African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a pan-African network of centers of excellence for post-graduate training, research, and public engagement in mathematical sciences. We enable Africa’s brightest students to become innovators that propel scientific, educational, and economic self-sufficiency.
Our mission is to enable Africa’s brightest students to flourish as independent thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators capable of propelling Africa’s future scientific, educational, and economic self-sufficiency.
In an increasingly complex and digitizing world, the power of big data provides an opportunity to better understand people needs, and to track their access and usage of important services and products. Such data can be harnessed to improve government service delivery, for example, in education, health care, urban development, transportation, and humanitarian responses. To date, much of this work has been driven largely by Northern institutions. AIMS's interest in this area is to seek to address this challenge, by strengthening the capacity of data science researchers in the Global South, focusing on the use of big data for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is leading the African hub of this Global South research network and piloted the first phase of this program in Rwanda. The full innovation program will run for three years, to enable data scientists and innovators to build sufficient skills and experience to launch successful solutions to market.
The approach used to design and test this innovation program is based on best practices, in consultation with key international institutions, including the World Bank Group. Lessons learned from the pilot phase have been documented and applied in the design of this innovation program, which has three pillars:
- Innovation training including design training, innovation, and applying big data for development
- Technical training including big data techniques, APIs, code repositories, open tools for data process/analysis to better shape their solutions
- Challenge competition open to any young African data scientists to pitch their innovative big data solutions to the development challenges and compete for seed funding and mentorship support
AIMS-NEI will partner with a range of organizations to support and optimize the implementation of the BD4D Innovation Program. The program will be Pan-African, with specific support in countries with AIMS centers: Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Tanzania, South Africa, and Rwanda; plus, Kenya and Nigeria.