The MATHack Western Cape 2022 is open for registrations and the theme for 2022 is Finding creative solutions to the difficulties that COVID-19 has brought upon the people of the Western Cape. The 24-hour coding challenge is exclusively for universities and colleges from the Western Cape, and promises to be action-packed and fun. Teams of up to 4 people can register.
Zindi, a Data Science platform and social enterprise with a focus on building a “data science ecosystem” in Africa, is looking for volunteer Ambassadors. The role will involve creating awareness in your own communities about data science and Zindi activities. Zindi’s mission is to build the data science ecosystem in Africa. They are a Cape Town-based company with a vision for a vibrant community of data scientists across Africa, mobilised towards solving the region’s most pressing problems.
Find out more and register to become an ambassador: https://bit.ly/3IViXPw
Research data management (RDM) is an integral component of the research process. A data management plan (DMP) provides detail of how your research data will be managed. A workshop held on 2 Augusts aimed to provide an overview of what DMPs are, why a postgraduate student would need one, and a practical guide on putting one together.
What is a data management plan (DMP)?
Why postgraduate students need DMPs
How to put together a DMP plan
Basic understanding of the UWC RDM policy and the POPI Act
Understanding of the implications of these policies for postgraduate research
Practical skills for putting together a RDM plan for thesis research
AfricaOSH is an organisation that aims to inspire African makers, and is focused on open source scientific tools and hardware. They seeks to promote and provide a platform for innovation and creation in Africa, and hold annual events.
The 2022 annual summit theme is Growing the Do-It-Yourself & Do-It-Together (DIY/DIT) Culture for Community Transformation : a focus on Open Health, and promises to be insightful, educative, innovative and fun. The event will be hosted by MboaLab and take place from 29 September-1 October in Yaounde, Cameroon. Read more about it here.
CarpentryCon 2022 will take place online from 1-12 August 2022, and registration is now open. CarpentryCon is an exciting way to connect with The Carpentries community and level up data science skills. Attendance is free, and takes place over two weeks, featuring sessions that will draw participation from around the world.
The programme will include: lesson development sprints, professional and community skill building, technical skill-ups, regional subcommunity updates, updates on new curriculum development and more.
In collaboration with DPGS, a ‘Basics of R’ training module will begin on 5 July. The module will include an introductory session, after which training materials will be available through iKamva. The purpose of this training module is to equip postgraduate students with basic knowledge and skills to begin using R.
R is a programming language that is widely used by researchers in various disciplines for data manipulation, calculations and graphical display and visualisations. Anyone who would like to begin working with R as part of their research or skills development will benefit from this training module, and the lessons are aimed at people with no previous experience.
The Working with Data: Training Module, created in collaboration with DPGS, is still available on iKamva, and the Q&A session on Wednesday 8 June is an opportunity to ask questions about spreadsheets and OpenRefine.
The session is also for those who would like to begin working on the module during the vacation period.
SANBI are currently teaching a course on SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) bioinformatics to visitors from public health labs across Africa. The course is taking place at the University of the Western Cape from the 23 to 27 May 2022, and is using ilifu, South Africa’s big data infrastructure for data-intensive research.
Africa CDC aims to strengthen capacities and capabilities at public health institutions in Africa in order to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks. They have data-driven interventions and programmes, and SANBI has been working with Africa CDC since 2018.
In 2020, the Africa CDC launched its Institute of Pathogen Genomics (IPG), which has been at the forefront of supporting SARS-CoV-2 sequencing on the African continent. SANBI is one of the specialist centres assisting Africa CDC in its work developing pathogen genomics and bioinformatics. As part of this role, they are running a week-long course on SARS-CoV-2 sequence analysis for people from public health labs in 9 African countries – Morocco (Institut Pasteur du Maroc), Egypt (Central Public Health Laboratory), Ethiopia (Ethiopian Public Health Institute), Uganda (Center Public Health Institute), Kenya (National Public Health Laboratory), Senegal (Institut Pasteur de Dakar), Zambia (Zambian National Public Health Institute), Ghana (Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research) and South Africa (National Institute for Communicable Diseases). Nigeria (Nigeria CDC) and DRC (Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale) could not attend in-person, but are participating online.
SANBI have been ilifu partners since its inception, and Peter van Heusden, Senior Bioinformatician at SANBI, is one of the organisers of the workshop. He says that participants have found it to be “an excellent resource to support public health bioinformatics”. ilifu is a node in the South African national data infrastructure which enables South African researchers to be leaders in the strategic science domains of astronomy and bioinformatics.
The training relies on cloud infrastructure provided by Ilifu – each lab gets their own installation of SANBI’s SARS-CoV-2 Workbench to work on, and gets hands-on experience with uploading data, doing data analysis and visualising their results. While the current training has focused on SARS-CoV-2, the discussions have ranged across a number of other infectious diseases that these public health labs are responding to: HIV, TB, hepatitis, malaria, influenza and other pathogens. SANBI sees this training as feeding into Africa CDC’s efforts to build a Community of Practice in public health bioinformatics and genomic surveillance.
A training opportunity for data science and machine learning is available and registration closes on 25 May.
Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) in Kampala, Uganda, is working in partnership with four other African universities to research the COVID-19 response in Africa. Through the collaboration, a community of practice (COP) has been establised. It is aimed at developing the capacity of African institutions to prepare, analyse and respond to disease epidemics successfully.
As part of the COP, and in partnership with IBM Research Africa (IBMRA) scientists, who have expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), data science, and machine learning, the project has organised a capacity-building opportunity on data science and machine learning.
Participants interested in or with a background in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing are encouraged to register. There is no minimum skill requirement aside from computer literacy.
Topics that will be covered include analysing the impact of COVID-19 on essential health services using time series analysis; learning from COVID-19 models to support what-if scenario analysis; and intervention planning and descriptive statistics to analyse NPIs implemented in African countries.
The training will be conducted online through Webex, with an expected engagement of about 2 hours every week. Facilitation will be in both English and French, and the programme will run until October 2022.
Escalator has created an 8-step programme for to learn new digital technologies and skills that enhance research.
The programme is specifically targeted at womxn in humanities and social sciences in South Africa who want to learn and enhance their digital and computational research skills. Folks from any career stage are welcome to join. This includes researchers, postgraduate students, postdoctoral research fellows, librarians, IT staff, research support positions, and related areas. The programme caters for any experience level: from complete novices to those with advanced skills.
Escalator is an exciting addition to the South Africa Digital Humanities (DH) landscape. It launched last year, and has been working closely with members of the community to understand the needs for upskilling and re-skilling and learning new tools/technologies and methodologies to enhance research in an increasingly digital world. They are excited to announce the launch of this programme, based on intentional learning principles, through which they will support learning and growth.