BHKi (Bioinformatics Hub of Kenya Initiative) and OpenScienceKE are hosting the BOSS conference 2022 (BOSSCon), from 26 April. It is a learning and networking event where community members will present their work, learn from mentors and interact with other researchers.

BOSSCon is the culmination of the 5 phase BOSS Events that took place from October 2021 to April 2022, funded by the CS&S events fund. The BOSSCon 2022 covers all aspects of bioinformatics and open science, including:

  • Open Science
  • Genomics (Plant, Animal, Pathogen, Human)
  • One Health
  • Unconference (Scientific communication, Capacity Development, etc.)

The conference will be virtual from Tuesday 26th to Friday 29th April 2022. Registration is free.

Register here to get meeting details and the program of the conference. 

RDM Short Course

H3ABioNet is offering a short online course in Research Data Management (RDM) in June, and registration is open until 24 April. The course will introduce the principles and practices of RDM, and give practical advice for implementing these practices in African research context.

Topics that will be covered include data discovery and re-use, data documentation and organization, data standards and Ontology, data storage and security, repositories and policies, FAIR & reproducibility and best practices in developing an effective DMP.

H3ABioNet (Pan African Bioinformatics Network for the Human Heredity and Health in Africa) is a Pan African Bioinformatics network and was developed to support H3Africa research projects through the development of bioinformatics capacity on the African continent.

Read more about the course.

Closing the skills gap for young researchers

Young astronomy researchers have the opportunity to learn skills that will allow them to bridge the gap between academia and launching their careers in the workforce. SKIES (SKilled, Innovative and Entrepreneurial Scientists) is an ambitious project that offers training for astronomy researchers (PhD candidates and young postdoctoral researchers) in developing new skills, integrating Open Science, innovation and entrepreneurship. The training workshop will take place in Cape Town from 4-8 April 2022, hosted at the UCT GSB Conference Centre.

Only a fraction of astronomy doctoral graduates (about 10%) remain in academia, which means that the skills acquired in the course of their research need to be effectively transferable in order to achieve a smooth transition from academia to the private sector. Advanced degrees in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) subjects are widely accepted to be an excellent basis for careers in, among others, the tech industry, but most graduates find that they need to learn additional skills. An ability to confidently navigate the Open Science landscape combined with a capacity for innovative thinking can set astronomy graduates apart and allow them to fulfill their potential and develop into well-rounded scientists and professionals. 

Madagascar Astronomy Python Workshop 2017. Credit: IAU Office of Astronomy for Development archive
Madagascar Astronomy Python Workshop 2017. Credit: IAU Office of Astronomy for Development archive

The field of astronomy research is collaborative and international, and students are trained in diverse skills, ranging from theoretical approaches and big-data science to observations and laboratory work. Thus, there is a unique opportunity to integrate a modern skills course with the existing programme. 

SKIES will reach about 500 astronomy graduate students and young researchers in Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal) and South Africa as it is implemented across various astronomy research organisations. Researchers from the University of Cape Town (UCT) will be leading the project in South Africa, which includes PhD candidates from other organisations across the country. Dr Lucia Marchetti, from UCT’s Department of Astronomy, is the principal investigator for SKIES in South Africa. “I am thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to our PhD candidates”, says Dr Marchetti. “Their astronomy training already provides them with many theoretical skills that they can apply to jobs outside academia. With this training, we will show them how they can best exploit and translate their knowledge into a job beyond astronomy, and ensure that all our astronomy students are fully equipped for whichever path they decide to take after their PhD.” 

The SKIES training workshop in South Africa consists of three modules co-created by academics and career development consultants: design thinking, open science and responsible research; innovation and entrepreneurship; and a career-oriented masterclass that includes mentoring. The week-long program includes speakers and guests from universities and industries and young researchers will have the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by experts and leaders, as well as learn best practices and techniques. 

From CV-writing and communication to business models and organisational theory, to design thinking and creativity, they will be introduced to a range of techniques that they can take with them going forward professionally. Participants will be given insight into what enterprise support is available, the role of a technology transfer office, how funding models operate, as well as how social entrepreneurship works and how to pitch an idea for commercial and academic purposes. Guests will give presentations that speak to individual experiences. These speakers include Simon Travers and Imogen Wright, founders of Hyrax Biosciences, Dries Cronje, CEO & founder of Deep Learning Café, and Tshegofatso Masenya, the 2021 winner of the EDHE (Entrepreneurial Development in Higher Education) Entrepreneurship Intervarsity National Winner.

The SKIES project will also deliver a mini online open course (MOOC), which will support partner organisations in running similar courses. This will remain available after the project has ended to ensure its impact and legacy. 

Head of eResearch Office and Astroinformatics Research Professor at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Prof Mattia Vaccari echoes Dr Marchetti’s optimism, adding that “the bridging of this gap is particularly important for South Africa in the increasingly global talent search in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. UWC’s Technology Transfer Commercialization Specialist, Luan Africa, is also enthusiastic about the initiative, and how it will allow young researchers “to see the broader value, applicability, and transferability of their rigorous scientific training. We are hopeful that participants will exit with a more entrepreneurial mindset, underpinned by a constant need to upskill, learn from mistakes and take continuous action on ideas. We are thrilled to contribute to this wonderful programme.”

Dr Bonita de Swardt, head of Strategic Partnerships for Human Capacity Development at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), expects that this exciting collaboration “will lead to increased employability of doctoral candidates, in industry or through entrepreneurship, who will be effectively working on high-impact areas to benefit broader society on the African continent”. 

For more information: 

Prof Mattia Vaccari 
Director, eResearch Office
University of the Western Cape

Mr Luan Africa 
Technology Transfer Specialist: Commercialization
Technology Transfer Office
University of the Western Cape

Dr Lucia Marchetti 
Senior Lecturer in Astronomy
University of Cape Town
H2020 SKIES SA Lead 

Ms Michelle Willebrands 
H2020 SKIES Project Manager
Leiden University

Training Opportunity: SKIES Registration is Open

The SKIES (SKilled, Innovative and Entrepreneurial Scientists) training workshop (4-8 April, 2022) is now open for registration. SKIES is a training and mentorship program, and this workshop is aimed at South African based astronomy PhD candidates and young researchers**, and focuses on career development, open science and entrepreneurship.

The event will take place on April 4-8, 2022 at the UCT Graduate School of Business Conference Center in Cape Town (but it will also be possible to attend online). The programme features hands-on exercises, external speakers to showcase career opportunities, and the possibility to interact with astronomy alumni.

Participants will learn about the basics of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as how to improve creativity and develop a business model. All materials have been developed by astronomers, for astronomers.

The workshop registration is free and all lunches will be covered (note: dinners, accommodation and travel are NOT covered). Each participant will get a certificate of attendance at the end of the programme.

There are a maximum of 40 places to this training workshop (we can accommodate a maximum of 30 in-person attendees and the rest should be online). We recommend in-person attendance if possible.

Register now to secure a place :

Registration closes on March 25th, 2022.

You will receive a confirmation of acceptance for participation in the event by latest 29 March. For any questions please contact Dr Lucia Marchetti:

**This program will prioritise PhD and early career post-doc/researchers, but if you are a Masters student and you would be interested in joining this training workshop, please send an email to and we will keep you posted if there will be any available space closer to the date.

CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science – South Africa

The volume and variety of data that researchers and students are required to work with continues to grow. In order to work effectively with large datasets, data skills are becoming increasingly important, and can be enormously empowering.   

The Department of Information Science of the University of Pretoria, in collaboration with DIRISA, SADiLaR and NeDICC, presents the CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science. This school is aimed at postgraduate students and early career researchers, and teaches foundational data science skills. The material covered by the programme is fundamental to all areas of research, and thus open to researchers and professionals from all disciplines that deal with significant amounts of research data. The goal is to provide a practical introduction to these topics with some theory and extensive hands-on training.

Topics covered include:
– Open Science
– Introduction to Unix Shell
– Introduction to Git
– Open and Collaborative Research
– Research Data Management
– Data Cleaning – using Open Refine
– Data Analysis and Visualisation – using R
– Data Intensive Social Science
– Author Carpentry
– Information Security
– Machine Learning and Neural Networks
– Research Computational Infrastructure

Please refer to the document below or the website ( for more information. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2022

Figshare awarded grant to further enhance functionality for the research community

Figshare, the organisation behind UWC’s institutional repository, Kikapu, has been awarded an NIH Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative (GREI) grant. GREI is led by the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) and provides funding for repositories to grow their functionality and better meet the needs of research communities and the NIH Desirable Characteristics for Data Repositories

The award granted to Figshare will support ongoing efforts to advance Figshare’s repository infrastructure to make research data better documented for findability and reuse. Figshare also plans to expand their support for metadata standards to enhance discoverability and tracking of open research, and broadening their metadata support for research funders and grants. 

Read more about the award.

Open Science Stakeholder workshop on the South African Open Science Policy

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), in partnership with the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and Universities South Africa (USAf), hosted an online Stakeholder Workshop on 22 February to facilitate broad-based consultations in order to successfully develop the South African Open Science Policy.

The workshop included inputs and presentations from various stakeholders, as well as a Q&A session.

Watch the recording.

Seminar Series in Digital and Public Humanities

The Venice Centre for Digital and Public Humanities (VeDHP) hosts a series of seminars which are opportunities to present research projects related to Digital and Public Humanities.

The series includes a fascinating selection of research topics. Previous seminars include We Need a Database! Digitization Practices in Contemporary Art Ventures and Emergent Trends and Principles of Cyberarchaeology, and upcoming seminars include Computational Methods for Tracing Word Meaning Across Time. The next seminar will be Advanced Imaging to Support the Digital Humanities on 3 March.

Register at All previous seminar recordings are available at and published on VeDHP’s YouTube channel.

Quantum Computing Research Funding Opportunity

The Research Office at Wits University and SA QuTI (the South African Quantum Technology Initiative) have successfully raised funds to support the Quantum Initiative, and have extended an invitation to final year students to apply for funding. Students (from any faculty), engaged in a quantum project may apply, and mentorship and/or collaboration with existing quantum hubs is encouraged but is not essential.

For more information, contact Taariq Surtee:

Data Carpentries Workshop Opportunity

CPUT’s Centre for Communication Studies is hosting a Data Carpentries workshop for participants interested in learning about research data skills in the humanities. 

See more here

The workshop is free and delivered by the Carpentries, co-ordinated locally and affiliated with the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SaDiLAR) based at NWU. It will be held online between 9am and 1 pm on Mondays in February, and there are some spaces available. Anyone interested should register on the google form before end of day Thursday this week: