The Royal Netherlands Academy contributed to a NASAC communication seminar for staff at African science academies. The seminar took place in Paris in late January 2012.
More than forty staff from fourteen African science academies gathered in Paris in late January for a three-day communication seminar. The purpose of the seminar was to offer the participants basic practical information on communicating with target groups, for example fellow scientists, policymakers, the education sector and the public. Academies of science in Africa – most of which were founded only recently – have only limited budgets and staff with which to serve as the voice of science in their countries. It is therefore vital that they become more visible and that they are “heard”.
The seminar was organised by the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) and hosted by the French Académie des Sciences. The Royal Academy, which has a capacity-building agreement with the NASAC, assisted in developing and implementing the interactive programme. Marja van der Putten, provisional head of Communication at the Academy, organised a number of presentations, discussion groups and workshops in cooperation with her French colleagues and a representative of the Swiss academy of science. The participating African science academies were very enthusiastic, not least because the meeting gave them an opportunity to share lessons learned and to lay the groundwork for a mutual exchange of best practices.