Many young scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa take an interest in neglected and underutilized species but their research proposals often lack a holistic value chain perspective. A second challenge is to communicate research results effectively, especially to non-scientists who would use the new knowledge for innovation.
If scientists target their research to address real constraints in the value chains of crops such as Bambara groundnut and amaranth, and communicates the findings well, the results can be extremely useful to the value chain actors. The project is developing such capacity in the following countries:
In 2014, the project trained 75 young scientists in writing research projects proposals on neglected and underutilized species in general and for Bambara groundnut and amaranth in particular. Three regional week-long training courses were held, in Kenya, Togo and Zimbabwe, respectively.
In 2015, the training activities focused on science communication. Three regional workshops addressed how to communicate research results effectively to both scientist and non-scientists. Seventy-four young scientists attended the courses, which were organized by the national project partners in Benin, Kenya and Zimbabwe and facilitated by the international partners IFS, Bioversity International and ANAFE.
The course had two themes. Part 1 focused on how to get your research published in scientific journals or as posters at scientific conferences. How to avoid ‘predatory’ journals was one appreciated lesson.
Part II then discussed how to communicate key results to non-scientists who might use the new knowledge to improve policies, programmes and practices. The trainees addressed questions such as ‘What is your key result?’, ‘Who needs to know about this?’ ‘What communication strategy would you use with this target group?’ and ‘How to write for the Web?’
The project also provides expert evaluation of proposals and mentoring of young scientists who are preparing grant applications, such as the International Foundation for Science (IFS) granting programme. The aim is to increase young scientists’ chances of funding their research