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Bit of Advice

A new network has been launched in Africa to provide governments there with scientific advice to guide policy, writes James Wilsdon from the University of Sheffield at the Guardian.

The INGSA-Africa network is an outgrowth of the International Network for Government Science Advice, which was itself started in 2014, and it has the support of International Council for Science. According to Wilsdon, who is the vice-chair of INGSA, "INGSA-Africa aims to support scientists, policymakers, practitioners, and national academies to share experience, build capacity, and strengthen the use of scientific evidence in policy across the continent."

He adds that it was launched following a training workshop in South Africa for early career researchers. The workshop only had space for 45 attendees, but some 600 people applied for those spots, suggesting an unmet need in the region, Wilsdon says. INGSA-Africa plans to address that through additional training sessions in Senegal, Ethiopia, and Egypt.

"[A]s Africa's research base strengthens, the next task is to bring more of its evidence and expertise into decision making, in ways that can help to meet local priorities and global goals," he adds.