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Another major thrust of the workshop was an exploration of ways that African chemical societies and US institutions can collaborate effectively, with an emphasis on equal partnerships for ensuring mutual benefit. Two essential types of interaction were envisioned: exchanges of information, materials, and personnel, on the one hand, and promotion of collaborative research, on the other.
Exchanges of information were encouraged, where US researchers could benefit from understanding more about research developments and opportunities in Africa, and vice versa. In addition, African societies could benefit from the experience of US institutions in management and sustainability of nonprofit institutions, e.g., membership and marketing strategies, value-added products and services, and effective society-government relations. Other suggested exchanges included things like samples of educational and training materials, as well as professional exchanges of researchers, e.g., for training workshops or other opportunities.
There was also a great deal of interest in workshops and other means of promoting collaborative research in appropriate areas. Some discussion was devoted to determining what constitutes an appropriate area. It was the sense of the group that the most useful areas are those where there is: a) a need-driven research topic, e.g., an environmental problem requiring analytical chemistry; and b) a clear opportunity for sharing/transfer of expertise.
In the interest of pragmatism, workshop recommendations were limited to a small number of followup projects that were seen as most attainable. A sample list of areas in which collaboration was seen as potentially useful is shown in Figure 1, providing an indication of the range of the discussion. The final consensus of the workshop was to pursue funding for two additional workshops. One would facilitate research cooperation in an important topical area, with the most likely candidates being "green chemistry" or natural products research. The other would be more of a nonprofit institution management seminar, providing training in sustainable management techniques, membership strategies, revenue generation, and so on.
Participants also agreed to share information regularly through the above-mentioned newsletter, and less formally through the exchange of sample educational materials, publications, and news and professional opportunities as they may arise. In addition, the American Chemical Society agreed to explore the possibility of incorporating African participants into its existing visiting scientist program, which to date has primarily emphasized Latin America and Central Europe. An electronic mailing list has been established for workshop participants to continue the process of planning these followup activities.