Since 2001, IBRO has sponsored over 50 neuroscience schools and courses for over 1,000 African scientists throughout the African continent. From the beginning, it has been a critical objective to ensure that all aspects of the Africa Schools Program were of the highest quality in order to build a robust and sustainable foundation for African neuroscience in the future. This continues to be a main objective for IBRO, and remains one of the most important activities of our organization.
After reviewing the original programme and the current challenges facing the field of neuroscience in Africa, we revised our training schools and reinforced our efforts by establishing the IBRO African Centers for Advanced Training in Neuroscience Programme. Building upon the success of the previous Africa Schools and explicitly focusing on excellence in training, teaching and research, two initial centres of excellence were established in 2015 at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa and Mohammed V University in Morocco. Each center aims to host a school for African neuroscientists twice every year. Once they are running regularly and reliably, it is hoped that more centres of excellence can be established in other countries.
By focusing resources on developing excellence in a few initial centres, the revised IBRO programme is supported by a more stable, consistent and long-term strategy that aims to provide the secure infrastructure required for future growth in the field of neuroscience in Africa. The programme enables the organizers to standardize course offerings, build upon their experiences, strengthen and grow regional neuroscience networks, improve resources and make the implementation of the schools more cost-effective over time.
Students also benefit strongly from this recent programme revision. It provides them with a more uniform curriculum, easier access to high quality equipment, resources and facilities, more follow-up support from staff members and more reliable regional neuroscience contact networks. It is also envisioned that even diploma/degree-awarding courses could be offered in the future.
Through the African Centers for Advanced Training in Neuroscience, IBRO continues its commitment to ensuring the long-term and sustainable growth of the field of neuroscience in Africa.