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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. 

____________________________________________________________________________

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.

Call for applications: Introduction to Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics Training Workshop 2014

Background
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 on introductory molecular biology and bioinformatics from 5th to 16th May, 2014. For more information on the workshop, the concept note and draft program are available below.

Scope of the training workshop
Selected applicants will be sponsored to attend an intensive 2-week training workshop consisting of lectures and hands on training in DNA purification, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA sequencing and bioinformatics. Participants will also experience the research discovery process whereby potentially novel DNA sequences acquired by each participant will be analyzed and discussed during the bioinformatics sessions. Training will be given by experts in molecular biology and bioinformatics from the BecA-ILRI Hub and regional partner research institutions.

Who can apply/selection criteria
The Hub is seeking applicants from eastern and central Africa region who require basics skills in molecular biology and bioinformatics to support their research. The training is targeting graduate students and early career researchers, based on evidence of productive scholarship and research, relevance of the workshop to applicant’s current research, and visible engagement in agricultural research within a national research institute or university. Additionally, applicants must must meet the following criteria:

  • Only 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.
  • 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, 28th February 2014 (Nairobi time).
  • Applications received after the deadline or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by 17th March  2014.
  • Further information to successful applicants will be communicated by 24th March 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.
  • Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.


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

Attachments: Download this file (IMBB 2014 CONCEPT NOTE .pdf)IMBB 2014 CONCEPT NOTE .pdf[ ]254 KbDownload this file (IMBB workshop announcement flyer.pdf)IMBB workshop announcement flyer.pdf[ ]474 Kb

Un-wrapping a 6 million dollar “Christmas Gift”: Sweden increases funding to the BecA-ILRI Hub for research towards food security

From 20 - 21 January 2014, members of the BecA-ILRI Hub team will be refining a strategy to deploy SEK 40 million (approximately USD 6 million) received from the Swedish government, late November 2013.

The team is looking critically at how best the supplemental funding  can be used to enhance research and capacity building activities in the BecA-Sweden partnership on food security and climate change.

The funding agreement was signed at the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi on 22 November 2013 by Swedish Ambassador to Kenya, HE Johan Borgstam and ILRI Director General, Jimmy Smith following a review of the BecA-Sweden partnership projects.

“The signing of this agreement is a testimony to the commitment the team has collectively demonstrated to deliver on existing agreements,” said BecA-ILRI Hub Director, Appolinaire Djikeng.

Gity Behravan, Senior Research Advisor/First Secretary: Regional Research Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden in Kenya, commended the progress of the partnership saying “Everyone has been very impressed with the research and capacity building collaborations the BecA-ILRI Hub has established with different national institutions through the BecA-Sweden partnership.”

“We are also very encouraged with the broader ‘south-south-north’ institutional cooperation that the Hub is now fostering. These are the partnerships 21st Century research needs in order to find solutions to food insecurity”, she said.

The supplemental funding will also support the strengthening of shared technology platforms (genomics, bioinformatics, nutrition analysis and diagnostics) established by the Hub and will contribute to the development of research capacity in selected regional National Agricultural Research institutions.

Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund 2014 Research Fellowships: Call for Applications

Closing date for applications: February 28th 2014

The Biosciences eastern and central Africa - International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub, located in Nairobi, Kenya, is a shared agricultural research and biosciences platform that exists to increase access for African researchers to affordable, world-class research facilities. In addition, the BecA-ILRI Hub provides research-related services and capacity building opportunities to eastern and central Africa and beyond. 

The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF), managed by the BecA-ILRI Hub, provides fellowships to scientists and graduate students from African national agricultural research organisations and universities to undertake biosciences research-for-development projects at the BecA-ILRI Hub. The purpose of the ABCF fellowship program is to develop capacity for agricultural biosciences research in Africa, to support research projects that ultimately contribute towards increasing food and nutritional security or food safety in Africa, and to facilitate access to the BecA-ILRI Hub by African researchers.

 We seek applicants with innovative ideas for short to medium term research projects (up to 12 months) that can be undertaken at the BecA-ILRI Hub. Projects must be in the areas of food and nutritional security or food safety in Africa. 

Scientists and graduate students conducting research in the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply:

  • Improved control of priority livestock diseases including African swine fever (ASF); contagious bovine and caprine pleuropneumonia (CBPP and CCPP); peste des petits ruminants (PPR); Rift Valley fever (RVF); East Coast fever (ECF); capripox virus diseases of ruminants;
  • Harnessing genetic diversity for conservation, resistance to disease and improving productivity of crops and livestock (livestock focus: African indigenous breeds, particularly of goats, chickens, and cavies and other micro-livestock);
  • Molecular breeding for important food security crops in Africa;
  • Plant transformation to address food insecurity in Africa;
  • Plant-microbe interactions;
  • Tissue culture and virus indexing for production of virus-free planting materials in Africa;
  • Orphan crops including amaranth, baobab, taro, wild mushrooms, enset;
  • Crop pests, pathogens and weed management research, including biological control;
  • Food safety, including addressing aflatoxin and other mycotoxin contamination in food and feeds;
  • Nutritional analysis of food and feeds;
  • Rapid diagnostics for crop and livestock diseases;
  • Genomics and metagenomics, including for microbial discovery;
  • Studies on climate-smart forage grasses and mixed livestock-crop systems;
  • Microbial technology for improving adaptation of staple food crops and grasses to biotic and abiotic stresses;
  • Soil health in agricultural systems;
  • Special opportunities also exist to connect with leading international scientists linked with the BecA-ILRI Hub in the following areas: wheat rusts, insect pests, nitrogen fixation. (For these opportunities please apply by Dec 31st 2013)
  • Other special opportunities exist to connect with CGIAR Research Programs on Livestock & Fish and Agriculture for Nutrition & Health to explore how their proposed research might fit into the on-going efforts to improve pro-poor food systems in Tanzania (smallholder dairy), Uganda (smallholder pigs), Egypt (aquaculture) and Ethiopia (small ruminants). Such collaboration would allow the candidate’s research to contribute more directly to an impact-oriented research-for-development agenda, and offer additional opportunities for joint activities. For more information, please contact: Dr. Amos Omorea.omore at cgiar dot org (Tanzania dairy); Dr. Danilo Pezo d.pezo at cgiar dot org (Uganda pigs); Dr. Malcolm Dickson m.dickson at cgiar dot org (Egypt aquaculture); Dr. Barbara Rischkowsky b.rischkowsky at cgiar dot org (Ethiopia small ruminants).

 We particularly welcome applications from women candidates. 

 Applicant requirements

  • National (passport holder) of a BecA-ILRI Hub target country: 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. In exceptional cases we may consider applicants from other African countries.
  • A researcher at a national agricultural research organization or university in a BecA-ILRI Hub target country
  • Currently engaged in research in food and nutritional security or food safety in Africa, or in a research area with relevance to agriculture in Africa
  • MSc or PhD in biosciences, agriculture or related subject. In exceptional cases we may consider applicants with a bachelor’s degree.
  • Good working knowledge of written and spoken English
  • Completed online application form
  • A signed letter of approval for your application from the head of your institute.

Costs covered by the fellowship 

  • Research at the BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Travel
  • Medical insurance
  • Accommodation
  • Living allowance

Please note that fellowships do not cover the cost of fieldwork or research at the applicant’s home institute.

Timeline

  • Closing date for applications: February 28th 2014.
  • We will begin to notify early applicants from Dec 1st 2013. The notification process will be completed by April 30th 2014.
  • Implementation of projects: from January 2014

CLICK HERE TO APPLY ONLINE: https://beca.fluidreview.com 

 The ABCF Research Fellowship programme is supported by the Australian Government through a partnership between Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the BecA-ILRI Hub; and by the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you.

Email: Beca-Hub at cgiar dot org 

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION GUIDELINES HERE:

Attachments: Download this file (Application Guidelines.pdf)Application Guidelines.pdf[ ]129 Kb

Applications open: Guest Scholarship Programme for post-doctoral research in Sweden

The Guest Scholarship Programme for post-doctoral research in Sweden

The programme aims at strengthening and developing research relevant to capacity building and fighting poverty in programme countries. An estimated 20 scholarships will be offered for the academic year 2014/2015.

The scholarship application call for the academic year 2014/2015 is now open. The application deadline is 24:00 CET, 2 February 2014.


Countries
The programme is targeted at candidates from the following countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Target group
The programme provides researchers with a PhD degree with an opportunity to conduct research at Swedish universities and research institutes. Priority will be given to applicants with a PhD degree from 2009 or later.

Duration of scholarship
The scholarships will be granted for long-term visits (6, 9 or 12 months) during the academic year 2014/2015 (1 September 2014 to 31 August 2015).

Fields of research
The following disciplines only are eligible during this call for applications:

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Natural Sciences
  • Technology
  • Environmental Science related to Agricultural Sciences or Natural Sciences or Technology


The next call for applications for the academic year 2015/2016 will be open for the following disciplines only:

  • Business and Social Sciences
  • Health and Medicine
  • Environmental Science related to Social Sciences


Scholarship benefits
The scholarship amounts to SEK 18,000 per month. The scholarship includes one travel grant of SEK 15,000 and insurance coverage. The scholarship cannot be prolonged or extended.

SI Network for Future Global Leaders
All Swedish Institute scholarship holders are invited to become members of the SI Network for Future Global Leaders; a network which offers unique opportunities during and after the stay in Sweden. Together with other talented people from all around the world, the scholarship holder is invited to take part in a variety of events, exchange ideas and create networks which benefit both career and personal development.

Who is eligible?
The scholarships are intended for holders of a PhD degree within any of the above-mentioned disciplines eligible for 2014/2015 for full-time research in Sweden. The applicant is not eligible for this scholarship if any of the following is true:

  • Has already lived in Sweden for two or more years when the scholarship period is due to begin.
  • Already has a Swedish permanent residence permit.


Applicants who have previously been awarded a scholarship from SI for study or research at a Swedish university will not be given priority.

Selection criteria and areas of priority
Applications are evaluated by the Swedish Institute and an academic board. The primary evaluation of the application takes into account the applicant’s academic background and personal motivation, research quality and expertise in the project field of the host department. Also the strength of the research proposal with regard to its scientific quality, originality, methodological approach, and relevance is evaluated. In the final selection of candidates SI will consider the distribution of scholarships with regards to academic fields, universities, purpose of study, nationality and gender.

The application should clearly state how your research project can contribute to the development in your country.

Insurance
Scholarship holders are insured by the Swedish State Group Insurance against illness and accident during the scholarship period.

Scholarship limitations

  • The scholarship is designed to cover living costs for the scholarship holder. There are no grants for family members. No funding for bench fees is provided.
  • The granted scholarship period cannot be altered or extended. In case of a postponed arrival date, the scholarship period can be decreased accordingly.

How to apply
Please read the application instructions here.

Application deadline
The scholarship application call for the academic year 2014/2015 is now open. Application deadline is 24:00 CET, 2 February 2014.

Call for Proposals: CTA Top-20 Innovations for Smallholder farmers

38a97.jpgThe Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is calling for proposals on innovations in use or have potential in smallholder agricultural production systems in ACP countries and which if known and widely promoted can benefit other farming communities. 

From among the applicants, an international jury, comprising a multi-disciplinary team of experts drawn from agricultural research, academia, extension and farmers’ organizations will select a shortlist (40-50) which will then be voted on by farmers. The final top 20 will be selected by an international panel of experts. 

Successful applicants (CTA top 20) will be given a grant of 5,000 Euros to elaborate their ‘innovation’ as a guidebook (for which they will receive support from the jury members); and invited to a cross-learning workshop where they will also work with an editor and an artist to finalize the guidebook which explains the innovation and the design of a brochure and a poster which can be disseminated to the public at large (for use, inter alia, by extension agents). 

All materials will be made available in English and French, and will be widely distributed in ACP countries.  A media campaign will be organized to draw to the attention of the public and policy makers of the possibilities that these innovations carry to significantly improve smallholders’  lives.

A maximum of € 100 000 is available for this grant.

For more information please refer to the attached document.

Attachments: Download this file (Top 20 Innovation_Call for Proposals-En version.doc)Top20 Innovation Call for Proposals[ ]75 Kb

Making Science Public: BecA-ILRI Hub 2013 annual training workshop on Scientific Research Paper Writing

The BecA-ILRI Hub annual Scientific Research Paper Writing workshop kicked off on 18 November 2013 at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha. 

During the official opening of the workshop, NM-AIST Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Research and Innovation Professor Madundo Mtambo praised the partnership between the BecA-ILRI Hub and NM-AIST in strengthening the capacity of African scientists to drive Africa’s development. 

The writing workshop which is designed to boost publication by African scientists in international peer-reviewed journals has 25 participants from 13 BecA countries (Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda). The participants will undergo a 5-day intensive, interactive hands-on training, during which they will develop manuscripts from their own project reports, and/data. The goal is to have these scientists submit their paper to a journal for publication within three to six months of completing the workshop.

The hosting of BecA-ILRI Hub’s writing workshop by NM-AIST is one example of the collaboration between the two institutions, who signed a formal letter of agreement for a Joint Capacity Development, Technology and Knowledge transfer Initiative on March, 14, 2013.

CGIAR Fund Council members visit the BecA-ILRI Hub


Appolinaire Djikeng with CGIAR Fund Council Members at the BecA-ILRI Hub 8 November 2013Members of the CGIAR Fund Council had an opportunity to see firsthand how high end biosciences are enhancing agricultural research for development in Africa.

As part of their visit to the ILRI Campus in Nairobi on November 8 2013, the Fund Council members were led on a tour of the BecA-ILRI Hub by Director, Appolinaire Djikeng. The BecA-ILRI Hub facilities have been made available to visiting scientists from different National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) all over Africa through a strong capacity building program and through collaborative research projects.

As they toured the facilities which include a range of advanced molecular biology, immunology, diagnostics, crop research laboratories, genomics and bioinformatics platforms, and a bio-repository, the Fund Council Members interacted with some of the visiting African scientists and learnt about the increased opportunities for CGIAR Research programs to complement Africa’s agriculture development plans and priority research initiatives.

 

Better detection of Aflatoxins for Improved Food Safety: Policy brief on diagnostics launched

 

A policy brief developed by BecA-ILRI Hub led project team on importance of diagnostics to aflatoxin control is launched in Washington DC

 

A better understanding of the quantitative, geographic, and time-based occurrence of aflatoxins in the food supply chain will boost the scale of response to this toxic threat to food safety globally.

In a policy brief that highlights the need for accessible, affordable, and context-appropriate diagnostics tools, a team of researchers from the Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA) project that is working to develop such tools, discusses how these advances in technology will help policy makers to make informed interventions in improving food safety.

The brief by CAAREA was among a set of 19 policy briefs that were launched by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on 5th November, 2013 in Washington DC. The policy briefs prepared by various groups of global experts review what is known about health risks from aflatoxins, discuss how to overcome market constraints to aflatoxin control, explore the international policy context for taking action in developing countries, and assess the state of research on new aflatoxin control technologies.

Aflatoxins, toxic chemicals that are a by-product of fungus common in grains and other food crops, are a significant threat to food safety and security in many developing countries. These chemicals can cause cancer, are lethal in high doses, and may suppress immune systems, reduce nutrient absorption, and stunt the development of infants.

A multi-disciplinary, five country team is working at the BecA-ILR Hub in an Australian Government funded research and development project, to develop cost effective tools that detect aflatoxin contamination in maize. The tools include real-time predictive tools to forecast potential aflatoxin outbreaks in maize that will ultimately help policy makers to target solutions before critical outbreaks occur.

 

Read more about the research on aflatoxins and the regional mycotoxin analytical platform at the BecA-ILRI Hub here: Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA)

Download the policy brief on aflatoxin diagnostics here: Improving Diagnostics for Aflatoxin Detection

Read more about/download the IFPRI Policy Briefs on aflatoxins here: Aflatoxins - finding solutions for improved food safety

Call for Workshop Participants: Scientific Writing and Communication with a focus on neglected and underutilised species of plants

The International Foundation for Science (IFS) in collaboration with Bioversity International; Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM); and Institut de Recherché et de Développment sur la Biodiversité des Plantes Cultivées, Aromatiques et Médicinales (IRDCAM) would like to announce a call for the following workshop to be held in Bénin: "Scientific Writing and Communication with a focus on neglected and underutilised species of plants" being held on November 25-29th, 2013.

Download details of the workshop, requirements and eligibility here. Download the appplication form here.  Please note that the deadline for submissions of interest is 28th October, 2013.

Please note that only nationals of Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria and Bénin are eligible.

Course Organisers:

  • International Foundation for Science (IFS) - http://www.ifs.se 
  • Bioversity International - http://www.bioversityinternational.org/ 
  • Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) - http://www.ruforum.org/
  • Institut de Recherché et de Développment sur la Biodiversité des Plantes Cultivées, Aromatiques et Médicinales (IRDCAM)

 

Attachments: Download this file (Scientific Communication Application Form 2013.doc)Scientific Communication Application Form 2013.doc[ ]92 KbDownload this file (Scientific Writing Call NUS Benin 2013.pdf)Scientific Writing Call NUS Benin 2013.pdf[ ]786 Kb

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