Mentoring African Research in Mathematics (MARM) programme

BERLIN, May 15 - the continuation of the ambitious programme to take on 'Brain-Drain' in the African continent has been announced.The Mentoring African Research in Mathematics (MARM) programme provides opportunities and incentives to African mathematicians and will ensure that pursuing world-class mathematical careers within Africa will be both achievable and a more attractive option than moving permanently. 'Brain-Drain' or the tendency of skilled African mathematicians and scientists to pursue careers outside of Africa has been identified as a serious problem facing the continent. The programme is sponsored by The London Mathematical Society (LMS) and the Commission for Developing Countries (CDC) of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) in association with the African Mathematics Millennium Sciences Initiative (AMMSI).

There have been four rounds of the programme to date and the MARM programme has been running since 2006, with the original funding coming from the Nuffield Foundation and Leverhulme Trust. MARM links African academics with their UK and European counterparts via professional mentoring partnerships. MARM provides the means and opportunities for African mathematicians to develop international working relationships while improving the quality of academic instruction within their home institutions and supporting the development of a vibrant mathematical community within and across Africa.

The programme will help the development of advanced mathematical expertise in Africa by supporting qualified mathematics professionals while countering a number of problems experienced in Africa including 'Brain-drain', a lack of research facilities, small postgraduate classes, limited opportunities for research interaction and low numbers of qualified staff. The MARM Board in collaboration with AMMSI works together to identify partners, prioritising the needs of African institutions both scientifically and geographically. Each partnership then defines its own objectives and priorities specific to the needs of the African institution. Activities undertaken have included: exchange visits; lectures, seminars and workshop series at African institutions; joint PhD supervision; improvements in library and IT resources at African Institutions; support for conference attendance (in Africa and internationally); consultancy and advice on developing postgraduate programmes; mentoring and support for African postgraduate students with respect to wider academic and life skills; mentoring African early career staff in research and other skills; working with African university administrators to improve recruitment; Improving African departmental structuring; working with African institutions to ensure the maintenance of resources for mathematics departments; developing of research contacts and networking. Within Mathematical Sciences Departments across Africa the programme is particularly focussed on supporting the development of postgraduates, for example through PhD supervision or the development of Masters programmes.

MARM outcomes have included:

The leveraging of external funds into the National Institute of Mathematical Science at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

  • Support for the Kenyatta University International Mathematics Conference series and the International Conference on Mathematics and its Applications, encouraging networking and attracting international speakers to the continent.
  •  Development of the next generation of African mathematicians via supervision and support for postgraduate students.
  • Lasting improvements to a number of higher education facilities.
  • Fundamental institutional improvements including improved and enhanced academic curricula and departmental organisation and resourcing
  • Joint publications by European and African researchers.

More information can be found at:
Enquiries should be directed to Katy Henderson via e-mail: marm(at)