Accelerating the Pace of Scientific Discovery

Africa is home to 15% of the world’s population and 5% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) but accounts for just 1.3% of global investment in research and development (R&D).

A New Generation of Scientists

For the continent to achieve even the world average for the number of researchers per million inhabitants, it will need to rapidly train one million new PhDs. This will require an enormous investment in people, places and programmes to ensure that we are truly successful in shifting the center of gravity for African science to Africa.

AESA was established by the African Academy of Sciences and NEPAD to address this challenge.

AESA is supporting the best minds in Africa to promote scientific excellence and research leadership in a trans-disciplinary environment. It is also designing and implementing programmes that will catalyse innovations with the potential for transformational impact in the health and developmental challenges on the continent and globally. AESA will initially focus on research related to health and wellbeing and later expand to other areas such as food and nutrition, energy, and environment.

AESA has adopted the following strategic approaches:

  • Targeting critical gaps in the research landscape such as infrastructure, skills and funding
  • Building R&D environments that support a vibrant research culture and leadership development in the long-term
  • Supporting the development of an innovation and entrepreneurial culture
  • Identifying and supporting rising research leaders to be impactful as they build their careers


AESA provides competitive grants to attract the best minds to work in science and to support African scientists to develop their ideas and careers to enable them to produce quality and relevant research to inform policy and impact health and developmental challenges on the continent and globally. AESA also runs proposal writing workshops to support scientists’ understanding of funders’ requirements, the proposal development process and the proposal evaluation process.


AESA supports capacity building to create facilities and research environments to attract and retain world class scientists.


We collaborate with partners in and outside Africa to ensure science, technology and innovation programmes are adequately funded to maximise impact.