Monthly Archives: August, 2016

Science Africa UnConference Speakers Announced

The highly anticipated #ScienceAfrica UnConferencec has announced three high-level speakers for the event, which takes place next month.

The first is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Program Officer, Kedest Tesfagiorgis, who is responsible for the Grand Challenges initiative. Her work focuses on providing funding for scientific research and technological innovations aimed at solving some of the most serious health issues the world is facing. The programme is particularly focused on Africa, where many serious health challenges continue to threaten the population, including malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Tesfagiorgis is a keen and dedicated health advocate from Ethiopia. She has been working the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for many years and was instrumental in setting up the Grand Challenges Exploration segment of the programme, which allows researchers to apply for funding to solve specific health problems.

The second high-profile speaker now confirmed for the conference is Dr Thomas Kariuki from Kenya. Recently appointed Director of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) at the African Academy of Science, Dr Kariuki is an acclaimed and experienced biomedical scientist. He will be the first director at the newly established AESA, which will seek to raise funding for new research into pan-African health issues.

The third speaker to be announced by the Planet Earth Institute is Professor Charlotte Watts from the UK. Professor Watts is the Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of International Development, commonly known as DFID. Professor Watts will give the keynote presentation at the conference. As well as her work with DFID, Professor Watts has spent 20 years researching HIV, gained numerous educational awards in economics and social sciences as well as medicine.

The three speakers will add to the already busy line up of speakers and workshop leaders. Alongside the aforementioned persons, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, Lord Paul Boateng and HE President Gurib-Fakim will also attend the conference, each offering their own unique contribution to the days events.

The conference will take place on September 14th at Kensington Town Hall in London. Tickets are still available.

#ScienceAfrica UnConference Details Published

The full details of the Planet Earth Institute’s #ScienceAfrica UnConference have now been published. The event is titled, ‘Generation Science: Empowering Africa’s future scientific leaders’ and will focus on how policy makers and business can overcome the problem of Africa’s growing youth bulge.

Africa’s youth bulge is well documented phenomenon, whereby the continent has witnessed an explosive growth in the number of young people over the last decades. The emergence of this new generation of African youth poses opportunities and obstacles for the continents development.

The event has been organised in cooperation with numerous high-profile partners, including the World Bank, the United Nations Environmental Programme and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. More than 200 delegates representing a variety of business sectors, academic institutions, policy bodies and civil society groups will be present during the course of the day.

Delegates will be asked to give their expert views and opinions on how to deal with Africa’s youth bulge. The Planet Earth Institute hopes the conference will result in actionable strategies and solutions being developed that participants and the institute can begin working towards.

The #ScienceAfrica UnConference will take place on September 14th, 9:00am – 6:30pm (British Summer Time). The conference will be held at Kensington Town Hall on Horton Street in London, United Kingdom. The Event is free and more information is available by sending an email to following address:

The conference will be hosted by Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng and HE President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. Also in attendance will be Planet Earth Institute Chairman Dr Alvaro Sobrinho and other members of the foundations board, members of African governments and representatives of some of the world’s most successful companies.

PEI Holds Future Women Leaders in Science Week

furture women leaders in STEM

As part of the Planet Earth Institute’s Science and Technology Enrolment Programme (STEP), the organisation hosted a week long event for 100 secondary school students entitled ‘Future Women Leaders in STEM’.

The event brought together a diverse group of experts, speakers, teachers and workshop leaders, who presented topics such as marine science, wildlife, engineering and everyday science. The four day programme also included a session looking at the career options that studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) can offer.

The STEP programme, explained Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, is a way “students can experience new and exciting elements of science, and understand its huge variations, forms and potential benefits”. Ensuring that women and girls have the opportunity to benefit from and contribute to the scientific advancement of Africa is of the upmost importance.

The end of the week long event concluded with a prize giving ceremony and a closing speech from Professor Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. Basu claimed that women and girls will play a crucial role in Africa’s scientific revolution. President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim echoed this view, explaining that “it is critical that we inspire young people, especially young women, to pursue the sciences and realise the difference it can make to the country and the world”.

The event was hosted at the Medine Educational Village in Mauritius and was sponsored by a variety of organisations including the Mauritius Commercial Bank, WiseOceans, Casela World Adventures and the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre. Alongside making financial contributions several of the partners took part in organising educational activities for the 100 girls attending the event. Casela Adventures arranged hands-on activities working with animals. WiseOceans lead marine science and climate change courses, emphasising the importance of caring for the natural world.

The event ended with a prize giving ceremony. Outstanding students from the week were award prizes for the efforts by the Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, Lord Paul Boateng and Sir Magdi Yacoub.