Why Africa Needs a Science Synthesis Centre to Tackle Complex Problems
Scientific research often requires sophisticated equipment like radio telescopes or laboratories. This infrastructure is essential for scientific discovery. But another form of infrastructure is now essential too: synthesis centres. These specialise in bringing together experts across academic fields and geographies.
Today researchers must address complex problems that cut across disciplines, countries and socioeconomic divides. Climate change, infectious diseases, biodiversity loss and poverty are all problems that cannot be solved by any individual research discipline.
To address this challenge, synthesis centres offer something rare. They dedicate resources, time and space for highly diverse teams of researchers from multiple disciplines, institutions and locations to immerse themselves in a complex problem. These teams meet often and bring together diverse knowledge and datasets. Synthesis teams are a powerful way to accelerate scientific discovery and connect these insights to action.