The United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) respectfully invites the general public to a seminar. The aim of UNU-INRA seminar series is to share and discuss findings of research conducted by the Institute’s scholars with the public. This upcoming seminar will discuss a topic on “becoming a scientist and doing science in (and out) of Africa: experiences of Ghanaian and Ugandan scientists of international collaboration in research and PhD training”.
Date: Thursday, 1st June, 2017
Venue: UNU-INRA Office, 2nd Floor, International House, University of Ghana campus, Legon, Accra
Details of the Seminar
Becoming a scientist and doing science in (and out) of Africa: Experiences of Ghanaian and Ugandan scientists of international collaboration in research and PhD training, by Dr. Eren Zink
In the absence of significant national investments in scientific research, most agricultural and medical research in sub-Saharan Africa is carried out in collaboration with foreign scientists, and/or foreign donors. The advantages of international partners (e.g. funding, networks, and scientific equipment) combined with their distance from their African partners (both geographically and in terms of lived experience), pose a challenge to African counterparts who seek to define and conceptualize research projects and research training programs that can address local needs and priorities.
This seminar will draw on research findings from an anthropological study that explores the experiences and perspectives of Ugandan and Ghanaian scientists as they try to overcome the inherent imbalances in power in international scientific collaborations. It will offer examples of collaboration that range from the neo-colonial and extractive, to true partnership based upon mutual respect and shared scientific goals. The presentation will highlight some of the strategies used by Ugandan and Ghanaian scientists to enable more equal partnerships, as well as their perception of the personal and professional opportunities and risks associated with international partnerships. Ultimately, the study is intended to generate lessons learned that can lead to a more equal balance of power among partners engaged in science and science training in Uganda and Ghana, and in developing countries in general.
The seminar presentation will draw on data gathered from questionnaire surveys and anthropological fieldwork (including interviews and participant observation) carried out during (2013-2017) among scientists and science leaders in Uganda and Ghana who work in agriculture, natural resources and health science fields. Beyond presenting research results, the seminar format will encourage discussion and debate around issues related to international partnerships in scientific research.
About the Speaker
Dr. Eren Zink (PhD, Uppsala University, Sweden; MA University of Cincinnati, USA; BA Kenyon College, USA) is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University, Sweden, as well as a Coordinator of the Forum for Africa Studies at the same university. He is an Affiliated Researcher at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, and a Visiting Scientist at the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) in Accra, Ghana. During 2000-2007, he worked at the International Foundation for Science where he was a Scientific Programme Coordinator.
His research interests include science and technology studies, higher education, economic anthropology and political ecology, and he has carried out research in Uganda, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Vietnam. Dr. Zink’s current research in Uganda and Ghana is funded by the Swedish Research Council.