Nelson Torto is the Executive Director of the AAS and oversees the mandate which includes, promoting partnerships, mobilising the scientific African community, leading science advocacy efforts and the use of research in policymaking processes to ensure that science remains at the forefront of the agenda in Africa and is adequately supported to transform the lives of its people. Prior to joining the AAS, Prof Torto was the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), a national research institution. At BITRI he promoted co-creation and ensured that empathy was the value that drove the organisation’s initiatives. Ms. Elizabeth Marincola is the Senior Advisor for Research Communications and Advocacy at the African Academy of Sciences. She has been a global leader of science publishing, education, advocacy and policy. She was CEO of PLOS, the world’s largest open access publisher, served as President of Washington-D.C.-based Society for Science and the Public, was Publisher of Science News magazine, and was Executive Director of the American Society for Cell Biology. She has authored dozens of articles and chapters published by Science, Nature Medicine, The Huffington Post and Oxford University Press.