Best Practices

Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI)

Activity: 
Training talented students in sciences from across Africa thanks to international partnerships
Name of the Organization: 
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)
Headquarters: 
South Africa
Geographical Reach: 
International
Project Holder: 
Mr. Thierry Zomahoun

Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI)

About the Project

Since 2003, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) has been training talented students from across Africa in a partnership arrangement between Cape Town’s three local universities and the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Paris XI. AIMS students study for an innovative, broad-based postgraduate diploma in mathematical sciences, which provides them with the skills, connections and confidence to go on to leadership careers in academics, industry or governance.

Students benefit from teaching by top academics from around the globe and tutors who are available throughout the year. Courses are designed to emphasise independent thinking, problem solving and use of computational techniques. AIMS has built a 24-hour learning environment where students, lecturers and tutors live, work and eat together, and have constant access to computing and library facilities and resident researchers.

Since 2003 the AIMS centre in South Africa has graduated 305 students from over 30 countries; 33% of them are women, 77% still live in Africa and 95% have gone on to Masters and PhD programmes. AIMS provides full bursaries to all students.

Neil Turok’s TED Prize wish that “the next Einstein be from Africa” gave birth to the AIMS Next Einstein Initative (AIMS-NEI), which seeks to expand the AIMS network to five centres across Africa by 2013 and 15 by 2020. Scholarship funding is being raised through the One-for-Many scholarship programme, with North American universities being asked to contribute the equivalent value of one graduate student on their campus to enable the education of many at an AIMS centre.

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