Heather Marco will continue to be the driving force behind the AGNES network in Africa

The professor of zoology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa was elected for the third time in a row to serve as Chairwoman of the African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES).

Heather Marco
Heather Marco
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
David Ausserhofer

“Under Dr Marco’s leadership the membership, visibility and funding capacity of AGNES has been expanded,” the University of Cape Town, partner of the AGNES network, underscored regarding Heather Marco’s re-election as chairwoman of the network of excellence in Benin, West Africa, in November 2016.

The  African-German Network of Excellence in Science was established in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, in 2011 by key members of the Humboldt network, including Ambassador Scientists, German hosts and collaborative partners and the presidents of African alumni associations. AGNES aims to strengthen research collaboration and professional exchange and increase the visibility of the important role scientific excellence plays in social change in Africa.

Seventeen leading scholars from 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and from Germany work closely together in the AGNES network. For the newly re-elected chairwoman Heather Marco, getting young scientists and scholars involved is particularly important. "Africa is in the midst of an enormous change", says Marco, and more research and innovation is urgently required to ensure sustainable development. To date, AGNES has awarded 60 grants to African postdocs. In 2016, it also awarded grants to 17 excellent master’s and doctoral students from sub-Saharan Africa.

Heather Marco received the Humboldt Alumni Award in 2013 for her contributions to academic exchange between Africa and Germany. The zoologist was a Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Hamburg from 2002 to 2003, and later returned to Germany for alumni stays at the University of Osnabrück. She is the Humboldt Foundation’s Ambassador Scientist in South Africa and Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Association of Southern Africa (AHASA) alumni association (Southwestern Chapter).


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