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Partnering for research and development

Capacity Development, Technology and Knowledge Transfer Initiative: a joint agreement between Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) and the Biosciences eastern and central Africa–International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub, 14th March 2013.

nmaist.jpgThe Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) and the Biosciences eastern and central Africa- International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub signed a formal letter endorsing a partnership between the two institutions on March, 14, 2013. The partnership will see both institutions benefit from each other’s resources and scientific knowledge. The signing of the letter of agreement for the Joint Capacity Development, Technology and Knowledge Transfer Initiative took place at the NM-AIST campus in Arusha, Tanzania.

The NM-AIST and the BecA-ILRI Hub have a shared vision of driving Africa’s development through the empowerment of African scientists to engage in cutting edge research. Through the partnership, the institutions will share skills, technologies and facilities to enhance their research and capacity building programs via exchange visits by researchers. The institutions will also conduct collaborative agricultural biosciences research aimed at addressing food safety and security in the region.

As an initial implementation of the agreement, Dr Morris Agaba, professor at NM-AIST School of Life Sciences and Bioengineering, will take up a joint appointment with the BecA-ILRI Hub. Dr Agaba will provide overall leadership of a project entitled “Harnessing genetic diversity for improving goat productivity in Africa” which brings together partners from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

“The establishment of the First Research Chair is the beginning of great achievements to be realized though this partnership” said Prof. Burton Mwamila.

Other areas of collaboration will include exchange of Adjunct Faculty members, organization of joint technical meetings & workshops, various joint training courses and the co-funding of scientists to conduct research at the BecA-ILRI Hub. “There are many more opportunities for collaboration in research and capacity building” said Dr. Djikeng. “We shall continue to explore ways to further strengthen the partnership between these two institutions”.


The BecA-ILRI Hub - A vibrant, dynamic center of bioscience excellence

Partnerships between scientists in and outside Africa are an integral part of research geared towards achieving food security on the continent.

In Kenya, the Arbovirus Incidence and Diversity Project (AVID ) brought together (icipe), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI ); Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS); Department of Veterinary Services; Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation; and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI ) to improve the prediction and prevention of rift valley fever (RVF) and other emerging arboviruses that have serious health and economic implications on animal husbandry in Africa.

The BecA-ILRI Hub receives Illumina Agricultural Greater Good Initiative Grant

The BecA-ILRI Hub yesterday (15th January 2013) received a grant from Illumina’s Agricultural Greater Good

Initiative. In San Diego, USA to receive the award was the BecA-ILRI Hub Director (interim) Dr Appolinaire Djikengwho says “such initiatives are the key to bringing Africa out from the shadow of poverty and food insecurity”.

Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund Fellowship Announcement

The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) is a competitive fund which facilitates access to the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub in
Nairobi, Kenya, for scientists and students from African national research institutes and universities.

The BecA-ILRI Hub provides a common biosciences research platform, research-related services and capacity building opportunities to eastern and central Africa and beyond. The Hub increases access to affordable, world-class research facilities, while creating and strengthening human resources in biosciences and related disciplines in Africa.  These activities focus on addressing key constraints in African agriculture.

We seek applicants who have exceptional ideas for short-term research projects (3-6 months) that can be carried out at the BecA-ILRI Hub. Projects must be related to food and nutritional security, food safety or animal health issues. Scientists who are conducting research in the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply, as are women candidates:

  • African swine fever (ASF) epidemiology and control
  • Improved vaccines and diagnosis of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP)
  • Development of vaccines for peste des petits ruminants (PPR)
  • Improved control strategies for other animal diseases
  • Harnessing genetic diversity for conservation, resistance to disease and improving productivity of livestock, particularly of goats, cavies (guinea pigs) and chickens (focusing on African indigenous breeds)
  • Research on orphan (under-studied) crops including: amaranth, African wild mushrooms, enset and other under- researched important African crops
  • Genetic diversity studies for improving productivity of other important crops
  • Mycotoxins: addressing aflatoxin and other mycotoxin contamination of maize and other foods
  • Plant transformation to address food insecurity in Africa
  • Tissue culture and virus indexing for production of virus-free planting materials in Africa
  • Rapid diagnosis of crop and livestock disease: adopting and adapting existing diagnostics for use in Africa
  • Plant ‘viromics’: viral screening and pathogen discovery in plants for improving and developing diagnostic tools
  • Metagenomics for microbial diversity
  • Bioinformatics
  • Other innovative ideas that could potentially lead to major breakthroughs.

Applicant requirements

  • A national of one of the BecA-ILRI Hub 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 and Uganda.
  • Affiliated with a national agricultural research program or university in the BecA-ILRI Hub region
  • Currently engaged in agricultural research
  • MSc or PhD in agricultural biosciences
  • Good working knowledge of written and spoken English
  • Completed online application form and uploaded CV and research project concept note.

CLICK HERE to apply

Funding for travel, accommodation, medical insurance, and some research expenses at the Hub will be provided. Please note that funding for research at the applicant’s home institute or field work is not provided under the ABCF Fellowship programme.

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

Thank you and good bye - Dr Segenet Kelemu bids BecA-ILRI Hub Farewell

Dear colleagues, friends and partners,

As some of you already know, I am leaving the BecA Hub and ILRI at the end of November, 2012 after five and half years as the BecA Hub Director. This is also a departure from the CGIAR after over 20 years of service, 15 of these at CIAT in Colombia. I will be joining the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as their Vice President – Programs on 01 December, 2012 (

The BecA-ILRI Hub participates in International Food Security Conference

Today (30th November 2012) in Sydney, key food security specialists from Africa will come together with Australian and other counterparts to focus on the many issues related to food security in Africa and the important role that Australia can play. This high level delegation of African Agriculture Ministers, researchers, policy makers and extension workers are attending an international forum “Food Security in Africa: Bridging Research and Practice”, an event which will see the launching of Australia’s new International Food Security Centre (AIFSC) by Senator The Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia.

The new research frontiers

Swedish National radio highlights research at the BecA-ILRI Hub

The BecA-ILRI Hub recently hosted Pelle Zettersten, a radio journalist from the Science department of Swedish National Radio. Pelle was on a tour of eastern Africa to report recent scientific developments in the areas of agriculture, environment and energy, and the future plans by different countries as concerns science and technology.

Introducing new staff

Introducing Jacqueline Mayira, Berine Ada and Kimani Wilson

Supporting biotechnology excellence in Africa

Dr. Appolinaire Djikeng to serve on the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Institute for Biotechnology in Nigeria

The BecA-ILRI Hub Technology Manager, Dr. Appolinaire Djikeng, has been invited to serve on the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Institute for Biotechnology in Nigeria.

New staff at the BecA-ILRI Hub

Introducing Dr Timothy Holton and Dr Solomon Benor
Dr Solomon Benor joined the BecA-ILRI Hub in August 2012 as a Post-Doctoral Scientist in Molecular Genetics. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology with a specialization in molecular systematics and population genetics from Kassel University, Germany. His PhD studies were supported by a scholarship and research grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Research (IPK).

BecA-ILRI Research Fellow receives Norman E. Borlaug LEAP Fellowship

Samuel Mutiga has been selected as a Fellow for the Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (LEAP) of the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellows Program. Samuel, a PhD student at the Cornell University, USA, is currently attached to the BecA-ILRI Hub’s Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA) project.

Viral metagenomics demonstrates that pigs are a potential reservoir for Ndumu virus

Dr Charles Masembe, a recipient of BecA Hub’s Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund from Makerere University, Uganda, together with colleagues from African Insect Science for Food and Health (icipe), ILRI Biotechnology theme , the BecA-ILRI Hub and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), have recently demonstrated that domestic pigs are a potential reservoir for Ndumu virus (NDUV).

BecA-ILRI Hub Director receives prestigious TWAS award

The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) awarded Segenet Kelemu the 2011 TWAS Prize for Agricultural Sciences during the 23rd TWAS General Meeting in Tianjin on Tuesday 18 September. The award was presented to her by the Chinese President Hu Jintao “for her discovery of beneficial endophytic fungi and bacteria in the tropical forage grass Brachiaria and for her contributions to the understanding of their roles in plant development and environmental fitness.

Introducing new staff at the BecA-ILRI Hub

Dr. Laura Purdie Has joined the BecA-ILRI Hub as a postdoctoral scientist in molecular diagnostics.

Laura has a strong background in molecular biology and virology. She has also gained extensive experience of PCR, DNA cloning and virological techniques from the University of Oxford and GlaxoSmithKline.

Loop-mediated isothermal amplification of DNA (LAMP) assay Workshop

A workshop on Loop-mediated isothermal amplification of DNA (LAMP) assay for rapid detection of capripoxviruses insheep, goats and cattle will be held at the BecA-ILRI Hub from 9-13 July 2012. The workshop is being organized through the Molecular diagnosis of livestock diseases: adapting and adopting existing diagnostics for developing country laboratories, a collaborative project between BecA-ILRI Hub and the United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/Foreign Animal Diagnostics Laboratory ( USDA/APHIS/FADDL).

Introducing New Staff at the BecA Hub


Introducing Sarah Osama, Mercy Macharia, Joyce Njuguna and Pauline Asami.

Science, technology and innovation grant 2012/2013 - Call for innovations proposals

National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) is a statutory institution of the Government of Kenya established by the Science and Technology Act. Cap. 250 of the Laws of Kenya. One of the main functions of NCST is to promote and coordinate matters of Science, Technology and Innovations (ST&I) in the country. The Council administers the Government ST&I grant designed to supports

The BecA-ILRI Hub's first lab management course

The BecA-ILRI Hub conducted a five-day training on Introduction to Principles in Laboratory Management and Equipment Operations Workshop from 4th to 8th June 2012. Areas covered in the training included general lab design; good laboratory practices (GLP) in lab management; laboratory health and safety; laboratory biosafety and biosecurity; equipment operations and maintenance; supply chain management; shipping of biological materials; material transfer agreements; and intellectual property rights.

Dr. Bruce Pengelly - BecA Hub's partner of the year, 2011

During his visit to the BecA Hub on 5th March 2012, CSIRO’s Partnerships leader Dr. Bruce Pengelly was awarded the Hub’s Outstanding Partner of the Year for2011. This award recognizes Bruce’s exemplary contribution to the BecA Hub. It appreciates his relentless commitment to Africa and his outstanding dedication to ensuring the BecA-CSIRO partnership works well and achieves impact for Africans.  Bruce always displays a deep respect to all stakeholders and partners and reiterates the importance of BecA’s work throughout the African region and internationally to his networks.

Next Generation Science - a part of the Global Livestock Agenda

On Tuesday 13 March 2012, a delegation of experts from various international organizations concerned with advancing livestock development took an extensive tour of the facilities at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub. The visit to the Hub was the culmination of a high level consultative meeting on The Global Livestock Agenda by 2020 held at ILRI and co-chaired by the Director General of ILRI – Jimmy Smith and Livestock Advisor for the World Bank – François Le Gall.

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