ORIGINAL PLANNED ACTIVITIES

In order to fulfill its goals, AMMSI has put In place plans to undertake the activities described in the following sub-sections.

Research

Research is essential for the discovery of knowledge and the application of the findings for the benefit of society. It is rare for faculty members in Africa to have sufficient funds, or time from teaching and administrative duties, to perform their own research. One of the highest priorities of the AMMSI is to provide the opportunity to do so and, where appropriate, to support demonstrations of the application of mathematical work to societal needs. This will be done through various activities, for instance:

  • Support of basic and applied research with special emphasis given to the role of mathematics in interdisciplinary projects with other sciences.
  • Award of research scientist fellowships to enable staff to conduct research at other institutions while on leave from their home universities.

Support for the planning and design of research projects and for African mathematicians to participate in international research programmes that involve the application of mathematics.

Training and Education

In order to have a strong research and training culture, a “critical mass” of graduate students is required at universities. This critical mass is essential to:

  1. Create a dynamic and interactive learning environment for students.
  2. Add energy and youthful perspective to faculty research.
  3. Assist in teaching undergraduates

In most sub-Saharan African countries, such critical mass is not available in mathematics programmes. Training also needs to involve university lecturers, as they often want to deepen their understanding of mathematics and upgrade their skills to enhance professional abilities. The AMMSI therefore proposes to undertake a number of activities in order to strengthen training and education in mathematics and its applications in African universities, for instance:

  • Award of postgraduate scholarships for MSc and Ph.D. training;
  • Award of visiting scientist fellowships to enable staff from other institutions, locally and abroad, to participate in postgraduate training of students;
  • Promotion of the teaching of postgraduate mathematics courses at regional, instead of institutional, levels in order to increase postgraduate class sizes and make effective use of the limited expertise and teaching capacity;
  • Support for staff to make presentations at professional meetings; Provide grants to produce or obtain textbooks, journals, and other teaching materials.

Linkages and Networks

In Africa, the practice and teaching of mathematics are gravely hampered by the relative isolation of mathematicians from one another. This isolation is largely a function of the small population of mathematicians and the large distances between them. The AMMSI intends to support linkages, networks, and movement of mathematicians that can foster more collaborative activities and, to some extent, combat the relative isolation of mathematicians, through several mechanisms, for example:

  • Facilitating the organization of professional meetings to enable African mathematicians have outlet or means of gaining recognition among their peers and broadening their professional network;
  • Support for national and regional mathematics organizations in Africa that are dormant because of lack of support by the governments and the private sector;
  • Supporting the assemblage and maintenance of a database on African mathematicians, including their areas of interest and major contributions.

Outreach and Public Education

Members of the general public commonly have little understanding of the pervasive importance of mathematics to everyday life and to the performance of scientific research. Mathematicians can do much to educate the public about the power and interest of their field, which in turn would promote broader support for the discipline. Consequently, the AMMSI will, for instance:

Initiate public lectures and exhibitions that provide non-technical expositions of mathematics and its applications;

  • Support the participation of students in mathematics Olympiads at the national, regional and international levels as an important way for the African students to develop an interest in mathematics;
  • Promote the use of various channels by which mathematicians can communicate with non-mathematicians, such as television, video cassettes, CD-ROMs, and internet sites;
  • Promote the establishment of linkages between academic researchers and private industry;
  • Initiate an annual award of AMMSI Prizes for excellence in research and distinguished contribution to mathematics and its applications.

Start a programme called The African Woman in Mathematics that will involve workshops, lectures and other activities specifically designed to stimulate the interest of female students in schools and universities across Africa, in mathematics and its applications.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Information and communications technology, which has become essential to modern nations and scientists, is still weak in many parts of Africa and most institutions therein lack one or more of the following essential ingredients for ICT needed to support modern academic science. The AMMSI will therefore support ICT for research and education in universities and schools.

 

 

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