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[RIO DE JANEIRO] The World Association of Young Scientists (WAYS) is planning to launch a Latin American network in April 2014, it was revealed at the World Science Forum, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last week (27 November).

This will be their second regional branch, following the one in Africa.

“Our objective is to give a collective voice to young scientists in Latin America,” Marga Gual, cell biologist and coordinator of the project, told SciDev.Net. She believes that young scientists there are not well represented and have little impact on political decisions.

“Our objective is to give a collective voice to young scientists in Latin America.”

Marga Gual, WAYS

WAYS is a collaborative community launched by UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2004, to be a support network for young scientists worldwide. The organization helps junior scientists promote their work, share information and look for job opportunities.

“Several issues were identified in Latin America,” said Gual. One of them is the lack of communication between young scientists, who “sometimes don’t know that others exist, or don’t know that some of what they are doing is being done by someone else,” according to Gual.

One of the new network’s ideas will be to offer training to young scientists, for instance in policymaking.

Gual said that she learned from her own experience that it is not easy to find resources for scientists in policy work. After completing her PhD, she completed an internship at the UN. “I spent a lot of time researching what ideas I could bring, and how I could market myself to look interesting to [the UN officials],” she said.

The intention is to create a database, or a training initiative, to “help scientists identify what they can bring to international organisations, or to the UN, or to the sustainable development agenda”, said Gual.