable findings on young scientists in various countries, especially in Africa and developing regions, are generally sparse. Therefore, empirical knowledge on the state of early-career scientists is critical in order to address current challenges faced by those scientists in Africa.

 

This book reports on the main findings of a three-and-a-half-year international project in order to assist its readers in better understanding the African research system in general, and more specifically its young scientists. The first part of the book provides background on the state of science in Africa, and bibliometric findings concerning Africa’s scientific production and networks, for the period 2005 to 2015. The second part of the book combines the findings of a large-scale, quantitative survey and more than 200 qualitative interviews to provide a detailed profile of young scientists and the barriers they face in terms of five aspects of their careers: research output; funding; mobility; collaboration; and mentoring. In each case, field and gender differences are also taken into account. The last part of the book comprises conclusions and recommendations to relevant policy- and decision-makers on desirable changes to current research systems in Africa.

One world, many knowledges: Regional experiences and cross-regional links in higher education

Various forms of academic co-operation criss-cross the modern university system in a bewildering number of ways, from the open exchange of ideas and knowledge, to the sharing of research results, and frank discussions about research challenges. Embedded in these scholarly networks is the question of whether a ‘global template’ for the management of both higher education and national research organisations is necessary, and if so, must institutions slavishly follow the high-flown language of the global ‘knowledge society’ or risk falling behind in the ubiquitous university ranking system?Or are there alternatives that can achieve a better, ‘more ethically inclined, world’?

Basing their observations on their own experiences, an interesting mix of seasoned scholars and new voices from southern Africa and the Nordic region offer critical perspectives on issues of inter- and cross-regional academic co-operation. Several of the chapters also touch on the evolution of the higher education sector in the two regions.

An absorbing and intelligent study, this book will be invaluable for anyone interested in the strategies scholars are using to adapt to the interconnectedness of the modern world. It offers fresh insights into how academics are attempting to protect the spaces in which they can freely and openly debate the challenges they face, while aiming to transform higher education, and foster scholarly collaboration.