With an abundance of science pointing to the value of diversity to innovation, researchers in Africa and Germany are putting it to the test with the launch of a new collaborative effort aimed at advancing math toward generating solutions for the many challenges Africa faces. Let’s take a closer look at the initiative, along with what stakeholders expect to accomplish through this pivotal partnership.


Establishing Priorities

In a meeting held prior to the Next Einstein Forum’s Global Gathering 2016 in Senegal last month, representatives from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) determined five key priorities for collaborative research, including mathematical modelling in the life sciences and the physical sciences; statistical modelling; geometry and topology; optimization; and algebraic structures.

Over the next three years, mathematicians from both continents will come together for a series of workshops on these topics. Their hope? That breakthroughs resulting from this mathematical cooperation will lead to applicable takeaways for Africa across everything from healthcare to the economy.

The Value of Idea Exchange

Information exchange is a key component in pushing the limits of knowledge. In joining forces, German and African mathematicians alike stand to benefit from new insights into thinking which, when applied to real-world challenges, yield beneficial outcomes for humanity.

In addition to facilitating international collaboration, experts are hopeful that the initiative will also spur more intracontinental collaboration in Africa, where researchers are often isolated by geographical and other boundaries.

And while these primary purpose for this exchange may relate specifically to Africa, the outcomes have potentially global implications. As German Research Foundation Director of Physics and Mathematics Dr. Frank Kiefer told University World News, “The most important infrastructure is in cooperating with other mathematicians, which sheds new light and new insights in thinking. Therefore, enhancing international cooperation in mathematics is very important for the DFG.”