Celebrating a year in the development of Africa’s scientific capabilities, the Planet Earth Institute has published an end-of-year round up documenting the major successes of 2016. The organisation has gone from strength to strength over the course of the year, creating new partnerships with prestigious organisations, successfully launching several new programmes and hosting prominent, development focused events.
The Planet Earth Institute was particularly proud of launching the HE Ameenah Gurib-Fakim PhD Scholarship Programme, which had been in the pipe line for some time. The programme awarded the first 10 PhD scholarships during the summer. Over the next decade the Planet Earth Institute hopes the programme will fund a total of 10,000 PhDs, with more funding released each year.
The Institute reached out to high school students for the first time with the Science, Technology Enrolment Programme (STEP), which hosted interactive study days in schools and around Mauritius and Angola. The programme aims to rectify the low enrolment rates into science and mathematics tracts by African students. The Institute believes that a high-quality science education will ensure that African students have the skills they need to thrive in Africa’s fast developing economy. Having reached some 500 students in 2016, the Planet Earth Institute hopes to reach many more in the coming year, particularly in Angola, where the programme has only just begun.
Encouraging young Africans to pursue a scientific career was also the topic of a conference hosted by the Planet Earth Institute in London. The conference brought together a wide variety of experts, government officials and business leaders to discuss the creation of a new generation of scientific leaders in Africa. A day of speeches, lectures, presentations and workshops were organised, including a speech from Planet Earth Institute chairman, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho.
Finally, the Planet Earth Institute received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to drum up funding for research and development on the continent. This project will be carried out in 2017, along with the continuation of the scholarship programme, STEP and the Planet Earth Institute’s other ongoing campaigns.