Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) is an initiative endorsed by the Steering Committee of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to support eastern and central African countries in development and application of bioscience research and expertise to produce technologies that help poor farmers secure their assets, improve their productivity and income, and increase their market opportunities. It provides a focal point for the African scientific community to support the activities of national, regional, and international agencies as they address agricultural problems of the highest priority for alleviating poverty and promoting development.
Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) consists of a Hublocated on the campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (BeCA) in Nairobi, Kenya, that will provide a common biosciences research platform, research-related services and capacity building and training opportunities; and a network of regional nodes and other laboratories distributed throughout eastern and central Africa for the conduct of research on priority issues affecting Africa’s development. BecA is being established amongst a group of cooperating institutions that agree to make their facilities available for regional use.
BecAenables African scientists and institutions to become significant technological innovators as well as technology users. This will be accomplished by undertaking biosciences research and innovation targeted at issues affecting Africa’s development, while accessing and using the best of science worldwide.
There are 18 countries within the BecANetwork: Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda
BecA’s scope covers agriculture and food security, including animal health and nutrition; and the intersections of agriculture with poverty, human health and nutrition, and the sustainable use of Africa’s natural resources.
The Hubis a shared biosciences centre of excellence based at the International Livestock Research Institute (BeCA), Nairobi, Kenya. The facilities are made available to the agricultural research community in the BecA-Net region of eastern and central Africa. At the BecA Hub, extensive biosciences capacity in livestock-related research is provided through BeCA, while crop biosciences capacity is being provided by the following hosted institutes: the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI).
There are seven research laboratories at the Hub, with research on crops, livestock and microbes. A major emphasis of the research is molecular biology, and as such most of the laboratories are equipped with modern molecular biology equipment. In addition, the Hubhas capacity in bioinformatics, immunology, cell culture, diagnostics, parasitology and microscopy. The Hubalso has core service facilities to support the research, including bioinformatics, automated DNA sequencing and genotyping, Real-Time PCR, flow cytometry, a tick-vector laboratory, and a Central Core unit which provides culture media and buffers, glass-wash and sterilisation services.
Once the Hub has agreed to host your research project, the researcher and the Hub will jointly develop a work plan and a budget. The Hub can then procure research consumables to ensure they are available on commencement of the project. The Hub can provide training in research technologies and provide supervision throughout the project as required.
We can also provide guidance to the researcher as they prepare a manuscript, thesis, scientific poster or presentation.
We run training courses or workshops for large groups. Each year, we run several courses in bioinformatics as well as courses in other subjects as and when required. For example, in June 2008, we hosted a training course on molecular breeding for crops. We also offer individual and small group training – which is custom designed to suit the needs of the trainees. Please contact the Hub to discuss your training requirements.
Yes. At the Hub, supervision and facilitation of your research will be provided by a Hub Research Support Scientist and/or another scientist based at the Hub, e.g. a scientist with BeCA, IITA, ICRISAT or a scientist on sabbatical leave at the Hub.