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 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 BCYS (BURUNDI COUNCIL OF YOUNG SCIENTISTS) will provide a platform to promote these goals under young scientists and to represent their voice in dialogues of national and international importance.
§ 1. Foundation
Hereby is constituted the Burundi Council of Young Scientists (BCYS) within the framework of bodies similar to National Young Academy of Sciences. The BCYS is autonomous with regard to the content of its academic and scientific activities and organizes itself. The BCYS is supervised by the Burundi Academy of Science and Technology (BAST). Its members have the status of a “Member of the Burundi Council of Young Scientists” and are not members, nor will they later be automatically elected as members, of the National Young Academy nor the National Academy of Sciences.
§ 2. Goals
The objectives of the Burundi Council of Young Scientists (BCYS) are:
  1. Create an incubator of Burundi scientists:
    • Provide guidance for undergraduate students who want to pursue their studies at postgraduate level
    • Search for opportunities for undergraduate students
    • Play a role of interface between senior researchers from diaspora and local research institutions including universities (we want amongst others to help students in Burundi get or keep in touch with engaged and willing Burundian scientists in diaspora or in Africa)
  2. To give voice to young scientists by:
    • Providing a channel for its members to actively participate in policy development of Burundi
    • Encouraging interactions with media organizations, through workshops, internships and job partnering
    • Developing statements on science issues in Burundi.
  3. To promote science as a career of choice for young people by:
    • Recognizing exceptional young scientists from all countries as role models
    • Developing policies to remove obstacles to participation in science for women
    • Promoting mentorships with internationally recognized senior scientists
    • Identifying the science leaders of the future.
  4. To promote science capacity by:
    • Promoting science as an engine of economic development
    • Building capacity for scientific research
    • Supporting exchange visits for young scientists between institutions and internationally to increase the scientific skill base.
  5. To encourage the development of novel approaches to problems of national and international significance by:
    • Fostering international and interdisciplinary collaborations between young scientists
    • Holding regional and topical workshops
    • Encouraging Government, research foundations and other philanthropic organizations to channel resources into identified projects.
  6. Any other goals that concern young scientists, which the General Assembly decides to promote.
§ 3. Membership
A. The BCYS is composed of members who all have the right to vote and exercise all of the rights within the BCYS.
B. Members of the BCYS shall be selected for one term of 4 years.
C. The number of members to be selected each year shall be decided annually.
D. The BCYS shall consist of no more than 70 members.
E. Nominations for membership shall be made by Burundi Council of Young Scientists
F. Criteria for nomination include all of the following:
  1. A Master or an equivalent degree in natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts or humanities
  2. Demonstrated commitment to making a difference in the society and in the world;
  3. Scientific excellence, ascertained by proven track record and expected future achievements.
G. Selection of candidates:
  1. Short-listing of nominated candidates and final selection of candidates shall be conducted by a committee formed by the Executive Committee
  2. The over-riding criteria for selection shall be scientific excellence and commitment to service according to points 3F(2) and 3F(3) above
  3. Within the bounds established by point 3F(2), the selection committee shall seek to maximize
    breadth of disciplinal and gender representation.
§ 4. General Assembly
A. The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the BCYS; the General Assembly shall be empowered, subject to the provisions of this constitution, to make decisions on all matters affecting the BCYS
B. The General Assembly is composed of all of the BCYS members.
C. The General Assembly is entitled:
  1. to amend the constitution of the BCYS by 2/3 majority of the participants in a vote;
  2. to set up rules and regulations for the different bodies and officers of the BCYS;
  3. to elect the Executive Committee and Co-Chairs;
  4. to terminate membership of individual members if the member seriously damages the interests of the BCYS by 2/3 majority of the participants in a vote;
  5. to take any other decision required to promote the goals of the BCYS, according to its constitution;
  6. to exercise any other right arising from the law or the Constitution.
  7. The General Assembly shall convene at least once every calendar year at a location and time set by the Executive Committee. The notice shall be sent at least three months before the meeting.
D. The Executive Committee may call for a Special General Meeting of the General Assembly and it shall do so at the request of one-third of the members. The Executive Committee may decide that the Special General Meeting shall convene virtually, in any way that will assure the integrity of the voting process. Since membership lasts only five years at most, an annual meeting is required to assure that a group atmosphere is created and that members will know each other well enough to be able to initiate projects and cooperate in promoting them.
E. Any proposal to be discussed in the General Meeting submitted by a member and forwarded in writing to the Co-Chairs at least fifteen days before the meeting must be put on the agenda of the meeting. The Executive Committee may put on the agenda additional proposals at any time.
F. The General Assembly may only take formal decisions if at least one-third of its members participate in the General Meeting. Unless explicitly provided otherwise in the constitution, the General Assembly shall decide by a majority vote, abstentions not considered a vote.
G. The resolutions of the General Assembly shall be recorded in a minute which shall be distributed to the members soon after the meeting.
H. The BCYS Co-Chairs preside over the General Meetings.
§ 5. Co-Chairs
A. The General Assembly shall elect two Co-Chairs, one should be a man and another one a woman from different area of research.
  1. The latter condition is not applicable when there is no woman (or man) or two candidates from different area of research.
  2. If the General Assembly finds itself in condition stated on A(1), the two Co-chairs will be elected among candidates who expressed their interest for the positions of Co-chairs but they must be from different area of research.
  3. The two first to get the majority of the vote, where abstentions are not considered as vote will be considered.
B. The Co-Chairs shall preside over the meetings of the General Assembly and the Executive Committee with a partition of tasks to be agreed by them.
C. In case of unresolved disagreement between the Co-Chairs, the Co-Chairs shall refer the matter to the Executive Committee.
D. The Co-Chairs represent the BCYS on a day to day basis, and supervise the function of the administrative staff.
E. If a Co-Chair resigns before the end of his term or is otherwise unable to continue as Co-Chair, the Executive Committee shall appoint one of its members as acting Co-Chair for the remainder of the term of the original Co-Chair.
§ 6. Executive Committee
A. Subject to the provisions of the constitution and the decisions of the General Assembly, the Executive Committee shall take such initiatives and actions as are necessary for the achievement of the objectives of the BCYS.
B. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the two Co-Chairs and six additional members elected by the General Assembly.
C. The Executive Committee is in charge of developing the strategic direction of the BCYS, and shall hold overall responsibility for the programs and activities of the BCYS
D. The Executive Committee may exercise full powers with regard to the management and administration of the BCYS except with regard to the powers specifically vested in the General Assembly.
E. The Executive Committee shall, in particular, be responsible for:
  1. Setting the time and venue for the meetings of the General Assembly;
  2. Preparing the agenda of the meetings of the General Assembly;
  3. Implementing the decisions taken by the General Assembly;
  4. Securing funding for the programs and activities of the BCYS;
  5. Approving programs and activities, as well as their budgets;
  6. Ensuring that actual spending is in accordance with these budgets;
  7. Issuing statements in the name of the BCYS.
F. The Executive Committee may set up such standing or ad hoc committees and may nominate a secretary, a treasurer and other officers as it deems necessary for the discharge of its tasks and responsibilities
G. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for fund-raising, managing accounts and budgets, and shall provide annual fiscal reports to the General Assembly.
H. The Executive Committee shall decide by a majority vote, abstentions not considered a vote. In the interval between meetings a vote may be taken by email, conference call or other virtual means. In a vote by email a non-reply shall be considered an abstention.
I. The resolutions of the Executive Committee shall be recorded in a minute and made available for the inspection by the members of the BCYS
§ 7. Procedures for electing the Co-Chairs and the Executive Committee
A. Election to the positions of Co-Chairs and Executive Committee shall take place during each regular General Meeting by a secret ballot.
B. Co-Chairs and the other members of the Executive Committee are elected for a term of two years. They may be re-elected one more time.
E. The first candidate to receive a majority of votes from each group of gender (men and women), where abstentions are not considered a vote, shall be elected Co-Chair. In the event that no candidate receives such majority in the first ballot a run-off ballot shall be held between the two candidates from that group of gender receiving the most votes in the first ballot.
F. After electing the Co-Chairs, the Executive Committee shall be elected, with each participating member of the General Assembly voting for up to eight candidates for the Executive Committee.
G. Three men and three women receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected.
H. In case two or more candidates receive the same number of votes and only one or some of them may be elected, these candidates shall stand for election separately for the open positions.
I. If there is no woman (or man) in BCYS members and if there is no woman (or man) interested in taking place in the Executive Committee, the vote of Executive member is done in one round by counting the six who get the majority of vote, where abstentions are not considered a vote.
J. The General Assembly may set up more detailed election regulations.
§ 8. Alumni
A. Former members of the BCYS are alumni.
B. The General Assembly shall determine the roles and privileges of the Alumni.
§ 9. Language
A. The operational language of the BCYS will be English for international cooperation and French for local administration.