[OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO] Burkina Faso plans to launch an organisation to enhance communication among young researchers, following recommendations generated at a forum for young scientists held last month (6–7 July) in Ouagadougou.
The initiative will be partly funded by Burkina Faso's science ministry and Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It will be run by the Center for Studies, Documentation, and Economic and Social Research (CEDRES) at the University of Ouagadougou.
An organisation of this kind would help forge integration and collaboration between young researchers in the country's different national institutes of scientific research, the forum heard. It would also boost the human resources necessary for the development of West Africa.
"The organisation of young researchers will permit the creation of a working network in which participants will develop their skills but also share experiences," said Taladidia Thiombiano, director of CEDRES, which coordinated the forum at the University of Ouagadougou, in partnership with the IDRC.
"An organisation will also reinforce [young researchers'] abilities and allow them to become more operational — which is essential for their easy integration in the country's different research centres," Thiombiano told SciDev.Net.
He underlined that these experiences would pave the way for a new generation to take over from senior researchers who were retiring or leaving the national research centres for other organisations.
Thiombano said the interactive exchange platform for young researchers will be temporarily located in the CEDRES offices, until it finds a permanent headquarters.
Alimata Ouedraogo, a biology research student at the University of Ouagadougou, said the network would help students to exchange information about research and job opportunities in real time, as well as to seek advice about their work from a range of stakeholders, including senior researchers, state authorities, universities, nongovernmental organisations and the private sector.
"We will be able to exchange experiences easily and continuously in real time with our colleagues," she said.
She added that the creation of an exchange platform will also make it easier to draft research projects and grant proposals.
But the key benefit, she said, is that it would halt the marginalisation of young researchers and enable their more efficient participation in solving development challenges and contributing to the country's wellbeing.
Maaouia Mahaman Abdou Moussa, a young veterinary researcher at Abdou Moumouni University, in Niger, welcomed the initiative and said his country would also benefit from such an organisation.
"We belong to the same generation and it's easier, in this way, to exchange experiences among us without any taboo, in order to find specific solutions to the difficulties we come across," Moussa told SciDev.Net.