Next Einstein Forum and IBM Research Launch Visiting Scientist Program

IBM Research and The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) have joined forces to promote the future of African scientific talent and advance the continent’s knowledge economy.

The two organizations have signed a collaboration agreement through which 5 NEF Fellows will become visiting IBM scientists at IBM’s global network of research labs. The program is designed to give a boost to Africa’s most promising young scientists and help set the pace and direction for the continent’s cutting edge scientific research.

“African economies have experienced tremendous growth in the last few decades. To sustain this growth into the future, it is imperative to support the development of Africa’s knowledge economy and drive science in Africa, for Africa and the world,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Director of IBM’s South Africa Research Lab. “This initiative from IBM Research and the Next Einstein Forum is designed to support some of Africa’s most promising young scientists and equip them with the skills and professional networks they need to make a difference in Africa and beyond.”

“The Next Einstein Forum is particularly pleased to partner with IBM Research on this program which demonstrates concretely what we are trying to do- bridge brilliant scientists from Africa to global opportunities for research and mentorship, both to receive and give mentorship,” said Arun Sharma, Managing Director of the Next Einstein Forum. “The selected NEF Fellows are already accomplished scientists in their own right and the program will allow them to further their research and global standing.”

Through the initiative, five selected NEF Fellows will visit one of IBM’s global research laboratories (such as those in Kenya, US, Switzerland, China, India, Brazil, Israel, and Australia).  During their one week visits, the scientists will be paired with an IBM researcher in a similar field and actively engage with the broader IBM community through lectures, seminars and workshops.

Through the program, NEF Fellows will:

  • Identify and promote new frontier science topics and projects which are aligned with IBM’s global research programs and which offer opportunities for on-going collaboration with IBM scientists.
  • Collaboratively “solve” a problem they brought to the lab and explore potential collaborative projects and engagements.
  • Showcase some of the unique opportunities for the future of science and technology in Africa.
  • Interact and network with various IBM research scientists and identify opportunities for mentorship.

Further information on the IBM Research and Next Einstein Forum Launch Visiting Scientist Program

  • The 5 NEF Fellows will be jointly selected by IBM and NEF via an application process and based on a range of criteria including: scientific background and achievement, the potential of their research in African and global contexts; the innovative application of cutting edge technologies (such as cloud, analytics, cognitive computing, mobile and social); the commercial viability of the work).
  • Each NEF Fellowship is valid for a period of two years and it is expected that NEF Fellows selected for the IBM Visiting Scientist program will take up the visiting period in the second year of their NEF Fellowship.
  • During the first six months of their fellowship, all NEF Fellows will have the opportunity to submit an application.
  • The one week visits to IBM’s research labs are expected to take place by the end of 2016.
  • All costs associated with the visits will be borne by IBM and NEF.

About the Next Einstein Forum

An initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and Robert Bosch Stiftung, the NEF mobilizes the brightest minds to address the most pressing problems through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as the social sciences.

The NEF Fellows program brings together 15 of Africa’s best young scientists to showcase on the global stage and provide these brilliant young minds with the opportunity to present their research and draw upon the vast networks of NEF members and participants for support, connections and advice to advance their work. NEF Fellows are Africans from all fields of science, including social sciences and technology fields.

About IBM Research – Africa

IBM Research – Africa is IBM’s 12th global research lab and the first industrial research facility on the continent of Africa. With facilities in Kenya and South Africa, IBM Research – Africa is driving innovation by developing commercially-viable solutions to transform lives and spark new business opportunities in key areas such as water, agriculture, transportation, healthcare, financial inclusion, education, energy, public safety and e-government.

IBM is the biggest employer of technical talent on the African continent. In 2015 IBM announced an investment of $60 million over three years to develop the next generation of technical talent in Africa. As part of the initiative, IBM is expanding the Africa Technical Academy and the company’s Africa University Programme to over 20 African countries. IT professionals across the continent are set to benefit with advanced skills in analytics, cloud and big data technologies which are crucial to the next phase of Africa’s economic and social development.

For more information contact:

Nathalie Munyampenda

Communications and Media Manager

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) |Next Einstein Forum


+221 777967234

Jonathan Batty



+44 7880 086571