The MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) have partnered with the African Research Excellence Fund (AREF) and launched mentoring scheme to support the development and advancement of female scientists across Africa. The programme is called Women of the World of Science (WOWS) Allies and Mentorship Scheme.
Science and innovation are rapidly expanding across Africa, but recent data suggests that fewer women consider applying for fellowship programmes to travel abroad because of caring responsibilities and cultural barriers. This is limiting the number of women progressing into scientific study and career across the continent.
The launch of this pilot is timely as the world becomes more reliant on digital and virtual tools and is finding ways to maintain connections during the current global public health situation. This pilot project will run from March 2020-December 2020 with 8 hand-picked mentor-mentee pairs who will meet each month using virtual tools. We have developed this project to tackle these issues and support women to progress in science by providing a sustainable platform for meaningful mentorship between female scientists in Africa and the UK.
Mentees selected for the scheme come from 6 countries across Africa including Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia, and their research areas include HIV medicine, crop sequencing and genomics and communicable diseases and many more. Each mentee has been matched with a senior female scientist from across the UK within their research field as we celebrate and utilise an inspiring global network of female scientists, including those united through our Suffrage Science Awards scheme.
Through this scheme we hope that mentors will be able to provide advice and guidance from their own experience for the mentee, enabling them to take the next step in their career or development.