With a population of approximately 1.03 billion in 2011, and a growth rate of 24 million per annum, Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050. Africa’s chances of halving poverty and hunger by 2015 remain slim. The continent needs to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner as well as find endogenous solutions to respond to the twin challenges of climate change and volatile food and energy prices. Increasing investments in the agricultural sector and more specifically in science, technology and innovation is seen as a viable option for achieving broad-based agricultural led economic growth, equity and prosperity.
This competition seeks to promoteexcellence and recognize and reward outstanding young professionals who are undertaking scientific and innovative research, technology and engineering related development activities and communicating the outputs (knowledge, technologies and approaches) to improve agricultural performance and socio-economic development in Africa.
Who can participate?
Young professionals (25-40 years) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), North Africa and the Diaspora are encouraged to participate. Individual and group entries will be accepted. The role and contribution of the young professional(s) must be clearly demonstrated in group submissions. Entries should demonstrate effective partnerships and combination of skills and/or engagement with peers and or rural communities.
What is the scope?
Any science, technology and innovation (ST&I) related research and development activity linked to the topic “Feeding 1 billion in Africa in a changing world” which has been undertaken within the last five years and shows measurable impact (potential or demonstrated) on agricultural development or rural livelihoods in Africa, is eligible. Thematic areas include: (i) increasing agricultural productivity and food security; (ii) postharvest handling and value addition; (iii) environmental and eco-system sustainability – climate change, water, soil and biodiversity; (iv) policy, economics and trade; (v) tertiary education, knowledge management and ICTs; and (vi) agricultural machinery/engineering including processing and packaging. Communication strategies, methods and tools used to disseminate results - scientific findings, technologies, or approaches must be included.
Entrants are required to submit an extended abstract (1000 – 2000 words) that clearly details the ST&I project. The heading “Young Professionals in Science”, name and full contact details; official mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address must appear at the top of the first page. The abstract should include the title, brief background, objective(s), methodology/approach, results, discussion, conclusion, communication strategy, methods and tools used for sharing outputs and impact (potential or demonstrated). Passport page showing proof of age and citizenship must be submitted with the entry. Extended abstract and passport page should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and copied to email@example.com. The deadline for submission is 14th May, 2012. Abstracts received after the deadline will not be considered. Criteria for evaluation include logic (10%), content (20%), communication (20%), impact (20%), innovation (15%) and originality (15%).
Evaluation (Stage I)
Abstracts received by May 14th, 2012 will be evaluated by a panel of experts including scientists, policy makers, farmers, gender and information and communication experts. The top 20 semi-finalists will be announced on 11th July, 2012. They will be sponsored to attend a scientific writing and communication workshop which will be held in conjunction with the 3rd RUFORUM biennial conference, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania from 24-28th September, 2012. Semi-finalists will be required to submit full draft papers of not more than 4 – 6 pages by 13th August, 2012. Failure to submit draft papers in keeping with the competition guidelines by 13th August will result in immediate disqualification.
Evaluation (Stage II)
Final papers are to be submitted by 16th November 2012. All final papers will be evaluated by the expert panel to select the 10 top finalists who will compete for the cash awards, prizes and trophies during the Finals and Award Ceremony in June 2013. All semi-finalists who meet the 16th November deadline for submission of final papers will be invited to the 6th Africa Science Week andFARA General Assembly scheduled for June 2013, in Accra, Ghana.
The Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (ACP-EU), the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), the International Foundation for Science (IFS), the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), in collaboration with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
 African nationals working or studying abroad and doing research on African issues linked to/and contributing to Africa’s development. Proof of citizenship is required.