Cheikh M. F. Kebe, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar/ Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique, Senegal
Assane Gueye, Univerity of Maryland College Park-USA/Universite Alioune Diop, Bambey-Senegal
Technical Program Committee Co-Chairs
Austin Ezecurra, Univeristé de Vitoria Spain
Mohamed Mejri, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada
Noble Banadda, Makarere University, Uganda
Publicity and Social Media Chair
Ilincan Adrian, Université du Quebec à Rimouski, Canada
Nour Abdoul, Université Quebec trois rivieres, Canada
Sponsorship & Exhibits Chair
Moussa Lo, Université Gaston Berger de Saint Louis, Senegal
Amadou Seidou Maiga, Université Gaston Berger de Saint Louis, Senegal
Natewinde Sawadogo, UIFIC, University of Ouagadougou
Bamba Gueye, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal
Posters and PhD Track Chair
Senghane Mbodji, Universite Alioune Diop de Bambey, Senegal
Alassane Diop, Universite Alioune Diop de Bambey, Senegal
Ababacar Ndiaye, Universite Assane Seck de Ziguinchor, Senegal
Marie-Héléne Mballo, Universite Alioune Diop de Bambey
Amy Séne, Universite Alioune Diop de Bambey
Lenka Laukova, European Alliance for Innovation
Letter from the Organizing Committee
Societies living in underserved areas face multifactorial problems — energy, water, climate, food, health, education, transportation, social development, economic growth — that are not amenable to separate single-discipline investigation, but require collaboration of many types of expertise, as illustrated by the following examples.
Health may not be adequately studied through a single disciplinary framework. Instead, poor health results from a constellation of factors: malnutrition, bad eating habits, genetics, age, poverty, ignorance, pollution, environmental conditions, and peer pressure. Also, because of the lack of health expertise and infrastructure in underserved areas, remote health solutions such as telemedicine have been more and more seen as the only viable solutions (at least in the short to medium term). However, telemedicine will not be possible without connectivity and good information system.
Information and communication technologies have been proven to be an enabler for economic growth and social development by bringing endless opportunities (as we have witnessed in the developed countries during the dotcom bubble). However, in underserved areas, the expected benefits from ICT are (so far) halted by the limited access to energy.
Finally, despite the availability of natural resources favorable for the development of renewable energy solutions, wind, solar, and hydro energies are yet to become reality in most parts of the developing world. One reason is that underserved areas are not only lacking innovative technologies, they are also lacking the expertise along the line to their development and diffusion. Furthermore, most underdeveloped communities do not know about renewable energies because of the lack of education. As a consequence, underserved areas rely (so far) mostly on solutions designed and implemented in the developed world to target market in those regions, which has made them economically and sometimes socially not suitable for people in underserved areas.
These are just few examples that explain why, today, there is a general consensus that the tasks of solving the grand challenges facing people in underserved areas is not only multi-disciplinary; it is inter-disciplinary as well. Interdisciplinary research is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice.
While engineers and scientist might may focus on technological and scientific solutions, economists for example may focus on cost-effective mechanisms; sociologists on empowering the poor and addressing social inequity; anthropologists on acknowledging local customs, practices and social structures; psychologists on attributions of responsibility, or individual relations at work; and development practitioners, on relations with the local community. Although there may be cases of socially relevant questions that can be answered by monodisciplinary approaches, these are arguably the exception rather than the rule. In general, it is only through the inclusion and the interaction of these (and other) diverse perspectives, that breakthrough and sustainable solutions can be found for the issue facing people in underserved areas.
Addressing these issues is what motivated “Interdisciplinary Solutions”, which is an international conference dedicated to the advancement of interdisciplinary solutions that address people’s needs in underserved areas. It was established to tackle some of the most complicated and pressing scientific problems that lie at the intersections of traditional disciplines. It is intended (1) to encourage innovative interdisciplinary research, development and education that focus on solving problems in underserved areas, and (2) to create an international research and development community around “interdisciplinary solutions”. It will annually meet in Africa and aims at bringing together technical experts and researchers from academia, industry, and government all around the world to discuss novel research results related to Innovations and Interdisciplinary Solutions for Underserved Areas. The meetings will offer a unique opportunity for participants to share their experiences with peers around the world, but notably with students and communities from the host country’s universities.
The first edition of the conference (to be held on April 11-12 2017 in Dakar,Senegal) will focus on (but is not limited to) the following five main topics (details available in the appendix):
1- Innovative sustainable energy solutions and energy as a mean for economic development
2- ICT as an enabler for economic growth and social development in underserved areas
3- Improving sustainability concept in underserved areas
4- Innovation and Entrepreneurship in underserved areas
5- “Citizzen” as leverage for scientific research and development in underserved areas
We invite innovative and unpublished contributions at the intersection(s) of the five areas above. Submitted papers will be peer-reviewed by an international team of experts and accepted papers will be invited to be discussed during the first annual meeting in April, 2017. Finally, all accepted papers will be published by Springer and made available through SpringerLink Digital Library, one of the world's largest scientific libraries.