Constitution for the Zimbabwe Young Academy of Sciences (ZIMYAS)
Contemporary science must address increasingly complex problems. Such challenges often require participation from investigators with different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Furthermore, scientific progress frequently requires the coordination of policies and inputs or support from different sectors of society. Yet, early scientific career development tends to favor academic specialization and focus. Bringing together young scientists from different disciplines, as well as with business, media, and government representatives can compensate for this pressure to differentiate from other disciplines and society. In addition, the exchange of ideas across disciplines and cultures is expected to expand opportunities for scientists, increase scientific capacity and contribute to the development and improvement of the country. The Zimbabwe Young Academy of Sciences (ZIMYAS) will serve as a platform to promote these goals among young scientists and to represent their voice in dialogues of national and international importance.
As young scientists we are establishing an organization that will take into account the following principles:
Hereby is constituted the Zimbabwe Young Academy (ZIMYAS) within the framework of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences (ZAS). The ZIMYAS is autonomous with regard to its decision making and operational activities; it and organizes itself, in consultation with the President of the ZAS. ZIMYAS is not supervised by any organ of the parent academy. Its members have the status of a “Member of the Zimbabwe Young Academy of Sciences.” Although they hope to later qualify to be ZAS members, they will not automatically later be elected members of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences.
The objectives of the ZIMYAS are:
2.1 To give a voice and professional development scope to young scientists by:
- Providing a channel for its members to actively participate in science and technology policy development
- Encouraging interactions with media and other professional organizations, through workshops, internships and job partnering
- Developing statements and innovations on science issues of national and global importance
- Nurturing the development of young scientist forums
2.2 To promote science as a career of choice for young people by:
- Recognizing exceptional young scientists as role models
- Developing policies to promote the participation of women and other under-represented groups in the sciences.
- Promoting mentorships with recognized senior scientists
- Identifying the science leaders of the future
2.3 To promote science capacity by:
- Promoting science as an engine of socio-economic development
- Building intellectual capacity for scientific research
- Supporting exchange visits for young scientists between local institutions and internationally to increase the scientific skill base
- Fostering collaboration and networking between local young scientists and fellow Zimbabwean young scientists in the Diaspora
2.4 To encourage the development of novel approaches to solving problems of national and international significance by:
- Fostering international and interdisciplinary collaborations between young scientists
- Holding regional and local topical workshops
- Encouraging Government, research foundations and other philanthropic organizations to channel resources into identified ZIMYAS projects
2.5 Any other new goals that concern young scientists, which the General Assembly decides to promote.
- ZIMYAS is composed of members who all have the right to vote and exercise all of the rights within ZIMYAS.
- Members of the ZIMYAS will be selected for one term of 5 years. Re-election is not possible.
- ZIMYAS shall consist of a maximum of 50 members.
- Nominations for membership can be made by the members of ZIMYAS, other National Science Academies, International Science Societies, Funding Agencies, Professional Bodies and other institutions of scientific repute as decided by the General assembly. The overriding aim is to ensure that all meritorious candidates have an opportunity to be nominated.
- Criteria for nomination to ZIMYAS membership include all of the following:
- At least a Ph.D. qualification or an equivalent degree in natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts or humanities;
- Scientific excellence, ascertained by proven publication track record and clear potential for future achievements (i.e., a minimum of 6 publications in peer-reviewed journals, patented products or technology);
- Demonstrated commitment to making a difference in the society by scholastic contributions;
- A candidate must be less than 40 years of age
- Election of candidates:
- The election of nominated candidates will be conducted by the General Assembly at the Annual General Meeting. New members shall be elected by a majority vote of two-thirds of members present and voting.
- A lot of effort shall be put into attracting female scientists into ZIMYAS.
- The over-riding criteria for selection shall be scientific excellence and demonstrated professional competence.
- No candidate shall be put forward for election at the Annual General Meeting unless his/her name has been first submitted to the Executive Committee by means of a nomination form completed by a nominator and a seconding member as well as an accompanying Curriculum Vitae.
- Member Induction:
- Individuals whose nominations have been approved by the General Assembly will be issued with a certificate of membership
- All ZIMYAS members shall pay an annual membership fee as determined by the General Assembly
4. Governance Structures
The principal organs of the Academy shall consist of:
a. General Assembly
The General Assembly is comprised of all members of ZIMYAS who normally come together at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). It elects the President and is the highest decision-making body of ZIMYAS. The President of ZIMYAS shall preside over meetings of the General Assembly. Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the General Assembly shall be empowered, s to make decisions on all matters affecting ZIMYAS, such as
- The election of new members of ZIMYAS
- Making any amendments to this constitution
- The selection of members of the Executive Committee
- Approval of annual budgets and ratification of accounts of expenditure
- Appointing of committees with set assignments and regulations
- Approving minutes taken at a previous AGM
Formal decision making requires the presence of at least one-third of the members of ZIMYAS at the AGM. The General Assembly shall decide by a majority vote.
b. Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall be comprised of the;
- Vice President
- General Secretary
- Two Committee Members
The Executive Committee are all elected by secret ballot at the AGM. The candidate winning majority votes in each election wins the post. Members of the Executive Committee serve two-year terms. The President chairs meetings of the Executive Committee with the General Secretary taking the minutes as he/she does with the AGM also. The Treasurer takes charge of the ZIMYAS bank accounts as well as receiving incoming funds and depositing them in the Academy’s bank account. He/she also handles all the necessary payments on behalf of ZIMYAS. Members of the Executive Committee do not receive remuneration for holding office but will be reimbursed for any costs incurred in performing their duties.
The following is a list of the responsibilities of the Executive Committee:
- Preparing the agenda and convening the AGM of the General Assembly of ZIMYAS
- Overseeing the implementation of the decisions of the General Assembly
- Managing and administering the ZIMYAS program of activities between AGMs
- Proposing annual budgets and overseeing their expenditures
- Calling emergency General Meetings (EGMs) when important matters arise which require the decision of the General Assembly
- Issuing statements from time to time on ZIMYAS developments or on ZIMYAS’s position and views regarding national socio-economic and developmental issues
5. Procedures for electing the President and the Executive Committee
- Election to the position of President and Executive Committee will take place during an Annual General Meeting by a secret ballot.
- The President and the other members of the Executive Committee are elected for a term of office of two years starting from the day they are elected. They may be re-elected.
- The General Assembly shall grant membership to the candidate who receives a majority of votes; abstentions are not considered a vote. In the event that no candidate receives such a majority in the first ballot, a run-off ballot shall be held between the two candidates receiving the highest votes in the first ballot.
- After electing the President, the Executive Committee will be elected, with each participating member of the General Assembly voting for each of the five remaining candidates of the Executive committee.
- At least two members of the Executive Committee of the ZIMYAS shall be female
- During elections for each post of the Executive Committee, if two or more candidates receive the same number of votes, these candidates will stand for election again for the open position.
- The General Assembly may set up more detailed election regulations.
- Former members of ZIMYAS are alumni.
- The General Assembly shall determine the roles and privileges of the Alumni.
The operational language of the ZIMYAS will be English.
Parts of these statutes are adapted from statutes of the Global Young Academy available as model statutes with guidance from the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences.