2nd Workshop, Hannover, 25-28 November 2015
The second workshop for the 2014 fellows was hosted by the Institute of Horticultural Production Systems in Hannover from 25 to 28 November.
In Hannover, the progress of the research projects was presented together with the German counterparts and the fellows participated in several soft skill workshops, such as stress management, Social science research methods and systems modeling.
On the last day, the fellows visited the Nationalpark Harz and the historic city center of Goslar.
Kick-off workshop fellows (2014-2017) and closing workshop junior fellows (2010-2013), 16-22 March 2015
To discuss issues related to the upcoming project work, a Kick-off meeting for the new selected fellows (2014-2017) of the Volkswagen Foundation´s Africa Initiative was held in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
There they met the junior fellows from the previous funding period (2010-2013) on their closing workshop and had the opportunity to participate in several joint activities.
In addition to the project presentations, sessions on proposal writing, research ethics and research funding were offered as well as an interesting joint excursion to the biodiversity hotspots in the Antananarivo region.
Selection Conference "Natural Resources 2014", 18-20 June 2014
The Volkswagen Foundation´s Africa initiative "Knowledge for Tomorrow – Cooperative Research in Sub-Sahara Africa" and the Institute for Horticultural Production systems of the Leibniz Universität Hannover hosted the international selection conference „Natural Resources“ for African junior researchers and postdocs in Hannover. The focus was on selecting candidates for the research fellowship of the Volkswagen Foundation.
The invited candidates were applicants for Senior Fellowships, who partly already have been funded by Volkswagen Foundation, as well as for Junior Fellowships, who applied for the first time for a Volkswagen Foundation grant. At the conference the fellows presented their projects and were also in interviewed by a selection committee. In addition, a workshop on scientific writing was organized and the participants could also enjoy a cultural program in Hannover. The topics of the scientific projects ranged from research on water quality and soil degradation to agricultural pest management and biodiversity conservation. After the conference, an international team of six renowned reviewers will decide on which scientific projects will receive a fellowship.
Grantee´s Meeting 2013, Schloss Herrenhausen
From 13 to 15 October 2013 the scientific conference “Grantee´s Meeting 2013” organized by Volkswagen Foundation and Leibniz Universität Hannover took place with 213 invited international guests in the impressive location of Schloss Herrenhausen in Hannover. The meeting was hosted in the framework of Volkswagen Foundation´s Africa initiative “Knowledge for Tomorrow - Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa”, which was first set up in 2008.
The intent of the joint meeting was to discuss possibilities and challenges for research in Africa in order to stimulate new insights and knowledge for a sustainable scientific environment in Africa as well as for the needs of African scholars in the international scientific community. The main focus was on interdisciplinary research and gave the African fellows a valuable opportunity to reflect and exchange their research with other grantees working in all the funding initiative’s different thematic areas. Guest speakers from renowned research and funding institutions contributed to the discussion with their keynote lectures and presentations. In addition, the program offered thematic workshops on research funding and science careers as well as a poster session, where all the fellows displayed their major achievements regionally clustered.
The invited participants included 64 African junior fellows, their 18 German postdoctoral partners, the 13 coordinators of the six different thematic areas of the initiative, as well as guest speakers, panelists and various special guests from renowned research institutions, the project leaders and representatives from Volkswagen Foundation and Leibniz Universität Hannover. Also present was a delegation from Tanzania lead by the Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training.
Third Workshop, 13-17 December 2012, Chant d’Oiseau, Cotonou (Benin)
Almost one year after the last workshop in Bonn (Germany) the fellows, their mentors from the mentorship program and representatives of the Volkswagen Foundation and the Leibniz Universität Hannover came together in Cotonou (Benin) for a midterm workshop. In the framework of this workshop the fellows presented their research and career progress which induced fruitful discussions with the mentors of the mentorship program. Other topics addressed “Successful collaborative research and networking” and “What is good leadership?”.
A field trip to the “Songhai Project” (http://www.songhai.org), located at the capital city Port Novo, gave all participants an impressive insight into the Songhai mission “to develop alternatives allowing Africans to stand on their feet through agricultural entrepreneurship in an integrated development framework, enhancing agriculture, industry and services.”
We would like to thank all participants for their great contribution to the workshop and hence, to the VW Natural Resources Program itself.
Workshop GSI Bonn, 15-18 January 2012
To discuss the progress made and problems encountered during the first ten months of fellowship, a workshop was held in Bonn together with the fellows, their postdoctoral counterparts and representatives of the Volkswagen Foundation and the Leibniz Universität Hannover.
In addition, strategic considerations of career planning were addressed and the fellows presented their personal career plans.
Kick-off Workshop AICAD Kenya, 21-28 May 2011
To discuss issues related to the upcoming project work, a Kick-off meeting was held in Nairobi together with the fellows and organizers. The workshop took place at the African Institute for Capacity Development for the period of May 21-28, 2011. The workshop dealed with several relevant topics such as experimental design and statistical evaluation, carreer development strategies, aspects of proposal writing and writing scientific papers, and also provided the opportunity to interact and establish networks.
Natural Resources 2010
The Institute for Biological Production Systems of the Leibniz Universität Hannover successfully hosted the conference “Natural Resources 2010” within the Africa-Initiative of the Volkswagen Foundation.
The conference took place at the Leibnizhaus in the historic city center of Hannover from Monday, 25th October – Wednesday, 27th October 2010.
The overall intention of the Foundation´s Africa Initiative and the call “Resources, their Dynamics and Sustainability – Capacity Development in Comparative and Integrated Approaches” within the initiative is to provide junior scholars in Sub-Saharan Africa with opportunities to enhance their skills and academic qualifications. In addition, the funding program aims at establishing and reinforcing scientific networks.
At the conference, the young African postdoctoral scientists (List of participants) presented their research projects in the field of natural resources, and were subsequently interviewed by a peer-review committee in order to select the most promising scholars who will be awarded a research fellowship. Also invited to the conference were the German postdoctoral counterparts of the applicants from Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Dr. Detlef Hanne, Coordinator of the Volkswagen Foundation´s Africa-Initiative, the conference was a great success, because it "demonstrated that junior researchers from Africa are able to present research projects, which are relevant as well as internationally competitive. The support provided by the Foundation is full in line with its strategic approach to offer opportunities for potential future leaders in Sub-Sahara Africa."