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Supporting the Next Einstein Initiative

Nearly one million students graduate from African universities each year. Yet, at a time when strong math skills are needed to tackle urgent problems in the modern economy and the environment, there remains a critical scarcity of graduates with mathematical and scientific expertise. The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cape Town, (AIMS South Africa), was established in 2003 to address this gap. The Institute takes the 50 top African students each year and puts them through a rigorous 10-month course in applied mathematics. In its first seven years, AIMS South Africa graduated 305 students from 31 African countries, a third of whom were women; 95% went on to pursue Master's and PhD studies, the great majority in Africa. The next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) has been launched with the intent to increase the number of graduates dramatically. It seeks to establish 15 AIMS centres across the continent by 2021, and to graduate 750 well-trained students per year. This grant will help realize the first phase of that objective by establishing a network of five centres of mathematical science across Africa by 2015. This will include supporting scholarships at the existing institutes in South Africa and Nigeria, and establishing new centres in Ethiopia, Ghana and Sénégal. The idea is that graduates of the Einstein Initiative will go on to assume leadership roles in academia, industry and government. It is expected that the Canadian contribution will help leverage further funding from African universities, private sector and governments, as well as funding from other major donors.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
72 months
IDRC Officer
Pelagie Lefebvre
Total Funding
CA$ 18,250,000.00
South of Sahara
Foundations for Innovation
Foundations for Innovation
Institution Country
United Kingdom
Project Leader
Neil Turok
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences - Next Einstein Initiative Foundation (UK)