Scientific community, relationship between science and technology and the African predicament: Who is to blame and what can be done?
Diyamett, Bitrina D.
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As globalization gather momentum and innovation motor increasingly turning technology into science, the concept of "Triple Helix" is gaining currency in many countries, especially the developed ones. Governments are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of the universities as strategic actors in national economic development given their strategic position in new knowledge generations. The concept of Triple Helix is also currently being exported to Africa, and as well gaining popularity. However, the concept presents a serious dilemma for the Scientific Community in Africa. The dilemma largely emanates from the fact that there is a system disconnect at the boundary of science, which is global in character, and technology that is local in nature. Scientific Communities in Africa, and the Universities in particular, seems to have been caught in a dilemma between trying to be at the same level with the rest of the scientific community world wide, and responding to the governments' and donor pressures to be of service to the local productive sector, which is at a much lower level technologically; and where the popular notion of "Science in Society and Science for the Society" does not seem to hold. This paper is an attempt to bring to the fore these dilemma. It discusses the behavior of the scientific community world wide, the convergence between science and technology, especially in developed economies, and the pressure on the African scientists to gear their scientific inquiries to solve local problems, at the same time required to publish in international referred journals as basis for professional recognition and promotion. The paper concludes by an attempt to suggest how this dilemma can best be addressed, including changing the way scientific research is currently being funded.