97 episodes

Working Scientist is the Nature Careers podcast. It is produced by Nature Portfolio, publishers of the international science journal Nature. Working Scientist is a regular free audio show featuring advice and information from global industry experts with a strong focus on supporting early career researchers working in academia and other sectors.
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Working Scientist Nature Careers

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Working Scientist is the Nature Careers podcast. It is produced by Nature Portfolio, publishers of the international science journal Nature. Working Scientist is a regular free audio show featuring advice and information from global industry experts with a strong focus on supporting early career researchers working in academia and other sectors.
Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Science in Africa: tackling mistrust and misinformation

    Science in Africa: tackling mistrust and misinformation

    Mental-health researcher Mary Bitta uses art and artistic performance to tackle public mistrust in science across communities in Kilifi, Kenya.
    This distrust can extend to procedures such as taking blood and saliva samples, and also to mental-health problems, which many people think are caused by witchcraft — evil spirits or curses from parents or grandparents, she says.
    Such beliefs account for mental health not being prioritized by policymakers, she adds. But change is afoot.
    “In the last five years alone, we’ve had policy documents specifically for mental health. There’s also been progress in amending legislation. For example, there has been a recent lobby to decriminalize suicide because, as we speak, suicide is illegal in Kenya,” she says.
    Bitta tells Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa, how she uses a form of participatory action research — in which communities are involved in song, dance, video and radio productions — to change attitudes to mental health.This is the final episode of an eight-part podcast series on science in Africa.

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    • 23 min
    Science in Africa: a wishlist for scientist mothers

    Science in Africa: a wishlist for scientist mothers

    Angela Tabiri and Adidja Amani tell Akin Jimoh how they combine family life with career commitments, helped by strong networks of family support.
    In Ghana, where Tabiri researches quantum algebra at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Accra, the government requires working women to stay at home for three months after having a child. Once they return to their jobs, they can leave work at 2 p.m. until their child is six months old, she says.
    “We don’t have infrastructure to support young mums in Ghana,” Tabiri adds, citing the absence of nursing rooms and nurseries in academic institutions.
    mani, deputy director for vaccination at Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health in Yaoundé, and a lecturer in medicine at the University of Yaoundé, points out that it is now government policy to admit equal numbers of men and women to her faculty of medicine. Despite this, women are still under-represented at senior levels.
    “I’m a mother of two. I want my boys to be an example and to help the women around them,” she says.
    “Educate our boys — educate men around the world to be agents of change by supporting women.”
    This is the penultimate episode in an eight-part series on science in Africa hosted by Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa.

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    • 33 min
    Science in Africa: Diaspora perspectives

    Science in Africa: Diaspora perspectives

    Molecular biologist Khady Sall returned to Senegal in 2018 after setting up Science Education Exchange for Sustainable Development (SeeSD), a non-profit organization she founded while a PhD student in the United States. SeeSD promotes science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics education to encourage scientific literacy and critical thinking in young people.
    Sall tells Akin Jimoh how her career experiences abroad made the return to Africa a daunting prospect. But working and living abroad has convinced her that science careers in Africa, and the cities where science takes place, should not follow US and European models.
    “If we’re not authentic in being scientists, and not doing research that follows local problems and our local culture, then at some point, we will just become another US or another France, and that will be very boring. Hopefully that will not happen here. And then we will be vibrant and do a different kind of science. People will say: ‘Wow, why didn’t this happen sooner?’”
    Togolese researcher Rafiou Agoro runs the African Diaspora Scientists Federation, a mentoring platform that connects African scientists based abroad with colleagues back home, from his base at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. So far, Agoro and his team of 150 mentors have supported more than 100 scientists.
    “I was looking for any any opportunity to have an impact back home. A lot of people who are abroad are eager to do something back here. COVID has taught us distances matter less when it comes to education,” he says.
    This is the sixth episode in an eight-part podcast series hosted by Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa.

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    • 33 min
    Science in Africa: ‘The world needs science and science needs women’

    Science in Africa: ‘The world needs science and science needs women’

    Doreen Anene and Stanley Anigbogu launched separate initiatives to promote science careers to young girls and women in Africa. What motivated them to do so?
    Anene, a final-year animal-science PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, says her mother struggled to get a teaching job in Nigeria because she did not have a science background. Her experience inspired her to set up The STEM Belle, a non-profit organization in Nigeria.
    “Growing up I had these stereotypes. ‘You’re going to end up in a man’s house. There’s really no need for you to stretch yourself because the end goal is to be married, right?’”
    “My mother didn’t want her children to go through this so she started indoctrinating the benefits of science and her experience to us.”
    Anigbogu, a storyteller and technologist, founded STEM4HER after meeting a young girl at a science fair. She told him that her mother thought that careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) were for boys, not for her.
    “We discovered that girls in the rural areas were mostly affected by that societal mindset. Inventors are using science to solve global problems, but women are not in that space,” he says.
    This is the fifth episode of an eight-part series on science in Africa, hosted by Nature Africa chief editor Akin Jimoh.

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    • 33 min
    Science in Africa: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

    Science in Africa: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

    Africa “gullibly” followed Europe and other Western regions in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that resulted, says Oyewale Tomori, past president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and a former vice-chancellor of Redeemer’s University in Ede.
    “Whatever disaster was happening in other parts of the world was not that pronounced in the African region. I think we should have recognized that before we planned our response,” he tells Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa.
    Tomori says the pandemic exposed flaws in Nigeria’s health system, such as why there were initially so few testing laboratories, and why, after boosting the number to 140, between 40 and 50 are now no longer reporting. He also calls for a continent-wide African Center for Disease Coordination, and a more sustainable vaccine-production strategy across the continent.
    This is the fourth episode of an eight-part series on science in Africa.

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    • 27 min
    Science in Africa: is ‘decolonization’ losing all meaning?

    Science in Africa: is ‘decolonization’ losing all meaning?

    Paballo Chauke and Shannon Morreira examine a drive by the University of Cape Town (UCT) to cultivate a more inclusive academic environment after a campus statue of nineteenth-century imperialist Cecil Rhodes was toppled in April 2015.
    Chauke, a bioinformatics coordinator and environmental geography PhD student at the South African university, fears that the term ‘decolonization’ has lost much of its meaning since the statue fell, and is now at risk of becoming a mere buzzword, used by people to seem open-minded. He says: “I’m worried that people think it’s all going to be strawberries and cream, it’s going to be peaceful, it’s going to be nice, and people want to feel good, people want to feel comfortable.”
    For Chauke, collaborating with other academics from Africa takes priority over the ‘standard’ practice of partnering with people from Europe and North America.
    UCT anthropologist Shannon Morreira says: “If we think about decolonization in African science, it’s not saying throw out the contemporary knowledge systems we have, but it’s saying build them up, diversify them, so that other knowledge systems can be brought in as well.”
    This is the third episode of an eight-part series on science in Africa, presented by Akin Jimoh, chief editor of Nature Africa.

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    • 27 min

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