Following a request by the Chairman of the African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES), Prof. Romain Glèlè Kakaï , of the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin, a workshop was organized at the University of Ghana. The aim was to educate and sensitize young PhD students and early career Postdoctoral Lecturers and Research Fellows of the opportunities offered within the general Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and its subsidiary programme AGNES.

A total of about 40 students and Lecturers participated in the workshop. Apart, 5 Humboldt Fellows in Ghana also participated (list attached).

The workshop opened with a brief welcome statement by Professor Samuel G.K. Adiku, the previous Humboldt Ambassador Scientist for Ghana and a Founding Member of AGNES. This was followed by statements from (i) Professor D. Asiedu, Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and (ii) Dr. E.K. Nartey, The Head, Department of Soil Science.

The first present station was by Professor Daniel Obeng-Ofori, Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University, Sunyani, who is also the current Humboldt Ambassador Scientist for Ghana. He presented an overview of the general Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Fellowship. The second presentation was by Professor Romain Glèlè Kakaï, who presented in detail on the AGNES programme. The third presentation was also by Prof. Kakai with a focus on the Humboldt Climate Protection Fellowships. AGNES Brochures were distributed among participants.

Each presentation was followed by very lively discussions.  Following the final general discussions, the following were the main issues and conclusions:

  • Both presenters lamented the low participation of Ghanaian academics in Humboldt and AGNES Fellowship programmes, despite the very high academic scholarship and standards exhibited by Ghanaians worldwide.
  • As a way of promoting the participation, AGNES mobility programme be made as part of the PhD Experiential schemes of Ghanaian Universities, supporting PhD students to spend some time with another African Host University or Institution. The time spent could be used to accomplish some particular research aspect, write a manuscript, among others. Heads of Departments and Student Research Supervisors should be educated on AGNES. AGNES brochures may be distributed among them.
  • AGNES sensitization workshops be organized regularly, for example, as part of the annual Post-Graduate Orientation (PADA) activities of Universities of Ghana.
  • A social platform (e.g. WhatsApp) be established to link all Humboldt Fellows and Associates, where preliminary contacts and networks can be made to support the next generations.
  • The Humboldt Ambassador Scientist should consider applying for Humboldt College grant for a workshop on a suitable relevant topic.