Can the next Einstein come from Africa? How about the next Pasteur or Curie? The answer is a resounding … yes!
It is a warm day in Dakar, Senegal, where I am currently engaged in the Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering, a celebration of African scientific talent and innovation that brings together heads of African governments, policy makers, media, NGOs, and companies like Johnson & Johnson.
African science is burgeoning and young African innovators are contributing new ideas to help solve serious health and technological challenges, from infectious disease medicines to health policies that can expand access to care.
The world needs more great talent working to find new preventive and curative solutions, and I was inspired after meeting some very impressive women working in science in African countries. They shared their remarkable stories of overcoming barriers to science education and mentorship—and what they are doing today to make a difference in the health of people in Africa and around the globe.
What we know from the success of our Johnson & Johnson Innovation centers is that a great idea can come from anywhere, and with the right support, new ideas can be nurtured and translated into meaningful advances in health. This is why we remain strongly committed to developing scientific talent and innovation communities all over the world.
In addition to our support of the NEF Global Gathering, Johnson & Johnson is also involved in numerous other programs and initiatives that help to advance African innovation communities:
Our DREAMS Innovation Program seeks ideas from individuals across the globe, including in African countries where innovation can help solve global health challenges.
We are also launching a new science journalism program with the World Federation of Science Journalists African Science program to help educate scientists based in Africa to be able to share stories about emerging public health threats on the African continent.
And through the New York Academy of Sciences Global STEM Alliance, we are supporting educational initiatives for women and young girls in African countries.
By developing talent, ideas and opportunities in Africa, we can ensure more young innovators can continue to make a difference in the health and lives of people around the world.
Seema Kumar is Vice President of Innovation, Global Health and Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson (J&J). In this role, Seema works to position J&J as a global pioneer in innovation and in research and development (R&D) , a thought leader and a partner of choice. Her responsibilities include communications regarding enterprise innovation and R&D, medical safety and ethics, policy, and global health. She also serves as the communication leader for the Johnson & Johnson R&D Management Committee and the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centers.