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Call for applications: scientific research paper writing training workshop 2014

 

10th-14th November 2014, ILRI Campus, Nairobi, Kenya

Call for applications

The BecA-ILRI Hub hereby invites applications for a workshop on scientific research paper writing to be held from 10th to 14th November 2014. The workshop is one of BecA-ILRI Hub’s annual training workshops under the capacity building portfolio, whose objective is to strengthen the capacity of African NARS to effectively, efficiently and sustainably deliver on their national mandates. The training will be conducted at the ILRI Campus, Nairobi, Kenya.

Eligibility / Applicant requirements

The workshop is generally open to PhD students and early career agricultural researchers with a strong interest in improving their writing skills. More specific applicant requirements include the following:

•    African scientist with PhD or MSc in any agricultural discipline
•    Fluent in English (written and spoken)
•    Currently conducting agricultural biosciences research with an African national agricultural research program or university in one of the BecA countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda.
•    A project report for conversion to a paper, and/or the figures and tables and any other illustrative material that have been generated from data analysis
•    Women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply

How to apply

Interested eligible scientists / researchers should apply by completing the online application form; http://hpc.ilri.cgiar.org/beca/training/Writeshop2014/index.html

In addition, the applicant must attach a supporting letter from his/her supervisor or Head of Institution. 

Key dates / Application deadline

•    Call for applications release: 11th September 2014
•    Application deadline: 5th October 2014
•    Information to successful applicants: 10th October 2014
•    Information to unsuccessful applicants: 11th October 2014
•    Training dates: 10th – 14th November 2014
Applications submitted after the 5th October 2014 deadline and incomplete applications will not be considered.

Sponsorship

There are several fully funded places for this workshop. However, applicants who can fund their participation have an added advantage. The cost of the workshop is $1500, excluding flights and accommodation

Inquiries

Inquiries about the workshop and / or the BecA-ILRI Hub Capacity Building Program should be directed to Dr. Wellington Ekaya, Senior Scientist Capacity Building (w.ekaya "at" cgiar.org) or Ms. Valerian Aloo, Capacity Building Program Officer (v.aloo "at" cgiar.org).

For comprehensive information about the BecA-ILRI Hub visit http://hub.africabiosciences.org/

Below is the concept note and information flyer for the workshop.

Attachments: Download this file (Advert_scientific research paper.pdf)Advert_scientific research paper.pdf[ ]392 KbDownload this file (Concept note_Scientific Paper Writing BecA Annual Workshop - 2014.pdf)Concept note_Scientific Paper Writing BecA Annual Workshop - 2014.pdf[ ]154 Kb

John Innes Centre forms research and capacity building alliance with the BecA-ILRI Hub

A team of scientists from the John Innes Centre (JIC), UK, visited the BecA-ILRI Hub from 20-22 August 2014. The team included lead crop researchers and PhD students who are collaborating with the BecA-ILRI Hub to develop capacity building-through research-modules to support African national agricultural research system (NARS) scientists in applying Next Generation Sequencing techniques to their breeding programs.

This partnership for the capacity development of African crop breeders is among several capacity building, resource mobilization and technology transfer activities made possible by a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between JIC, ILRI and the BecA-ILRI Hub in January this year.

As an early activity in the BecA-ILRI Hub/JIC alliance, a group of African, BecA and JIC researchers are planning to work together to identify useful molecular markers to accelerate rice breeding for disease resistance and other traits. This undertaking was identified in response to breeding program needs by Negussie Zenna, a rice breeder from the AfricaRice Cente and long-time user of the BecA-ILRI Hub laboratory facilities and service platforms. The project will be implemented at the BecA-ILRI Hub by Jagger Harvey (Scientist, BecA-ILRI Hub); Cristobal Uauy (group leader, JIC); and Tilly Eldridge (PhD student, Coen research group, JIC).

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About the John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology based in the UK whose mission is:

To generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research

  • To apply our knowledge of nature’s diversity to benefit agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being
  • To train scientists for the future
  • To engage with policy makers and the public

 

 

Building bioinformatics capacity in Africa: The BecA-ILRI Hub and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences partnership

Regional and international experts strengthen the capacity of the African scientific community in bioinformatics and computational biology

Technological advances in bio scientific agricultural research have meant that scientists are generating vast quantities of data concerning the structure and functions of different genes in living organisms over a shorter period of time. To translate the huge amounts of data produced into practical information such as livestock breeds, crop varieties, differences between breeds, responses to environmental stress etc., there is need for scientists to have the tools to decipher this information.

5a939.jpgSince 2007, Erik Bongcam-Rudloff, a biologist and computer scientist who heads the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)-Global Bioinformatics Centre has been coming to Kenya to facilitate a workshop aimed at equipping researchers from across Africa with skills in bioinformatics, the application of computer technology to the management of biological information.

“This workshop does not just teach skills,” says Bongcam, “it also arms participants with a whole virtual system that gives them access to a complete workbench with a variety of bioinformatics tools which they can upload on any computer and continue working with from their home institutions.”

Bongcam’s participation in BecA-ILRI Hub’s annual workshop on advanced bioinformatics is part of a bigger partnership which provides support to BecA-ILRI Hub’s bioinformatics platform, affording BecA access to technical advice and enhanced expertise from SLU, including infrastructure upgrade.

14918658998_4ea9422743.jpgThis year’s workshop which took place from 18 – 29 August 2014 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Nairobi campus brought together participants from national agricultural research systems (NARS) in 13 African countries including Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Brazaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The program exposed participants to comprehensive lectures and hands-on training sessions in Linux, Perl programming, genomics and next generation sequencing technologies, genome assembly, metagenome and metagenomic analysis tools and their applications to biological research. Other facilitators at the workshop included Isak Sylvin from SLU; Manpreet Katari from New York University; Sarah Schaack from Reed University; Gordon Harkins from South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI); Leendert Cloete from SANBI; Mark Wamalwa, Joyce Nzioki and Dedan Githae from the BecA-ILRI Hub; and Alan Orth and Maureiq Edith from ILRI.

The workshop is funded by the Australia Government Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through a partnership between Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and the BecA-ILRI Hub; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA); the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF); and the Swedish Government.

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Read related story (Swedish) - SLU's cooperation with Africa highlighted

Rwanda Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources bids farewell to her BecA-ILRI Hub colleagues

 

 

Rwanda Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana visited the BecA-ILRI Hub on 21 August 2014. The visit was an opportunity for Mukeshimana to say farewell to her former colleagues whom she had not seen since her appointment in July. The appointment came while the Minister was on a mission trip, representing the BecA-ILRI Hub at the Molecular Plant-Microbe Interaction conference in Greece in July 2014.

During the visit Mukeshimana had the opportunity to celebrate her new assignment with the BecA team which she said she had come to regard as her family.

“The one year spent at BecA was great because I made many friends and I really enjoyed my work. I am not really leaving because I look forward to coming back many more times,” said Mukeshimana.

Mukeshimana expressed her optimism about future collaboration with the BecA-ILRI Hub that will contribute to enhanced agricultural productivity, income, and food and nutritional security in Rwanda through improved research capacity.

To date, over 20 researchers from Rwanda have benefited from workshops aimed at strengthening biosciences research capacity conducted by the BecA-ILRI Hub in collaboration with its capacity building partners; seven researchers from the country’s national agricultural research system have been hosted to conduct their research at the Hub; and the Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) is a national partner in the BecA-led  project to improve the quantity and quality of forages in the livestock industry in East Africa “Climate-smart Brachiaria grasses for improved livestock production in East Africa”.

Concerning her new assignment Mukeshimana said “It was totally unexpected but I am going to give it my very best. That is what I have always done wherever I am. Always do your best…you never know where you will be called to serve!”

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Read related stories:

- BecA-ILRI Hub scientist Gerardine Mukeshimana appointed Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda

- Investing in the Next Generation of Agricultural leaders  - graduate of Michigan State University appointed Rwanda Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources

The BecA-ILRI Hub advisory panel is unveiled

The inaugural meeting of Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub’s advisory panel took place on 13 May 2014 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

The advisory panel was constituted to provide strategic advice to the co-owners of the BecA-ILRI Hub, the African Union/ New Partnership for Africa's Development (AU/NEPAD) and ILRI, and to the BecA–ILRI Hub team on future research directions, new technology developments, potential science and development partners and resource mobilization opportunities.

The panel, which comprises leaders in biosciences in Africa and internationally, will play a key role in strengthening  BecA’s existing science and development partnerships, as well as catalyzing the formation of new ones to facilitate translation of research results into innovations of benefit to farmers and other private enterprises in Africa. The panel will also provide a forum for greater interaction amongst African stakeholders including governments and regional bodies, and international science and development partners and investors.

Members of the first BecA-ILRI Hub advisory panel include Dr Eugene Terry, Senior Technical Adviser of TransFarm Africa and the advisory panel chair; Dr Yemi Akinbaminjo, Executive Director of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA); Prof. Sir Edwin Southern , Chief Science Advisor, Oxford Gene Technology and inventor of the ‘Southern Blot’ method of analyzing complex DNAs; Dr Aggrey Ambali, Advisor and Head of Policy Alignment and Policy, NEPAD Science and Technology Innovation Hub (NSTIH), who serves on the panel as NEPAD’s  representative; Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoda Peace is the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union; Dr Theresa Sengooba, Regional Coordinator/Collaborator, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Kampala office; Prof. Abdourahmane Sangare, Biotechnology and Biosafety Programme Manager, Conseil ouest et centre africain pour la recherche et le développement agricoles/West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD); Dr Vish Nene, Director and leader of the Vaccine Biosciences program at ILRI and ILRI’s  representative to the panel; and Dr Appolinaire Djikeng, Director, BecA-ILRI Hub who serves as the panel secretary).

BecA-ILRI Hub scientist Gerardine Mukeshimana appointed Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda

 

Gerardine Mukeshimana, a plant molecular biologist at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI Hub) has been appointed Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda.

Until her swearing in on 24 July 2014, Mukeshimana was a key member of a research team at the BecA-ILRI Hub that is developing strategies for the control aphid-transmitted virus diseases in the common bean in smallholder farming systems in Africa. Mukeshimana contributed greatly to BecA-ILRI Hub’s efforts in building the capacity of institutions and individuals in the African national research systems in biosciences-related crop research through knowledge transfer and resource mobilization and was an ambassador of the BecA-ILRI Hub’s vision for the transformation of Africa through agriculture at international forums, most recently the Molecular Plant-Microbe Interaction conference held from 6-10 July 2014 in Greece.

‘This is tremendous news and we will do all we can to support her,’ said Jimmy Smith, the director general of ILRI, who congratulated her on the appointment.

‘Gerardine’s appointment is recognition of the values of a true scientist, a great leader, and a strong advocate for African agricultural development that we all saw in her,’ said Djikeng, the director of the BecA-ILRI Hub.

 ‘We are excited by this appointment and believe that it is a testament to the importance of the work we do at the BecA-ILRI Hub and the caliber of the people that we attract for our mission at ILRI’ said Djikeng.           

Mukeshimana’s passion to make food and nutritional security in Africa a reality has resulted in her recognition for international awards. In 2012, she was acknowledged by the United States Agency for International Development’s Board for International Food & Agriculture Development (BIFAD) for her significant contributions to the breeding of the common bean for drought tolerance and disease resistance. She also received a Norman Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP) fellowship for her contributions to breeding of the common bean, which enabled her PhD research in plant breeding, genetic, and biotechnology at Michigan State University and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

 ‘Mukeshimana is a true example of African scientists in the diaspora who are ready to transform Africa through agriculture,’ said Jagger Harvey, a research scientist at the BecA-ILRI Hub who has been working closely with Mukeshimana in the bean project alongside other experts from Cambridge University, Rothamsted Research and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

‘I am absolutely pleased and proud of Mukeshimana’s appointment and it gives her an opportunity to contribute to African agricultural research at a larger scale,’ said John Carr, a researcher in the department of plant science at the University of Cambridge and principal investigator in the bean project.

Mukeshimana has previously served in different roles in education, agriculture, and rural development sectors in Rwanda and she has conducted research in Africa, South America, and US.  She holds both PhD and MSc degrees in plant breeding, genetics, and biotechnology from Michigan State University, and an Agriculture engineering degree from the National University of Rwanda.

African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Call for Applications for 2015 AWARD Fellowships

Established in 2008, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) was launched following a successful three-year pilot program in East Africa supported by the Rockefeller Foundation from 2005-2008.

AWARD is a career-development program that equips top women agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their research and leadership skills, through tailored fellowships. AWARD is a catalyst for innovations with high potential to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of African smallholder farmers, most of whom are women.

AWARD Fellows benefit from a two-year career-development program focused on fostering mentoring partnerships, building science skills, and developing leadership capacity. Following a highly competitive process, the fellowships are awarded on the basis of intellectual merit, leadership capacity, and the potential of the scientist's research to improve the daily lives of smallholder farmers, especially women.

Since its inception, AWARD has received applications from more than 3,500 women for a total of 390 available fellowships. On average, only the top nine percent of applicants are selected each year.

To date, 390 African women scientists from 11 countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) have benefited directly as AWARD Fellows.

AWARD partners with more than 200 organizations and institutions, including many national institutes of agricultural research.

For more information on eligibility, visit the AWARD website

To apply online for the 2015 AWARD Fellowships now on-line, click here.

See FAQ for more details.

Program for Emerging Agricultural Research Leaders 2014 - Call for proposals

Pre-proposal deadline: September 7th, 2014

The context
Severe hunger and poverty affects nearly 1 billion people around the world and 2 billion people in the developing world are malnourished. Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people get their food and income from farming small plots of land. They deal with diverse and challenging farming systems, facing diseases, pests, and drought, as well as unproductive soil, with limited access to inputs. Their livestock are frequently weak or sick, resulting in reduced production of eggs and milk to eat or sell.  Many of these farmers are women, who are key to breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition in their families.  Their success or failure determines whether they have enough to eat, are able to send their children to school, and can earn any money to save and lead healthy and productive lives. Helping farm families grow more, earn more income, and eat better food are powerful tools for fighting hunger and poverty.


The call
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks proposals for agricultural research with the potential to increase the sustainable productivity of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Sustainable productivity includes tackling the underlying social and economic determinants of productivity, such as gender equity, environmental issues, and healthy, diverse diets.  With this call, we are looking for projects led by MSc and PhD scientists at national agricultural research institutions and universities in sub-Saharan Africa, working in collaboration with other researchers internationally (either within Africa or beyond the continent).  The 2014 PEARL call is restricted to proposals relevant to staple crops grown in Africa (please note we hope to offer future competitive opportunities for livestock research, but livestock-related proposals will not be considered in the current call).

Applicant profile:
In order to apply, applicants must:

  • Be an African scientist residing in sub-Saharan Africa or planning to relocate to sub-Saharan Africa to implement the proposed project, e.g. returning from diaspora;
  • Identify a local host institution (a national agricultural research institute or university) (International centers based Have at minimum an MSc degree;
  • Be able to devote at least 70% of their time to lead the proposed project.

For more information and to submit a pre-proposal online, visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website:

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/General-Information/Grant-Opportunities/Program-for-Emerging-Agricultural-Research-Leaders-2014

 

 

 

BecA-ILRI Hub installs bioscience lab at Gulu University in Uganda

On 5 May 2014, a team of engineers led by BecA-ILRI Hub Capacity Building Senior Scientist Dr Wellington Ekaya, helped set up a modern biosciences laboratory at the Gulu University in Northern Uganda.

Engineers Sam Chiera and James Ndegwa from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) engaged in a week-long installation process of the new bioscience platform which will support the human medicine, veterinary medicine, plant science and basic sciences faculties of the university. The purchase of the equipment for the laboratory was funded by grant of USD 784600.00 from World Bank and Government of Uganda channeled through Uganda National Council for Science and Technology Uganda - Millennium Science Initiative program.

Dr Richard Echodu, Dean Faculty of Science at the university said the laboratory would be particularly useful in the study of plant, animal and human diseases in the post conflict areas of northern Uganda and the region at large.

In 2012, Gulu University lecturers Harriet Angwech and Robert Opiro spent five months at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi as conducting part of their PhD work on this disease which poses a major constraint to livestock production and is a threat to human life in northern Uganda.

“Our students will no longer have to travel to other institutions to conduct their research” said Professor Calistus Baliddawa, the university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor.

The BecA-Gulu partnership dates back to 2009 when Dr Rob Skilton, team leader of the capacity building program at the BecA-ILRI Hub assisted the university in developing the proposal for the grant that facilitated the purchase of this equipment. To date, the BecA-ILRI Hub has partnered with Gulu in other capacity building activities including supporting research fellows from the institution through the Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellowship program; providing training to students through BecA’s annual training workshops; hosting special trainings on lab management; providing technical assistance and advice how to get USD 165,000.00 worth of equipment donations from the Seeding Labs Inc., in the US.

The BecA-Gulu relationship demonstrates the significance placed by the BecA-ILRI Hub on building the capabilities of individual researchers and institutions in Africa to harness biosciences for Africa’s development.

Read more about the BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building program here.

Advanced Genomics and Bioinformatics Training Workshop 2014

 

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

Background

The BecA-ILRI Hub seeks to strengthen the capacity of the African scientific community, to conduct bioscience research and significantly contribute to improved agriculture.  As part of its capacity building programme, the BecA-ILRI Hub in collaboration with SLU will hold a training workshop on Advanced Bioinformatics from 18th–29th August 2014. The workshop aims at strengthening the capacity of NARS researchers in bioinformatics, computational biology as well as in computational research methods.
The workshop will accommodate 25 carefully selected participants, based on evidence of productive research and relevance of training to their current research. Selected participants will attend an intensive two-week workshop at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya. The training program will include comprehensive lectures and hands-on training sessions in Linux, Perl programming, Genomics and next generation sequencing technologies, Genome assembly, metagenome and metagenomic analysis tools and their applications in biological research. A team of experienced facilitators from the SLU and BecA-ILRI Hub will conduct the training.

Who can apply?
BecA-ILRI Hub invites applications from eastern and central Africa;

  • Nationals of the BecA countries: 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, Uganda
  • Affiliation with a national research program or university
  • Graduate students and early career researchers currently engaged in biosciences research within a national research institute or university.
  • University degree in biological sciences
  • Good working knowledge of written and spoken English

Women are particularly encouraged to apply.

Further details about the training workshop are available in the training concept note below.

Application process and deadline

For more information about the BecA-ILRI Hub visit http://hub.africabiosciences.org/

You can also browse the workshop website for further information:http://hpc.ilri.cgiar.org/beca/training/AdvancedBFX2014_2/index.html

Attachments: Download this file (Concept note - ADVANCED BIOINFORMATICS TRAINING WORKSHOP.pdf)Concept note - ADVANCED BIOINFORMATICS TRAINING WORKSHOP.pdf[ ]185 Kb

TCC Training Programme June to August 2014

The Training Centre in Communication (TCC) training programs for June to August 20014 are as follows:

TCC AND UNES ( K) LTD

  • 23 - 26 June:  Scientific Writing & Publishing Graphical methods for data analysis& How to use R programme (3 day short course).

TCC AND UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

  • 8 - 11 July: Proposal writing and grant management Oral Communication and How to design effective scientific posters, 4 day course.
  • 25 - 29 August: Scientific Communication and Publishing, 5-day course, University of Nairobi, Upper Kabete Campus, 5 day course.

To access the announcements and application forms visit www.tcc-africa.org

Program for Emerging Agricultural Research Leaders (PEARL) 2014 - Call for proposals

Call for proposals now open

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks proposals for agricultural research with the potential to increase the sustainable productivity of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Sustainable productivity includes tackling the underlying social and economic determinants of productivity, such as gender equity, environmental issues, and healthy, diverse diets.  With this call, we are looking for projects led by MSc and PhD scientists at national agricultural research institutions and universities in sub-Saharan Africa, working in collaboration with other researchers internationally (either within Africa or beyond the continent). More information is available at: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/General-Information/Grant-Opportunities/Program-for-Emerging-Agricultural-Research-Leaders-2014

Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers 2014: Call for nominations

The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) has commenced this year's search for recipients of the annual "Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers."

The purpose of the program is to increase motivation among young researchers contributing to research and development (R&D) in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and related industries in developing countries, which is being promoted by Japan for the benefit of these countries. 

For detailed information, including the Guideline, Instructions and Application Forms for applicants, please visit our website as follows:
http://www.jircas.affrc.go.jp/english/young/yi2014_index.html

The nomination/application deadline is on June 13, 2014 (Friday).

Agricultural Research Connections Workshops 2014 - Call for Applications

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Agricultural Research Connections Workshops:  Encouraging Scientific Research Collaborations to Benefit African Farmers

The Biosciences eastern and central Africa – International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) are pleased to announce the Agricultural Research Connections (ARC) Workshops to be held in June, 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya.

These unique workshops will bring together scientists based within and outside of sub-Saharan Africa to foster scientific collaborations with the potential to create new pathways out of poverty for African farming families by addressing issues related to the crops on which they depend.

In addition to learning about agriculture in Kenya, participating scientists will be given the opportunity to describe their own areas of expertise and explore with other workshop participants possible collaborations that could contribute to the advancement of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. The goal of these workshops is to catalyze new research partnerships among high-caliber scientists who could then compete for funding through calls for proposals including the upcoming Program for Emerging Agricultural Research Leaders (PEARL), with projects led by scientists in African national programs. More information on this program is now available on the www.gatesfoundation.org website under 'Current Grant Opportunities'.

ARC Workshop participants will tour regional laboratories and facilities, visit local farmers, and engage in discussion sessions in Nairobi and the surrounding area. Sessions will include presentations on agricultural challenges in Africa. Participants are expected to play an active role in seeking and developing new research partnerships, including developing proposal outline ideas for future competitive funding opportunities. 

Workshop dates:

  • June 15th - 21st, 2014
  • June 22nd - 28th, 2014

If you are interested in participating, please complete the online application by April 18th, 2014.

Program for Emerging Agricultural Research Leaders (PEARL)         
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks proposals for agricultural research with the potential to increase the sustainable productivity of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Sustainable productivity includes tackling the underlying social and economic determinants of productivity, such as gender equity, environmental issues, and healthy, diverse diets.  With this call, we are looking for projects led by MSc and PhD scientists at national agricultural research institutions and universities in sub-Saharan Africa, working in collaboration with other researchers internationally (either within Africa or beyond the continent). More information is available at: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/General-Information/Grant-Opportunities/Program-for-Emerging-Agricultural-Research-Leaders-2014.

** While previous ARC workshops were open to researchers in the livestock-related sciences, please note that the 2014 workshops are focused only on crop & soil sciences. We intend to offer future opportunities specific to livestock research - please email PEARLs at gatesfoundation dot org if you would like to be added to our contact list for future updates. 

 

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BecA-ILRI Hub

The BecA-ILRI Hub is located on the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) campus in Nairobi, Kenya. The Hub is a modern biosciences research and training facility that supports eastern and central African countries to address agriculture-related problems of the highest priority for alleviating poverty and promoting development. See more about the BecA-ILRI Hub at: http://hub.africabiosciences.org/

 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. See more about our Agricultural Development strategy at: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Development/Agricultural-Development

 

 

 

 

 

Strengthening Research Partnerships – Burundi Ambassador to Kenya visits the BecA-ILRI Hub

On Thursday 27 March, 2014 His Excellency Fulgence Ndayishimiye, Ambassador of the Republic of Burundi in Kenya and Mr Jean Baptiste Ciza, Second Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Burundi in Kenya visited the BecA-ILRI Hub.

The ambassador’s visit to the BecA-ILRI Hub was inspired by his meeting with three research fellows from Burundi who are conducting their research at the Hub. The three visiting scientists’ research on different crops and livestock is significant to the achievement of improved livelihoods in their country through increased food and nutritional security and income.

Gedeon Nsabiyumva, a researcher at the Burundi Agronomic Sciences Institute (ISABU) is conducting research that addresses toxic postharvest maize contamination in Burundi; Vincent Nteziryayo, an assistant researcher at the University of Burundi is working on the characterization and domestication of nutritious saprophytic wild edible mushrooms that grow in different forests of Burundi; and Constantin Nimbona, a research scientist ISABU is conducting studies that address the issue of cattle tick borne diseases in Burundi.

During the visit, HE Ndayishimiye reiterated the importance of the work being done by the Burundian researchers at the BecA-ILRI Hub citing that agriculture is a national priority for Burundi, providing employment for more than 90% of the population. The ambassador acknowledged the challenges facing this important economic activity and lauded the BecA-ILRI Hub for helping address some of the issues.

“We are facing numerous challenges in the production of various food crops. We have diseases attacking taro, cassava and bananas, all of which are very important to a large population,” said HE Ndayishimiye, “the absence of appropriate research would result in erosion of genetic resources and the ultimate disappearance of these crops and it is fitting that the BecA-ILRI Hub has already identified this problem.”
As part of the visit, the Ambassador and the Second Counsellor toured the laboratory facilities where they learnt more about the technologies available for use by researchers from Burundi and other countries in Africa.

Said Ndayishimiye, “Agricultural development in Burundi is at a phase where very adaptable research is needed and our government is ready to invest in this sector. In the near future, we hope our Minister of Agriculture and Livestock and our Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research can visit this institution so that we can discuss how BecA can help us build our capacity in research.”

 

Research by the three research fellows from Burundi is supported by funding from the Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellowship program. Read more about the Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund here.

 

 

IFS Collaborative Research Grants 2014 - Call for expression of interest

The International Foundation for Science (IFS) announces a call for Collaborative Research Proposals from early-career scientists in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, with a focus on research into biodiversity.

Interested young researchers from the above countries are invited to express their interest to participate in the development of collaborative research proposals.

Those who express interest will be invited to join an online collaborative environment that is being used for this project. You do not need to know any collaborators before expressing interest. The purpose of the online environment is for researchers to find and get to know suitable collaborators, create research teams and prepare proposals for submission to IFS. Further instructions will follow to those who register interest to participate.
 
Eligibility criteria:

  • You are a citizen of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania or Uganda and carrying out your research in any of these countries
  • You have a Masters or PhD degree (or equivalent academic degree)
  • You are doing/will do research on some aspect of biodiversity
  • For first time IFS grant applicants, men should be younger than 35; women should be younger than 40 years of age
  • For those who already had a grant from IFS, you may participate in this programme and apply for a Collaborative Research Grant provided IFS have accepted your report on the previous IFS Grant, no later than the closing date for application submissions for this programme
  • You are attached to a university, national research institution or a research oriented and not-for-profit NGO

Biodiversity
This call for research proposals is a contribution to the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020)[1]. Its aims include: building awareness of values of biodiversity, the steps we can take to conserve biodiversity and manage terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem services related to health, livelihoods and wellbeing in a way that is both equitable and sustainable. It also aims to integrate such thinking into development and poverty reduction strategies, including ways to eliminate harmful subsides, prevent extinctions and control invasive species and detrimental pollution. We are especially keen to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations of taxonomists, ecologists and social scientists to research together on ecosystem services for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

The research supported within this call should aim to increase and share widely knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to terrestrial and inland aquatic biodiversity.

IFS Collaborative Research Grants
These IFS pilot Collaborative Research Grants will be to small teams (3-5 early-career scientists) in the eligible countries to undertake research on biodiversity.

Eligible scientists expressing interest will have the opportunity to get to know each other and find collaborators, build teams and formulate their proposals in a social networking environment (PODIO). There will be approximately three and a half months for this process, thereafter applications will be reviewed with a decision on grant funding by the end of 2014.

The total value of a Collaborative Research Grant will be between USD 45-75,000. This breaks down to 80% for research and 20% for team coordination and collaboration activities. The actual value of a grant and the distribution of the grant money among the team members will be determined by need, the size of the team and the team’s budget.

More details can be found on the IFS website in the document:
http://www.ifs.se/IFS/Documents/Publications/IFS%20Collaborative%20Research%20Grants.pdf
To express interest in participating in this pilot project, fill out the form here: http://applications.ifs.se

Deadline: April 27, 2014

Call for applications: Introduction to Laboratory Management and Equipment Operations Training Workshop

Biosciences tools can be used to address many of Africa’s agricultural challenges such as pests, diseases and climatic constraints that result in low crop yields and poor animal productivity. However, opportunities linking modern biosciences to agricultural improvement to solve some of Africa’s major agricultural problems remain largely
untapped.

The BecA-ILRI Hub hosts and conducts research in crop, microbe and livestock areas where new developments in biosciences and well trained researchers can solve some intractable problems constraining Africa’s food security. For more information about the BecA-ILRI Hub please visit: http://hub.africabiosciences.org/

As part of its capacity building program, the BecA-ILRI Hub will hold a training workshop Laboratory Management and Equipment Operations Training Workshop at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania on the 16th- 20th June 2014.

Scope of the training workshop
Efficient management of any laboratory facility is necessary to ensure that research is quality controlled and resources are utilized cost effectively. Laboratory management practices must ensure compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks for health and safety, waste management, import and export of biological materials and biosafety. In addition the management of laboratory equipment is a core function and contributes significantly towards the success of any laboratory. Therefore, good laboratory management skills are necessary for personnel charged with management of these vital facilities.
This course aims to cover the following scope; lab design and classification, lab information management system (LIMS), lab quality control, equipment operations and maintenance. Also included are laboratory health and safety, procurement procedures, shipping of biological samples and materials transfer agreements.

Who can apply/selection criteria
The Hub is seeking applicants from eastern and central Africa region who require basics skills in laboratory management. The training is targeting Laboratory heads or supervisors, Scientists and Laboratory/research technicians.  In addition, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be nationals of BecA countries are eligible (Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda).
  • Strong affiliation with a national agricultural research program or institution or university in any of the above BecA countries.
  • Currently engaged in agricultural biosciences research.
  • Holders of BSc, MSc or PhD in biosciences or a related subject.
  • Good working knowledge of written and spoken English.
  • Have a letter of nomination/recommendation from head of department or institution head.

Women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

Application process

Important dates

  • The online application form must be submitted by mid-night, 17th April 2014 (Nairobi time).
  • Applications received after the deadline or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by 19th May 2014.

Workshop sponsors

  • The Australia Government Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through a partnership between Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and the BecA-ILRI Hub.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
  • The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.
  • The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology

Thank you for considering this opportunity and we look forward to hearing from you.

 

Attachments: Download this file (Concept note IPLMEO.pdf)Concept note IPLMEO.pdf[ ]72 KbDownload this file (IPLMEO Draft program.pdf)Draft Workshop Program[ ]138 Kb

Call for application: 40 Chances Fellowship program, spurring innovation in developing market based approaches to address food insecurity, conflict and poverty

The 40 Chances Fellows program will fund four 40 Chances Fellows with the most innovative social enterprise plans that use strategies built on the principles of 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World

These social enterprises must seek to address issues of hunger, conflict, or poverty and may be established in any one of the following four countries where the Africa Governance Initiative has a strong presence: Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Malawi.

Each of four fellows will receive $80,000 in start-up funds and $70,000 for living and transportation expenses (a total of $150,000) for one year.

Application deadline is May 31, 2014 and winners will be selected by a blue ribbon panel of judges and formally announced at the 2014 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 39 on the date the application closes (May 31, 2014)

For more information on the fellowship program and to apply, visit this link http://www.40chances.com/fellows/

Researching, Collaborating, Teaching - Sabbatical Scientist hosts bioinformatics and genomics workshop at the BecA-ILRI Hub

Today, 28 February 2014, marks the end of a five-day introductory workshop in bioinformatics and genomics. The hosting of the workshop at the ILRI campus in Nairobi was a collaboration between the BecA-ILRI Hub, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and Reed and Lewis & Clark Colleges.

The introductory workshop in bioinformatics and genomics held at ILRI, Nairobi 24-28 February 2014, was conducted by BecA-ILRI Hub in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and Reed and Lewis & Clark Colleges. The workshop was facilitated by Prof Sarah Schaack, Assistant Professor of Biology, Reed College, USA . (photo credit: BecA-ILRI Hub/Ethel Makila)

Workshop facilitator Sarah Schaack is an Assistant Professor of Biology, Reed College, USA currently on sabbatical at the BecA-ILRI Hub. The course attended by 34 participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda introduced participants to basic concepts and tools in bioinformatics and genomics through a combination of lectures, hands-on demonstrations and discussions. I addition to introducing fundamental challenges in DNA sequence analysis, the workshop highlighted research methods and best practices including developing hypotheses, identifying appropriate controls and ensuring reproducibility.

To ensure that participants can apply the newly acquired skills beyond the workshop, all programs, data and papers that were used were derived from freely accessible resources including public databases, free software and public access scientific literature.

Schaack is among the scientists from leading international research institutions who complement the core BecA-ILRI Hub staff.  These experts enable a broader and deeper range of research and capacity strengthening programmes to be conducted at the BecA–ILRI Hub and a larger number of younger African scientists to be mentored in their research by more experienced scientists.

Schaack first visited the BecA-ILRI Hub in 2011 to facilitate an inaugural set of bioinformatics and genomics workshops she had developed to introduce researchers to DNA sequence analysis.

Says Schaack, “When I first visited BecA, I was so impressed with the research, interactions, facilities and human resources available. It was exciting to know that BecA was a place where I could not only do capacity building but could conduct research at the same time.”

In October 2013, Schaack returned to the BecA-ILRI Hub on a sabbatical. Her time at the BecA-ILRI Hub has enabled the formation of collaborations and partnerships with other organizations in the region.

“BecA is a fantastic host institution and my experience here has exceeded any hopes I might have had. To other scientists, I can only say, you don’t want to miss out! There is so much to learn and so many ways to engage here, I can't wait for my next sabbatical!” said Schaack.

Food security in Africa, opportunities and challenges: BecA-ILRI Hub Director at the Annual Bioforsk Conference in Norway

 

During the 5-6 February 2014 Annual Conference organized by the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Bioforsk, Dr Appolinaire Djikeng, Director of the BecA-ILRI Hub gave a keynote presentation on the opportunities and challenges of food security in Africa.

While at the conference in Hamar, Norway, Dr Djikeng also had the opportunity to compare the challenges that Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia face in as far as food security is concerned with Dr Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, Director of International Projects in South and SE Asia and Africa at Bioforsk.

In this 5minute film, Dr Djikeng and Dr Nagothu discuss the need to support small holder farmers in both regions to manage land and water resources, access markets and manage post-harvest losses to ensure sustainable food production. 

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About Bioforsk

Bioforsk, the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, conducts applied and specifically targeted research linked to multifunctional agriculture and rural development, plant sciences, environmental protection and natural resource management. International collaboration is given high priority.

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