Africa is the only continent other than the Antarctica without a synchrotron light source. Building one would be crucial for supporting efforts to reduce the continent’s high disease burden and to overcome some of its developmental challenges. In fact, with a light source the continent can becompetitive socially, politically and economically and reduce travel and other costs for the African scientists who can only access synchrotrons in Europe and elsewhere.
The African Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society UK are seeking your support to create a Africa Synchrotron project.
With this project, we seek to:
- Mobilise funding and support for synchrotrons from the science community and African policymakers.
- Provide a facility for African scientists to conduct world class basic and applied research.Synchrotrons are facilities that accelerate electrons, producing intense beams of x-rays that help in the study of the structure and properties of materials. Synchrotrons are used in many research areas, ranging from medicine to palaeontology and are important in studying diseases and in drug design, particularly for the endemic diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. Currently African scientists can only perform their experiments using facilities outside the continent. However, Synchrotrons around the world are over-subscribed, further strengthening the need for a facility dedicated for Africa.
- Promote intra-Africa collaboration. Such a facility would enable the convergence of researchers from across the continent and different disciplines, enabling African researchers and the global community to have access to new and high calibre researchers.
- Provide a facility for training and retaining graduate students on the continent and not send them overseas where we risk losing them to better facilities. Using a light source willaugment the teaching of courses such as X-ray spectrometry and its related analytical techniques.
Attract world class researchers to the continent who will be able to access unique research opportunities and also contribute to training African scientists and the growth of research on the continent.
Our next steps
Your endorsement will enable us to mobilise funding for setting up such a facility within the continent.
We also hope to use your support to build a case for creating the Africa Synchrotron project.
How you can support
We hope you will agree to lend your support and encourage your colleagues to do the same by doing the following:
- Writing us an institutional letter of support signed by your leadership
- Sharing the letter on your communication channels and with your scientists and encourage them to either write letters of support or sign up to an online call for endorsement
- Writing a letter of support or signing up to an online petition or call for endorsement here
- Sharing the letter with your colleagues and on your social media channels
Prof Felix Dapare Dakora
African Academy of Sciences President