14 October 2019
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Hi, my name is Stephen Malunga Manchishi
NEF Ambassador – Zambia
Stephen Manchishi is a Special Research Fellow (SRF) in the school of Natural Sciences at the University of Zambia, and a PhD candidate in reproductive neuroendocrinology at the University Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Broadly speaking, his research seeks to better understand the physiology of the brain’s integration of various endogenous and exogenous cues influencing the timing of puberty onset and fertility, or lack thereof, with potential translation into treating infertility, early or delayed puberty onset, and finding novel contraception strategies. He is eager to contribute to the development of a support system among young science enthusiasts in Zambia to bridge the information gap, and to help upcoming scientists make informed decisions early in life. He engages learners through a network of Junior and Senior mentors, which he co-founded.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCIENCE IN Zambia
Zambia’s economy is arguably at its all-time lowest. This situation obviously has not spared the research and development sector, which has anyway always largely been neglected. Notwithstanding, it is noteworthy and praiseworthy that the government, through the Ministry of Higher Education, created a competitive Strategic Research Fund (SRF) and Science and Technology Innovation Youth Fund (STIYF) implemented by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The SRF aims to support basic and applied research prescribed under national priority areas while the STIYF aims to enable youth innovators play a significant role in the development of key sectors of the economy. It is a question of how accessible and adequate these funds, especially to early career researchers and youth entrepreneurs, are to carry out meaningful research for sustainable development. Many research institutions have been, and/or at least look, neglected and abandoned. Existing public learning and research institutions are chronically underfunded. The paltry allocations towards research and development, and out of date infrastructure makes it extremely difficult to carry out state of the art scientific research or to foster meaningful and mutual international collaboration. On the other hand, several youth-led organisations and initiatives championing scientific research, innovation and inventions have sprung up, underscoring the fact that the country has no shortage of motivated human resource in this aspect.