Volunteering at African Universities
Many African universities are growing and are keen to host highly trained scientists from abroad to help move forward their existing academic and research programs. Over the years we have developed a network of partner universities all over Africa. If you apply to the volunteering program, we will find a matching hosting institution for you based on your expertise and interests and the university’s needs. We will also help you organize your stay (generally between 3 weeks and 3 months) by putting you in contact with senior lecturers, researchers and/or key authorities at the institution matching your skills.
How does it work?
It happens as follows:
- Apply to the program via this form.You will be asked to propose a project for your stay (e.g. give a course about a technique you are familiar with or your field of expertise, organize a workshop in experimental design or a journal club, etc.).
Many of our partners are looking for volunteers that can teach basic skills that are usually taken for granted. Basic courses such as critical reading (e.g. journal clubs), basic molecular biology, basic statistics, scientific writing or experimental design are highly demanded!
- Based on your expertise and your preferences, we will try to establish a match with a University.
- We will put you in touch with our local contact at the selected institution. You will arrange the details of your stay (length, involved tasks, accommodation, dates, etc) with the local staff, and we will assist if necessary.
- If needed and available, we can provide reagents and equipment to be used during the course. This equipment will be donated to the host institution for its use by local researchers and students after you have left, so they can continue applying what they have learned from you.
- We will ask you to write a short report about your stay.
The main goal of this program is to provide support to African universities according to their needs. Therefore, it might take some time for us to find a host that requests the skills you have to offer. To increase the chances for a match, we encourage applicants to be, on the one hand, very concrete in their application (i.e. propose a structured plan of work, such as a course or a series of journal clubs), and at the same time very general (i.e. a course on basic molecular biology techniques will be more appealing to our partners than a course on your very specific research topic). Additionally, it is important to apply around six months before your desired traveling date if possible.
A more detailed volunteer guide is available for people who sign up for the program.
Is it safe? – Yes, we will only propose destinations that are globally considered as being stable regions of the continent. Indeed, the vast majority of the African continent has been stable for many decades or more by today, and many areas are widely considered rapidly developing economies with vast potential for growth.
What topics can I teach? – Even though TReND started off as an initiative to promote neuroscience research in Africa, in the meantime we have held courses on a variety of topics, including Bioinformatics, Genetics, Model Organisms, etc. Experts in all areas of higher education are needed, including social sciences. For non-biological sciences, please fill out this form and we will see where we have contacts to best suit your expertise.
Will TReND organize my stay? – No, we will put you in contact with our partners at the university interested in hosting you and you will discuss with them directly all the the conditions of your stay (dates, length of stay, accommodation, etc.). Of course we will assist you and give advice at any time if necessary.
We are two scientists that would like to go together to the same university at the same time, is this possible? – Of course! In most cases this can be very helpful and we encourage you to do so, but most of our volunteers have gone on their own and they have had a great time! If you wish to go together with someone else each of you needs to fill out the application, but please mention your plan and the name of the other person.
I have no money at all right now, what will I have to pay for? – In most cases you will have to pay for your plane ticket (typically ~1000$ USD). On-site accommodation, local transportation and meals should be covered by your host institution. The details will be arranged with your host once the contact has been made, since different conditions might apply for different institutions. We can assist you, and we encourage you to apply for external funding. TReND and the host institution will support your applications.
TReND in Africa has no legal contracts with neither the partner Universities nor the volunteers and does not accept any liability for any damage or loss or expense as a result of their interactions.
We don’t provide the job, we just mediate. Since there is always need for highly trained graduates to join the academic staff at Universities throughout Africa, the opportunities are endless!
Why it is important
The African university landscape is ever expanding – you ain’t seen anything yet! To support their current massive growth, these universities need ever more qualified graduates to take leading roles in both teaching and research. You can help train the trainers of the next generation of African science students!
Who do we target
You! Do you hold an MSc or PhD degree from a university in the developed world? Do you want to live and work in Africa, using your professional expertise? Then this program is for you – fill out our online form now!