The main driver of the BecA–ILRI Hub is to support and mentor African scientists in the application of biosciences in food security and agricultural development to address priority constraints. This is implemented through mentoring and hosting of African scientists to enable them conduct their own research projects, making use of the research facilities and technology platforms. Research scientists from NARS have access to high-end research facilities, mentorship by the Hub’s faculty consisting of BecA Hub scientists, ILRI Biosciences scientists, scientists from other CGIAR centres, some of whom are hosted at the BecA-ILRI Hub (CIMMYT, IITA, CIP, IRRI, ICRISAT), and through scientists from collaborating advanced research institutions and universities in Europe, Australia and USA.
The BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building program is branded The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF). The program’s objective is to support and strengthen the capacity of NARS to deliver on their research for development agenda, which directly contributes to S3A and CAADP. Within the BecA-ILRI Hub, the ABCF Program draws from the two other pillars, namely; Research and Technologies. The ABCF Program operates in the critically important intersection between agricultural research for development (ARD), food security, and individual and institutional capacity building.
The BecA-ILRI Hub has strategic and diverse partnerships with renowned international research and capacity building institutes such as the John Innes Centre (UK), Queensland University of Technology (Australia), Cornell University (USA), the International Foundation for Science (IFS), African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), African NARS, sub regional organizations, networks, and many others. Research scientists, trainers, mentors and other experts from the partner institutions, staff at BecA-ILRI Hub, ILRI Biosciences and other ILRI units, other CGIAR centres and programs, together form a solid extended BecA-ILRI Hub faculty that drives the ABCF Program.
The ABCF Program is delivered through:
i) A visiting scientist program (the ABCF fellowship) targeting scientists from African NARS to undertake biosciences research for- development projects at the BecA-ILRI Hub
ii) Annual training workshops in response to demands from NARS to enhance skills in critical gap areas such as molecular biology, quantitative genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, laboratory management, laboratory safety, equipment maintenance and scientific writing.
iii) Institutional capacity strengthening, and
iv) Mobilizing national and regional capacities for joint actions.
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