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Tom Baden

Tom Baden

Title: Towards a scientifically independent Africa

Description: Development in Africa fundamentally depends on a local, highly trained workforce to take on leading roles in science and politics. However, Africa’s comparatively small university landscape cannot adequately accommodate the ever increasing number of bright school leavers seeking further education, let alone a career in scientific research. Burdened by disproportionate teaching duties and poor funding, few university lecturers manage to undertake internationally competitive research, further isolating Africa from the international production of knowledge. How can this cycle be broken?

Biography: Beside his work as a research fellow at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience in Tübingen, Dr. Tom Baden is director and co-founder of TReND in Africa, a volunteer-scientist run organisation dedicated to fostering teaching and research in natural sciences on the African continent. Amongst a range of projects, he is invested in the design of „Open Labware“, the building of ultra-low cost and open-source laboratory equipment and diagnostics tools using 3-D printing and off-the-shelf electronics.

My Challenge: Science has to be a global process, free from geopolitical borders. However, Africa’s universities face a myriad of problems including low funding, overcrowding, outdated syllabi and international isolation. At TReND, we aim to meet these challenges through on-site training promoting the use cost-effective research models, open source research and teaching tools and transcontinental collaborations.