SASSCAL through its Botswana node has rolled out an inaugural scientific writing week series in Botswana. The five-day programme was conducted on the 21st of June to the 25th June 2021 in collaboration with the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN).

This scientific writing week series is a practical training programme that aims at capacitating and investing in scientific writing skills within the academic and professional space.  It will be very instrumental in developing a critical mass of researchers with skills in proposals development, publications and mentorship in Botswana.

The training targeted researchers with junior degrees (early career scientists) with aspiration to enrol for graduate studies. The training also involved lecturers who recently acquired the MSc, MPhil and PhD.

A total of 40 participants from various academic institutions, government department and private scholars registered and participated in the training.

To ensure the quality of the programme, SASSCAL engaged renown and leading facilitators to deliver the training series which covered the following topics;

  • How to write a proposal
  • Publishing, writing strategies and
  • Preparing a conference paper and presentation.

The specific objectives of the training was to;

  1. Train researchers on how to develop good research proposals,
  2. Train researchers on how to prepare and submit manuscripts for publications in accredited scientific journals,
  3. Train researchers on how to prepare conference paper/presentations.

The main expected outcome of the training was to equip participants with skills and competencies to complete the research cycle from project inception to production of publications and conference presentations.

The opening ceremony of the programme was attended by both SASSCAL and BUAN management. In her opening remarks, Dr. Jane Olwoch, Executive Director for SASSCAL expressed SASSCAL’s commitment and supportive role to the improvement of scientific outputs in Southern Africa.

Dr. Olwoch encouraged the researchers and institutions such as BUAN to make use of opportunities and resources availed by SASSCAL such as the upcoming SASSCAL 2.0 project.

Representing BUAN, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Nsoso commended the collaboration with SASSCAL as an opportunity that came at a critical time when the institution was moving towards becoming a research intensive university. SASSCAL Director of Science and Technology, Dr Helmschrot pointed out that there is a gap of good research in the region and SASSCAL can assist institutions with access to data.

The Alternate Board Member for Botswana Mr. Balisi Gopolang highlighted the importance of collaboration in research. He raised the curtain on the importance of agriculture as a key sector for improving Botswana’s resilience to the impact of climate change.

Dr Obakeng Sethamo, Botswana Node Program Coordinator indicated that the training will be rolled our to other parts of the country. He further said that SASSCAL’s Botswana Node is fully geared to host two more scientific writing week series in partnership with other education institutions before the end of the year.

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