Kigali to host Next Einstein Forum

Rwanda will host the second edition of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Global Gathering 2018, which is expected to take place on March 26-28, at the Kigali Convention Centre (KCC). It will be the first time the country will be hosting the NEF Global Gathering.

The forum, an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), is an international scientific biennial conference that convenes experts and participants to showcase science, innovation and technology breakthroughs from the African continent, organisers say.

According to the organisers, the decision to host the summit was reached in 2015 after Rwanda agreed to host the AIMS base.

“President Kagame invited the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), which NEF is a part of, to make Kigali its home base and also offered to host the NEF Global Gathering 2018,” Nathalie Munyampenda, the managing director of NEF said.

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is a Pan African network of centres of excellence that offers quality postgraduate education, research innovation and public engagement for the advancement of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in Africa’s transformation journey.

Munyampenda told The New Times that they expect to host between 1,200 and 1,500 delegates from all over Africa and the world, and believes that Rwanda will greatly benefit from this global gathering.

“Obviously, having 1,500 people in the country for four days (10 if you include pre-events) is good for the economy. It is an opportunity for local researchers to network, establish collaborations with top level researchers from Africa and the world,” she said, adding that the government and private sector have the opportunity to make bigger deals with the organisations that will be attending.

She said that the forum will provide some strategic foresight, including trends in all sectors, but also what the future looks like in research in various sectors, which she said is good for Rwanda.

At the forum, planned sessions will unpack the underlying theme; “Connecting Science to Humanity” with four sub-themes, including connectivity, ubiquity and mobility, climate, energy, food and growth, precision health, as well as building Africa’s scientific capacity.

“We believe these four sub-themes are relevant not only for Africa, but for the world,” Munyampenda noted, adding that they will be releasing a paper on the knowledge-led economy, which will be subject of discussion for the NEF presidential panel.

One of the highlights of the gathering will be the unveiling of the results of a survey on the gender gap in STEM education and research. Side events and workshops are also expected to take place, including the Gender Summit Africa, Pan African Robotics competition, and the Global State of Young Scientists (GloSYS) forum aimed at identifying barriers and opportunities to improve the state of young Scientists in Africa.

The gathering will also draw participants from renowned institutions like the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), African Academy of Sciences (AAS), US National Science Foundation, German Research Foundation DFG, Johnson & Johnson, Bloomberg School of Public Health, World Academy of Sciences, and IBM Research, just to mention a few.

Organisers indicate that the inaugural NEF Global Gathering which took place in 2016 in Dakar, Senegal, brought together 1,258 participants from 79 countries.

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