Press Releases 2014
Press Release

Bringing back Africa’s own talent - A bright African scientist returns to Africa

AIMS ARETÉ Junior Chairs programme launched in collaboration with the AIMS - Next Einstein Initiative and the Robert Bosch Stiftung

Cape Town, South Africa/Stuttgart, Germany (July 24, 2014) – One of Africa’s brightest young minds, the mathematician and computer scientist Dr. Antoine Tambue, has returned to Africa to continue his research career in a field of relevance to Africa’s development. His return is being facilitated through the AIMS ARETÉ Junior Chairs program, which provides high-profile and pioneering academic positions to young African scientists. The program, a collaboration between the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) and the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany), offers an opportunity for African scientists currently studying or working overseas, to return to Africa to continue their research work and contribute to Africa’s growth through research and teaching.

The goal of the AIMS ARETÉ Junior Chairs program is to build a community of motivated and talented scientists who will undertake international-class scientific work on the African continent.

On accepting the inaugural AIMS ARETÉ Junior Chair position, Dr Tambue said: "Being awarded with the ARETÉ Chair position to me feels like receiving the Fields Medal. This program allows me to continue international-class research as well as help to build international recognition for research in Africa. I was not only awarded a long-term position at an AIMS Centre but also entered into a partnership with the University of Cape Town (South Africa) in a leading group (Centre for Computational Mechanics - CERECAM) in my field."

Dr. Tambue will be based at the Research Centre at AIMS-South Africa in Muizenberg, Cape Town.

Thierry Zomahoun, Executive Director of the AIMS-NEI Global Secretariat, states that: "These AIMS ARETÉ Chair positions are of highest importance and provide previously unthought-of opportunities for developing research capacity in Africa by strengthening the capacity and profile of top African scientists like Dr. Tambue and facilitating their return and integration into the academic environment in Africa."

The program awards 5-year Junior Chair positions to AIMS alumni currently residing outside of Africa who have interest in both performing international class research while also contributing to the scientific development of Africa. The chair holders will be based at an AIMS Research Centre and provided with adequate resources for a fully functional and high performing research team, including equipment and travel allowance to visit national and international partner institutions.

Born in Cameroon and having taken up an interest in mathematics from a young age, Dr. Tambue has a strong academic background in Applied Mathematics and Computer Sciences as well as in Mathematics education. From his studies at AIMS-South Africa where he received a postgraduate Diploma in Mathematics with a Major in Financial Engineering he moved on to obtain his PhD in Mathematics at Heriot Watt University (Scotland) via an interdisciplinary collaborative project. While holding a postdoctoral research position at the University of Bergen (Norway), Dr. Tambue spent time both at AIMS-Ghana and AIMS-Senegal as a visiting lecturer.

Dr. Tambue has a proven track record of exceptional research experience and numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. His main interest lies in Partial Differential Equations (PDEs). Key applications of his research, particularly in Africa, are oil and gas recovery from hydrocarbon reservoirs, groundwater contamination and sustainable use of groundwater resources, storing greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2), radioactive waste in the subsurface or mining heat from geothermal reservoirs. His goal is to accurately forecast energy production in oil, gas and geothermal reservoirs or predict the spatial and temporal spread of pollution in groundwater reservoirs. Dr. Tambue’s achievements will directly feed into efforts not only for environmental protection and waste management but also potentially open up new opportunities for African countries to develop their own industries, including petroleum exploration.

The sustainable use of natural resources is a global challenge, but Africa’s abundance also offers an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate how these resources can be responsibly used for the greater good. "Science can make a huge contribution to understand the complex processes between the utilization of resources and its effect, i.e. on water shortage, loss of biodiversity, and soil degradation", says Dr. Ingrid Wuenning Tschol, Senior Vice President of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. "The next generation of talented scientists plays a key role here. Africa needs homegrown solutions to effectively face such challenges and many young African researchers have a tremendous potential to find them. For that reason, the foundation fosters academic capacity building in Africa and supports international cooperation in science and research."

The name of the program, ARETÉ, refers to the Greek meaning of excellence, virtue and realization of potential, and stands for African Research, Education and Teaching Excellence.

About AIMS and the Next Einstein Initiative
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a pan-African network of centers of excellence for post graduate training, research and outreach in mathematical sciences. Its mission is to enable Africa's brightest students to flourish as independent thinkers, problem solvers and innovators capable of propelling Africa's future scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency. AIMS was founded in 2003 and has produced more than 560 graduates, about one third of whom are women. The goal of the Next Einstein Initiative (NEI) is to build 15 centres of excellence across Africa by 2023. To learn more, please visit

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