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Why it’s important to improve Africa’s research output

- Sharon Fonn

Pasha 111: It is crucial to improve research training in Africa. This can help solve complex issues on the continent.

Research output across the African continent is really low. Many institutions that produce research are severely underdeveloped and underfunded. Many also have a major focus on undergraduate degrees and enrolments. This drive for an undergraduate degree has means that postgraduate education and research is falling short.

Improving research on the continent requires a massive shift. But to get this right means investing more in universities and in research centres and in research. This would include improving public private partnerships in research institutions, research and development in industry, think tanks, innovation hubs, incubators that can test proof concepts and new technologies and commercialisation

Basically, an entire system needs to be invested in.

A major part of this is that PhD studies need supporting. PhD’s are critical to contributing knowledge because they fill a gap in research. PhD’s help facilitate independent research and help people think through what the questions are that need answering. PhD’s across a variety of fields are critical. Research on vaccines, economies, coal and psychology, for example, are all aspects that need research.

In today’s episode of Pasha Sharon Fonn, a Professor of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand and co-director at the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) discusses how improving research would make a positive mark.