There have been exciting developments at the AIMS Research Centre recently. We are excited to announce that Romeel Davé will arrive in early 2013 as the joint research SARChI Chair between UWC, SAAO and AIMS. Romeel is a prolific academic who brings a wealth of computational experience to the new centre for Extragalactic Theory he will lead, as well as the ability to talk to both observers and theorists which unfortunately is rather rare.
Other exciting news for AIMS is that Martin Kunz will soon be part of the cosmology family at AIMS as an SKA Africa Visiting Professor. I met Martin, who is a member of both EUCLID and Planck, when we were graduate students at a school in Erice before the acceleration of the Universe had been detected and we have worked together ever since on projects including dark energy, distance duality, the ill-fated WFMOS survey and most recently on photometric supernova cosmology and BEAMS.
On a personal note I want to say how enlightened I think SKA Africa have been in their human capital development program which has brought Roy Maartens, Matt Jarvis, Tom Jarrett, Sergio Colafrancesco and other well-known names to South Africa in addition to Martin. At the same time they have given complete support to young African astronomers. The result has been an incredible explosion of talent in the African astronomical community which has grown wonderfully in the last few years.
The flexibility and committed support shown is in stark contrast to the situation in most first-world countries where astronomy and cosmology are going through tough times.
The final bits of good news are (i) that the AIMS South Africa Research Centre was also awarded a Chair in Biomathematics jointly with Stellenbosch University and (ii) both AIMS Ghana and AIMS Senegal are open with the opening of AIMS Ethiopia planned next.