Volunteering with AIMS

The Royal Statistical Society is working with the The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)  to help and encourage RSS fellows to volunteer in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon or Tanzania as lecturers on statistics and probability MSc courses teaching talented African students.

Several RSS fellows have already lectured at AIMS centres in Africa, among them RSS President Peter Diggle, president elect David Spiegelhalter and Professor Jane Hutton of Warwick University. We now seek to build on this success and further develop our volunteering activities with AIMS. Read more about the Society’s partnership with AIMS.

Raising the bar for statisticians and data science in Africa

Expanding and enhancing statistical education in Africa is an important element of developing the continent’s infrastructure. RSS fellows who teach and inspire African statisticians through AIMS are investing in a longer-term impact that will:

  • Empower Africa’s youth to shape its future
  • Build capacity for African statistics and data science expertise
  • Enable better governance, agriculture, commerce and health
  • Help drive economic self-sufficiency


To help encourage fellows to volunteer with AIMS, the RSS has pledged to cover the air fares of two statisticians teaching at AIMS centres each year, as well as one PhD student tutoring at an AIMS centre for five months. AIMS provides full board and lodging (accommodation and three meals a day) for volunteers and a stipend of about $1,000 for incidental expenses.

There are three main paths to volunteering with AIMS

'Teaching at AIMS is both inspiring and humbling'-Peter Diggle, RSS President 

  • Teach a three-week course at an AIMS centre in Africa
    There are many opportunities to teach at one of AIMS’ centres in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon or Tanzania (Tanzania has particular emphasis on statistics) on a three week course. Volunteers who teach these short courses do not have to design new course material, but can use previous material or adapt material from their own existing courses.
  • Supervise or co-supervise an essay by an AIMS student
    Even if you are not able to travel to Africa to teach, you can still volunteer with AIMS by offering to supervise or co-supervise an essay in a relevant subject by an AIMS student from any of the AIMS centres.
  • Travel to an AIMS centre for six months or a year as a tutor
    If you are able to spend six months or a year in Africa, you can contribute as a tutor and mentor. Tutors are usually recent graduates and their duties involve assisting with tutorials and doing the marking. In addition, tutors are encouraged to pursue their own research.

The main AIMS programme is a 12-month course, intended to prepare African graduates with mathematically-based degrees for postgraduate study and employment. Introductory courses are followed by a series of six three-week blocks where students choose two out of three courses. All courses are taught by visiting lecturers, often major international figures, with volunteers from Europe and North America as well as Africa. Lecture courses consist of 30 hours' contact time (10 per week), about 15 to 18 hours lecturing and 12 to 15 hours for tutorial work. We ask that anyone that volunteers on the programme to provide some kind of blog of their experience for Statslife, so that their experience can be shared.

Click here for information about an AIMS structured Masters Programme.

Find out more

'Teaching at AIMS South Africa was a challenging and extremely rewarding experience'- RSS president elect David Spiegelhalter

To find out more or to express your interest in volunteering with AIMS, please send an email to Emanuele Giorgi. Please state which of the three volunteering options you are interested in.

Who is AIMS?

AIMS is a pan-African network of centres of excellence for postgraduate mathematical sciences with centres in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Tanzania. A further centre is set to open this year in Rwanda. Read about AIMS graduates and the impact they are having here.