The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) was pleased to participate in the 5th annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) which brings together the heads of most of the world’s largest and most impactful research funding organizations held in Dehli, India from 25-27 May 2016. At this 5th meeting in New Delhi, more than 50 research organizations were represented, with the NEF being one of a select group of observers invited to attend.
Represented by NEF Managing Director Arun Sharma, a GRC pre-event hosted by South Africa’s National Research Foundation focused on the role on women and youth in science funding, with a keynote presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Pollitzer provided an enlightening view into the multiple perspectives required to integrate women’s issues into STEM. She demonstrated that in addition to improving the number of women in STEM (leadership) positions, there is also the need to ensure that research appropriately, for example considering the differing ways that male and female bodies respond to (among others) car accidents, medical treatments and more. Dr. Pollitzer reported that today, women are almost 50% more likely to suffer injuries in car accidents because vehicle design and testing today does not adequately account for the fact that male and female physiology is different.
The GRC Annual Meeting debated this issue extensively, as well as the need to promote interdisciplinarity in research, and will be releasing statements on both issues. The discussion and agreement on these two key issues, will help to improve the access to research opportunities for women and improve global research output through the promotion of interdisciplinarity.
As an organization working to bridge science in Africa with the rest of the world, the opportunity to be part of this meeting, attended exclusively by the heads of the world’s largest research organizations, provided the opportunity to share our perspective and deepen partnerships towards greater opportunities and funding for African researchers. This was also an occasion to invite leading institutions to attend the NEF Global Gathering 2018 to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, and to further establish the NEF as a leading institution promoting science in Africa on the global stage.