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New maths initiative for African students


The University of Chicago and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) has announced a new partnership to educate and train talented African students at AIMS centres across Africa.Thierry Zomahoun, president and CEO of AIMS and Eric Isaacs, provost of the University of Chicago and Professor in the Department of Physics made the announcement at the AIMS South Africa Centre.

Discoveries in science and scholarship that can change the world require scholars to work together across institutions and national borders, says Zomahoun.

“Global programmes that connect educational institutions and produce entrepreneurial, innovative graduates will create jobs and opportunities for investment and can propel Africa into the quantum age.”

The new agreement will bring UChicago faculty members and graduate students and scientists from Argonne National Laboratory to Africa to participate in the education and training of AIMS graduate students. UChicago faculty will join AIMS faculty in the development of new curriculum and experimental program content and scholars from both UChicago and AIMS will work together on joint research and future academic collaborations.

The partnership will also help to identify talented and qualified AIMS students to apply to graduate programs at the University of Chicago and it will support UChicago faculty members who are interested in developing joint-research projects or advising on new research programs developed at AIMS centres.

AIMS recruits Africa’s most talented university graduates and provides them with the cutting-edge training in mathematics they need to enter technical professions or to pursue graduate studies in technical and scientific fields. Founded in 2003 with its first centre in Cape Town, AIMS has since established four additional centres in Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, and Senegal with plans to establish a network of 15 centres of excellence by 2023.

“AIMS and the Next Einstein Initiative seek to unlock and nurture scientific and technical talent across Africa,” says Zomahoun. “The University of Chicago will join AIMS as an institutional collaborator across the whole network of AIMS centres and we are excited to work with the University and their affiliated laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory.”

At the event, Provost Eric Isaacs announced that he will form a faculty-working group to discuss the possible ways the University of Chicago can work with AIMS to help strengthen teaching curriculum and to identify other avenues of engagement for UChicago faculty and students.

“The partnership between AIMS and the University of Chicago is designed to facilitate and develop a genuine and mutually beneficial collaboration for education, training, research and public engagement activities,” says Isaacs. “We feel it is critical to bring outstanding scholars from the University of Chicago and from across Africa together to address great teaching and research.”

The University of Chicago is engaged globally in order to facilitate faculty-led collaborations, create student opportunities, and enrich knowledge and education around the world. “Scholars from the University of Chicago have been working in Africa since the early 1900s and we hope that the AIMS partnership will increase and deepen collaborative relationships between UChicago and African scholars,” says Ian Solomon, vice president for global engagement.