Tuesday, September 14, 2010

International Collaboration

As a member of the International Activities Committee (IAC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS), I visited universities in Cameroon to bring copies of the Merck Index and to lay the groundwork for scientific collaboration in Cameroon. 

When I meet new potential collaborators I start by asking three questions:
What is it you have in place already?
What is it you need?
How can we collaborate most efficiently?

The pictures give some answers: "We need chemicals and equipment
first," I was told. The professor speaking here at the University of Yaounde, says he sends samples of extracts from natural plants to Botswana to get nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis to determine organic structure of the compound. 

 Lectures are taught in the laboratory but no hands on lab instructions are possible.  "Don't send us students" I was told, "send us professors with a few of their graduate students. Come with a specific program, all necessary chemicals and equipment and teach us. Make the program a week to ten days long and please leave everything behind when you go home."
 A fact is that Universities are understaffed. Indeed professors are not supported by any staff to speak of. In addition things we take for granted like working computers, printers, availability of chalk.... phone lines, meeting and office space are not sufficient. professors do not have the time and energy to take care of a foreign student who needs supervision and guidance.

copied from handsonresearch.org

In collaboration with the University in Buea, the City University of New York (CUNY) and New York University (NYU) Physics departments held a training August 2-13, 2010 called Hands-on Research on Complex Systems.
The picture left shows the resulting poster session.
One note of caution: the University in Buea is English speaking, more recent thus more modern and better equipped than Yaounde and Douala Universities. Next year I plan to visit the University in Dschang, also located in the English speaking part of Cameroon.


The Chia Report said...

Hello Dr Rolande:
Thank you for reaching out to Universities in Cameroon, for identifying their needs and working with them to improve the quality of what they labor so much to achieve.
May I point out that the University of Dschang, which you plan on visiting next, is rightfully in the grassfield region of Cameroon. It is, however, not in the English or Anglophone part of Cameroon. It is in French Cameroon.
Innocent Chia

Dr. Rolande said...

Dear Innocent Chia,
you are correct Dschang is not in the North West Region as I thought. You see that it is time for me to visit the University in Dschang. I look forward.
Compliments on the Chia Report. I started reading and couldn't stop.