Sierra Leone is making headway in leveraging its knowledge economy for socio-economic development. With the support of the FCDO-UK, the Sierra Leone Research and Education Network (SLREN) has partnered with the government to convene a stakeholders workshop to chart the course for implementing the National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy. 

A key objective of the workshop was to craft a comprehensive action plan tailored to the specific needs and aspirations outlined in the NSTI Policy. The workshop fostered a collaborative environment conducive to formulating strategies that resonate with the broader national agenda. 

STI stakeholders underscored the importance of forging communities of practice geared towards research and economic development. Collaboration lies at the heart of innovation, and by fostering robust networks, Sierra Leone aims to cultivate a fertile ground for knowledge exchange, technology transfer, and entrepreneurial ventures. These communities of practice will serve as conduits for disseminating best practices, incubating innovative ideas, and catalysing cross-sectoral collaborations, ultimately driving sustainable growth and competitiveness.

Furthermore, the workshop deliberated on the nexus between STI and open science. Open science, characterised by transparency, accessibility, and collaboration, holds immense potential to amplify the impact of research and innovation. By embracing open science principles, Sierra Leone aims to leverage collective intelligence, accelerate the pace of discovery, and address pressing societal challenges more effectively. Additionally, open science can enhance the visibility and relevance of Sierra Leone’s research outputs globally, fostering international collaborations and attracting investment in STI initiatives.

The workshop delineated concrete steps to translate the aspirations outlined in the NSTI Policy into tangible outcomes. Collaboration between the Open Science Taskforce and NSTIC is expected to be pivotal in implementing the National STI Policy. The collaboration will facilitate coordination, resource mobilisation, and knowledge sharing, thereby optimising the impact of STI interventions across various domains.

The stakeholders at the workshop agreed to strengthen the implementation of the NSTIC Policy within higher education and research communities. This is imperative for nurturing a vibrant innovation ecosystem. By integrating STI priorities into curricula, fostering interdisciplinary research, and providing adequate funding and infrastructure, Sierra Leone will cultivate a new generation of scientists, technologists, and innovators equipped to tackle emerging challenges and seize opportunities.

There was a consensus to sensitise stakeholders on the STI Policy. This is essential for garnering widespread support and engagement. Outreach efforts to raise awareness about STI’s significance in driving socio-economic development can galvanise public and private sector stakeholders to align their efforts with the national agenda. 

SLREN has a significant role to play in the realisation of the country’s STI aspirations. By facilitating seamless communication and collaboration among researchers, educators, and innovators, SLREN helps build a vibrant knowledge ecosystem conducive to STI advancement. The NREN is positioned to enable access to a wealth of digital resources, including scientific journals, databases, and computational resources, empowering researchers to conduct cutting-edge research and innovation locally.

Workshop Resources