Science and policy summit: To provide a direct link between scientists and policy makers early in the project, we will organize a 1-day summit in Gabon and Cameroon in year 1 so that participating scientists can present the objectives of the project and obtain input from the decision-making community. We will hold a similar summit in year 5 for participants to summarize their findings.
Building science capacity for women and other professionals via COACh: COACh (originally the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists, but which now serves a broader range of individuals and disciplines) is a grass-roots organization that is funded by various federal funding agencies and private foundations. COACh has been successfully developing and providing such training workshops over the past decade to thousands of women faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral associates in science and engineering across the U.S. and other countries. These workshops are focused on effective leadership, negotiation and communication skills and provide much needed tools and mentoring opportunities for participants that often lack mentoring and opportunities to obtain these critical skills. Such is the case for many female scientists in developing countries such as Cameroon and Gabon. COACh recently ran such a workshop for science faculty and graduate students in Cameroon. This highly successful and well-attended workshop demonstrated that there is a clear need for such training and that a workshop of this nature can provide invaluable career advice that transcends international boundaries.
We will offer four such workshops to PIRE participants in Cameroon and Gabon that will be linked to the professional development workshops annually from 2013 - 2016. The exact topics of the workshops will be determined through a strategic planning initiative conducted with women scientists in Cameroon and Gabon, so that it is specifically tailored to the priorities of the women in those countries. Our experience is that the materials covered in these workshops (e.g., strategies for how to negotiate for critical resources and how to effectively present research to different audiences) are also of value to emerging scientists (both men and women) so aspects of these workshops will be included in the training programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows throughout the program.
Research symposia: In 2015 and 2017, we will organize a research symposium that will be held in either Yaoundé (Cameroon) or Franceville (Gabon). The goal of this one-week symposium will be to bring together all project researchers and students and other regional scientists to present their findings, exchange ideas and network.