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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.

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

Paper on cassava research at the BecA-ILRI Hub is the most read research article


A paper published by Ugandan scientist working at the BecA-ILRI Hub is the “most read” research article on an Oxford University Press journal for life sciences, the AoB PLANTS. 

Laban Turyagyenda’s article “Physiological and molecular characterization of drought responses and identification of candidate tolerance genes in cassava” was based on his research that aimed to identify genetic markers that could be used in breeding the crop for drought tolerance.

Cassava is the staple food for more than 700 million people in over 100 countries and is not only the world’s fourth-most important source of calories, but it is also the second-most important source of starch for industry. The crop grows adequately under drought condition and its enhanced productivity could greatly increase the level of food security in such environments.

9032469340_e71371be04.jpgThe supervision of Turyagyaenda's PhD research was undertaken by Dr Jagger Harvey Senior Scientist, BecA-ILRI Hub and Dr Morag Ferguson, Molecular Geneticist, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Dr Ferguson is a member of the extended BecA-ILRI Hub Faculty whose expertise enables the Hub to support a broader and deeper range of research and capacity strengthening programs.

Read/download the article here: Physiological and molecular characterization of drought responses and identification of candidate tolerance genes in cassava

Read Laban Turyagyenda’s personal account of his experience at the BecA-ILRI Hub: World class research in the heart of Africa.

 

Scientific Research Paper Writing Workshop: 18th-22nd November 2013

Location: The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania


Communication of research findings in peer-reviewed journals is the standard by which scientists and their findings are evaluated by the scientific community. Publication ensures that research findings are accessible for use in related studies and are thereby better translated into agricultural improvement. To boost publication in international peer-reviewed journals by African scientists, the Biosciences eastern and central Africa - International Livestock Research Institute Hub (BecA-ILRI Hub), Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) will hold a workshop on scientific research paper writing at NM-AIST, Arusha, Tanzania on 18th-22nd November, 2013.


The workshop is open to PhD students and early career agricultural researchers with a strong interest in improving their writing skills. Selected participants will benefit from intensive, interactive hands-on training, during which participants will develop their own manuscripts with the goal of submitting to a journal for publication within three to six months of completing the workshop. Participants should bring 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. In order to fully benefit from this workshop, bringing a manuscript that is in an advanced stage of preparation is discouraged.


The trainers conducting the workshop will be Dr Chris Beadle (Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences) and Dr Peter Willadsen (Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Livestock Industries) with support from the BecA-ILRI Hub.


The workshop is funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through a partnership between CSIRO and the BecA-ILRI Hub; and by the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs through Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.


Applicant requirements


•    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;
•    Completed online application form submitted by 20th September 2013;
•    There are several fully funded places at this workshop. However, applicants who can fund their participation have an added advantage. The cost of the workshop is $1500, excluding flights.
Women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.


Applications received after the 20th September 2013 deadline and incomplete applications will not be considered. Successful applicants will be notified by 7th October 2013. Please note that only successful applicants will be notified.


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

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

Faculty for the Future Fellowships - Call for Applications 2014–2015

The Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future program, launched in 2004, awards fellowships to women from developing and emerging economies to pursue PhD or post-doctoral studies in the physical sciences*, engineering and technology at leading universities abroad.


The long-term goal of the Faculty for the Future program is to generate conditions that result in more women pursuing academic careers in scientific disciplines thus contributing to the socio-economic development of their home countries and regions.

 

The Faculty for the Future program is growing each year and has become a powerful community of 323 women scientists from 63 countries. Grant recipients are selected as much for their leadership capabilities as for their scientific talents. Ultimately they are expected to return to their home countries to continue their academic careers, to further their research, to teach and to become inspirational role models for other young women.


Faculty for the Future grants are based on actual costs up to a maximum of USD 50,000 per year and may be renewed through to completion of studies subject to performance, self-evaluation, and recommendations from supervisors.

 

  • Candidates should have applied to, have been admitted to, or be currently enrolled in a university abroad when submitting their Faculty for the Future grant application.
  • Candidates must hold an excellent academic record and illustrate their commitment to teaching and research or to using their scientific knowledge in public policy advocacy.
  • Candidates should demonstrate leadership skills and have a track record in encouraging young women into the sciences.


The Schlumberger Foundation is accepting applications for the 2014–2015 Faculty for the Future Fellowships from September 9th to November 15th, 2013 for new applications; from September 9th to November 8th, 2013 for renewal applications.


* Related disciplines may also be awarded. For example, awards in biological sciences are limited to interdisciplinary research between physical and biological sciences.


Schlumberger Foundation is an independent nonprofit entity that supports science and technology education. Recognizing the link between science, technology, and socio-economic development, as well as the key role of education in realizing individual potential, the Schlumberger Foundation’s flagship program is Faculty for the Future.


Copyright © 2013 Schlumberger Foundation. All rights reserved.

Advanced Bioinformatics Annual Training Workshop, 2013 - Call for Applications

BecA-ILRI Hub in collaboration with the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences (SLU) in Nairobi, Kenya October 7th - 18th, 2013

The BecA-ILRI Hub seeks to strengthen the capacity of the African scientific community, to conduct bioscience research and significantly contribute to improved agricultural products that can enhance livelihoods of farmers in the region.  

As part of its capacity building programme, the BecA-ILRI Hub in collaboration with the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences (SLU), Sweden, will hold a training workshop on Advanced Bioinformatics from 7th – 18th October 2013. The workshop aims to provide a learning forum for researchers in bioinformatics, computational biology as well as scientists utilizing computational methods in their research.

We are seeking applicants from eastern and central Africa who require advanced skills in Bioinformatics to support their research. We will select 25 graduate students and early career researchers, based on evidence of productive research and relevance of training to current research and who are engaged in agricultural research within a national research institute or university. 

Selected participants will attend an intensive 10-day workshop at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya. The program includes comprehensive lectures and hands-on training sessions in Next generation sequencing technologies and it's applications to infectious diseases, metagenomics and microbiome analysis–tools and computational approaches to studying viral genomes.

A team of creditable facilitators from the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences (SLU), Sweden; South African Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), South Africa; Université d'Aix-Marseille (AMU), France; the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), UK; the Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland; Wellcome Trust, Kilifi, Kenya; Inqaba Biotechnical Industries Ltd, South Africa; and BecA-ILRI Hub (Kenya) will conduct the training sessions.

Applicant requirements

  • A national of one of the BecA countries: 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..
  • Affiliated with a national research program or university in the East African BecA region
  • Currently engaged in biosciences research
  • BSc, MSc or PhD in biological sciences
  • Good working knowledge of written and spoken English
  • Online application form completed by 22nd September 2013:  http://hpc.ilri.cgiar.org/beca/training/AdvancedBFX2013_2/index.html. 

 Women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

Applications received after the 22nd September 2013 deadline and incomplete applications will not be considered. Successful applicants will be notified by 30th September 2013. The workshop organizers will cater for travel and accommodation costs. Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided during the workshop.

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

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

 

Good nutrition advice for tough farming conditions

9501829836_efb88c0038.jpgWith support from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) , the BecA-ILRI Hub recently highlighted the nutritional benefits and potential income gains to be made from growing and consuming amaranth on the Shamba Shape-Up TV show. This program that targets rural farmers with affordable and sustainable farm improvements is aired on Citizen TV in East Africa and has attracted an audience of over 11 million viewers.

Loaded with unique nutritional properties, the amaranth, a hardy, drought tolerant crop commonly regarded as a weed in many parts of Africa, presents the opportunity of complementing the nutritional properties of starchy staples. This under-recognized and under-studied traditional crop is especially beneficial for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as babies and children since its leaves are a good source of vitamins A, C, K and folate, while the grain contains high levels of protein containing essential amino acids, high dietary fiber content and minerals like iron, zinc and calcium.

The BecA-ILRI Hub’s research on amaranth is funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through a Research for Development partnership with Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Hub. The partnership is focused on improving food and nutritional security, and animal health in the region as well as building the capacity of African scientists and national research institutes.

Watch the episode on growing amaranth for improved nutrition and climate change mitigation
Read more about the project “Amaranth: adding nutrition to African diets through low cost sustainable processing”

 

 

Advanced Bioinformatics Workshop: J. Craig Venter Institute in collaboration with the BecA-ILRI Hub


Call for Applications: Advanced Bioinformatics Worskhop in Nairobi, Kenya August 22 – 28, 2013


The BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building programme seeks to strengthen the capability of the African scientific community to conduct bioscience research and significantly contribute to improved agricultural products that can enhance livelihoods of farmers in the region. As part of this programme, the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), USA, in collaboration with the BecA-ILRI Hub, will hold a training workshop on Advanced Bioinformatics from 22nd – 28th August 2013. The workshop aims to provide a learning forum for researchers in bioinformatics, computational biology as well as scientists utilizing computational methods in their research.

We are seeking applicants from East and Central Africa who require advanced skills in Bioinformatics to support their research. We will select 25 graduate students and early career researchers, based on evidence of productive research and relevance of training to current research and who are engaged in agricultural research within a national research institute or university. 

Selected participants will attend an intensive 5-day workshop at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya. The program includes comprehensive lectures and hands-on training sessions in Next generation sequencing technologies and it's applications to infectious diseases, metagenomics and microbiome analysis–tools and computational approaches to studying viral genomes.

 A team of creditable facilitators from JCVI, NIAID and BecA-ILRI Hub will conduct the training sessions.

Applicant requirements

Women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

 

Applications received after the 5 August 2013 deadline and incomplete applications will not be considered. Successful applicants will be notified by 9 August 2013. Workshop participants will have to organize their own travel and accommodation costs. Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided during the workshop.

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

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

Prestigious Award for BecA-ILRI Hub Scientist, Jagger Harvey

jjDr Jagger Harvey was presented the prestigious Societal Impact Award by The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in Norwich, UK. The award, one of four given to TSL alumni who have worked with developing country agriculture, was presented to Dr Harvey for his work at the BecA-ILRI Hub focused on research and capacity building.

Dr Harvey conducted his postdoctoral research at TSL from 2005 – 2008 with funding from the US National Science Foundation, before joining the BecA-ILRI Hub as crop research scientist. He is currently the Principal Investigator in the multi-disciplinary, multi-national team project - Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA) – which is seeking to develop strategies for the control of aflatoxin contamination food and feed in eastern Africa.

Dr Harvery received the award during the 25th anniversary celebration of TSL on June 24th, 2013 during which he also delivered one of the keynote presentations on "Research for development in African agriculture".

The Sainsbury Laboratory, located at the John Innes Centre, is a leading institute focused on understanding molecular plant-microbe interactions.

 

More information about TSL can be found at their website (http://www.tsl.ac.uk/)
Watch the TSL 25th Anniversary video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTk-3GAXlUQ).


 

 

Illumina MiSeq sequencer lights up diagnostics research in eastern and central Africa

From 24th June to 5th July 2013,  the BecA-ILRI Hub is hosting a training workshop on the use of the newly installed Illumina genome sequencing machine (MiSeq). The training conducted by Claudia Hasche, a senior field application specialist from the Alliance Global Group includes both wet-lab sessions as well as a number of presentations describing the MiSeq system and its different applications.

A first of its kind in the eastern Africa region, the MiSeq will enable the BecA-ILRI Hub genomics platform better meet the expectations of emerging research, capacity building and services demands in the BecA region and beyond. The Illumina MiSeq will significantly increase the capabilities of the genomics platform reduce sequencing costs.

“I am really excited about the possibilities this new sequencer presents,” says Francesca Stomeo a genomics scientist at the BecA-ILRI Hub who played a key role in organizing the workshop. “The MiSeq is more user-friendly, it is faster and it is less expensive to operate than other next generation sequencing platforms.


Among the scientists in the region who will have access to the new sequencer for their crop and livestock disease diagnostics research are Joseph Ndunguru, principal scientist at the Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute in Tanzania for his work on cassava viruses; ILRI Biosciences teams working on animal disease diagnostics; scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; scientists from the International Potato Center; as well as scientists from various other CGIAR centers and National Agricultural Research Institutions. The use of the sequencer by these researchers will be supported through a grant received by the Hub from the Illumina Agricultural Greater Good Initiative.

The machine was acquired with funding from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs through the BecA-Sweden partnership on food security. The partnership was developed to support food and nutritional security in the BecA sub region and enhance individual and institutional capacity building in the biosciences.  

BecA-ILRI Hub welcomes new staff

The BecA-ILRI Hub is delighted to welcome five new team members.

Laboratory management workshop to be held in Ethiopia

9032467288_77ab678604.jpgThe BecA-ILRI Hub’s annual “Introduction to Principles in Laboratory Management and Equipment Operations Workshop” kicks off on Monday 17th June 2013. This year’s workshop will be conducted at the Holetta Agricultural Research Centre, Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

The course was designed to address the operational gaps that exist in managing research facilities in Africa. The intensive 5-day workshop will introduce participants to principles in biosciences laboratory management and equipment operations including compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks for health and safety, waste management, import and export of biological materials and biosafety.

Participants to this workshop are drawn from individuals managing research laboratories in the eastern and central African region.

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