The African Leadership Academy for Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development (ALASTID)
ACTS has long been a premier capacity building institution in harnessing applications of science, technology and innovation policy for development in Africa. Through partnerships with leading global universities, research institutes, national councils for science and technology, government ministries and departments, we have provided doctoral, MA and certificate level training in science, technology and innovation policy for development to hundreds of African graduates and policymakers.
For the last ten years, ACTS has offered these types of courses through the ACTS Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI). ACTS has also undertaken other capacity building initiatives (e.g. internships, modular or curriculum development, online courses, faculty training or mentorship, PhD fellowships, PhD academies, scholarships, policy Master Classes, Executive Courses, Summer Schools and other nondegree training through its various projects and programmes).
To allow us to continue offering cutting edge, high quality, demand-driven, timely and regular capacity building services and support in harnessing applications of science, technology and innovation policy for development in Africa, ACTS has now consolidated all its capacity building efforts into a new programme or initiative: The African Leadership Academy for Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development (ALASTID). The purpose of ALASTID is to equip current and future policymakers, the professoriate, leaders of industry and civil society with skills to harness applications of science, technology and innovation for sustainable development in Africa.
Consistent with our mandate, ALASTID will emphasize capacity building emerging but strategic technologies in which Africa relatively lacks research, technical and analytical or policy capacity. The Leadership Academy will also focus on capacity building in ‘mature’ technologies with the largest potential for positive social, economic and ecological impact in Africa. Courses, internships, mentoring, fellowships, scholarships, summer schools, policy master classes, staff placements and curriculum development in ALASTID will be undertaken in collaboration with global and African universities, research institutes, national councils for science and technology, government departments and agencies, private sector, NGOs and civil society partners.
Courses and Accreditation
The courses are targeted at technical and management staff in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government ministries, research institutions and consultancy firms. They are run at ACTS headquarters and are accredited by a number of overseas universities. The object of this is to provide academic credibility and to enable universities themselves to play a more direct role. On the international front, the current candidate bodies are Penn State University (US), Harvard University (US), and Strathclyde University (UK).
This initiative is critical and timely. It comes at a time when the role of science and technology (S&T) in economic development is increasingly being recognized not just in the developed world, but in developing countries as well. More than ever, development institutions, not least the World Bank, are increasingly accepting and demonstrating strong correlations between the percentage of GDP spent in research and development and GDP per capita. Furthermore, S&T is increasingly becoming part of the agenda of both the international community and policy makers in developing countries. These strengthen prospects for the viability of the S&T Institute and for ACTS to realize its vision of "Better living standards for all in Africa through harnessing Science and Technology for sustainable development." The strategic expectation here is that through the Institute, ACTS is better placed to influence change and complement other strategies adopted by the African Governments to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In addition, the Institute strategically acts as a cost-recovery mechanism for ACTS and reduces the centre's over-reliance on donor funding.
The secretariat has undertaken further market research and participated in other relevant programmes. It found that though there are many capacity building courses across SSA most of these are designed as fairly narrow activities dealing with provision of specific skills. There still are no programmes dealing systematically with policy analysis capacity. As a result of these experiences ACTS decided to establish the Institute to meet the same need but to do so in a more cost effective manner.
Lists of courses
Under the programme of work for 2015, ALASTID plans to offer the following courses as policy master classes, executive Courses or summer schools:
- Low Carbon Economy Development in Africa
- Big Data Analytics and Economic Development
- Climate Compatible Development Policy and Practice in Africa
- Harnessing Applications of Nanotechnology for Sustainable Development in Africa
- Harnessing Applications of Space Sciences and Technologies for Socio-Economic Development in Africa
- Harnessing Applications of Nuclear Sciences and Technologies for Socio-Economic Development in Africa
- Local Content Development in the Extractive Industry Sector
- Africalics PhD Academy
- Innovation and Development
- Gender, Youth and Climate Change
- Research, Academic Writing and Publishing
- Proposal Writing and Fundraising