As part of a project to fund world-changing ideas, Google has awarded US$2 million to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) for its Next Einstein Initiative (NEI), a plan that will accelerate higher education in math and science across Africa.
AIMS is one of the winners of Google’s “Project 10-to-the-one-hundredth”, which gathered over 150,000 ideas from the public, to change the world by helping as many people as possible. Google today donated $10 million to five organizations who will bring to life the top 5 ideas, as voted on by the public.
The Next Einstein Initiative took off in 2008 when Perimeter Institute(PI) Director Dr. Neil Turok, founder of AIMS in South Africa, won the TED Prize and announced his vision “to unlock and nurture scientific talent across Africa,” by building a network of 15 AIMS centres spanning the continent.
Google’s award to AIMS-NEI will support the creation of three new AIMS centres by 2013, planned in Senegal, Ghana and Ethiopia. The investment builds upon Google’s earlier contribution of US$1 millionfor scholarships at AIMS, which helped spur support from other private and public groups, including funding of 20million Canadian dollarsannounced by the Government of Canada this past July.
Dr. Turok said, “We are deeply honoured to receive this support fromGoogle’s Project 10^100. The goal of AIMS and of the Next Einstein Initiative is simple: to enable Africa’s brightest students to gain the high-level scientific and technical skills they need to propel Africa’s future economic, educational and technological self-sufficiency. In the process of training many gifted students, we expect to uncover people of rare creative talent, capable of scientific and technical breakthroughs which will serve all of humanity.”
Since its establishment in 2003, 305 students, 30% of them women, from 31 African countries have graduated from the AIMS centre inSouth Africa. Their track record is outstanding, with over 95%continuing to Masters and PhD degrees and the vast majority remaining in Africa to apply their skills in African universities, research centres, government, NGOs and industry.
The South African government has supported AIMS from its inception and currently provides funding of around US$1.3 million per annum in support of its teaching and research programmes.
The Next Einstein Initiative (NEI) is a strategic plan to build on the success of the first AIMS centre and create a coordinated pan-African network of 15 AIMS centres by 2020, producing 750 well-qualified graduates per annum. The venture is rapidly gaining momentum through partnerships and support involving governments, academia, and personal and corporate philanthropy.
Among other organizations awarded by Google is the non-profit Khan Academy, which will get two million dollars to bolster its free online library of educational videos and translate core works into the world’s most widely spoken languages.
For more information, please visit the AIMS-NEI website.