Newsroom

Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund alumnus celebrated for outstanding research

Ethiopian researcher and BecA-ILRI Hub alumnus Asfaw Kifle has been awarded a Medal of Honor for his outstanding output in taro research. 

The researcher from the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) was presented the award by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for his work on the under-researched yet significant food crop grown for its edible starchy corms. 

A large population in south and southwest Ethiopia solely depends on root crops including taro for their daily food. Taro is prone to viral infection and as a result, its production has declined significantly. Kifle’s work focuses on understanding the genetic and agro-ecological variability of taro in Ethiopia with a view to increasing its production.

Kifle, who conducted part of his work at the BecA-ILRI Hub through the Africa Bioscience Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellowship program, is co-steward of the Taro Community of Practice (COP). The CoP is hosted by the BecA-ILRI Hub and comprises ABCF alumni working jointly to comprehensively tackle issues facing the crop.

 

Sida research council visits the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi

A high level delegation from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) research council visited the BecA-ILRI Hub laboratories in Nairobi on 25 January 2017.

The team led by the council chair Prof Thomas Roswall, who was previously the executive director of Sweden’s International Council for Science (ICSU), vice chancellor of Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and director of International Foundation for Science (IFS) were attending a meeting with ILRI’s senior management at the ILRI Nairobi campus.

Sweden’s support to agricultural research for development in Africa has spanned decades and ILRI has benefited from this support, having received funding of USD 25 million between 2009 and 2014. Current investments totaling to USD 12 million are for research and capacity strengthening at the BecA-ILRI Hub. 

The Sida grant to the BecA-ILRI Hub supports research on an innovative approach to climate change mitigation through the use of Climate-smart Brachiaria grasses for livestock production. The grant has also facilitated collaborations with advanced research institutions for the transfer of skills and technologies to the BecA-ILRI Hub. 

A long-term partnership between the BecA-ILRI Hub and SLU has contributed greatly to the growth of the bioinformatics platform and training of scientists from national agricultural research systems in the region. Collaboration with the Swedish National Veterinary Institute (SVA) provided support  and technology transfer for the establishment of a livestock disease diagnostics platform at the BecA-ILRI Hub.

During Wednesday’s visit, the Swedish delegation met with researchers from across Africa working with equipment purchased with support of funds from Sida. The team learnt more about ongoing Swedish funded research on climate change mitigation through the use of improved Brachiaria grass as preferred livestock feed. They also hear more about the agenda to harness goat diversity in Africa by a community of practice that has emerged as a result of a Swedish funded project which ran from 2012–2014 at the BecA-ILRI Hub. 

The delegation included:

 

  • Margareta Norell Bergendahl, Professor of Integrated Product Development at KTH.(The Royal Technical University);
  • Francesca Chiodi, Professor of Host-Parasite Interactions at Karolinska Institute;
  • Anders Olofsgård, Associate Professor of National Economy at Stockholm School of Economics and Georgetown University, Washington;
  • Kerstin Sahlin, Professor of Business Economics at Uppsala University. Chief secretary for Social Sciences and Humanoria vid Vetenskapsrådet (National Research Council), including Committee for Development Research;
  • Maria Stern, Professor of Peace and Development Studies at Göteborgs (Gothenburgs) University; and 
  • Per-Olof Östergren, Professor of Social Medicine and Global Health at Lunds University.

 

They were accompanied by representatives of Sida including 

  • Karin Afli, Controller, Research Cooperation;
  • Hannah Akuffo, Research Cooperation;
  • Renée Ankarfjärd, Research Cooperation;
  • Petra Attfors Burcher, Deputy Head of the Department for Innovations and Partnerships;
  • AnnaMaria Oltorp, Head of Unit for Research Cooperation;
  • Lisa Román, Research Cooperation;
  • Staffan Smedby, Head of Unit Peace and Justice, Africa Department; and
  • Philip Chiverton, Senior Research Advisor, Unit of Research Cooperation.

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Read more about Sweden support to the BecA-ILRI Hub

BecA-Sweden partnership

Taking stock of Sweden’s research for development investment in Africa: Dr Claes Kjellström from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency visits the BecA-ILRI Hub

Enhancing international partnerships for agricultural productivity in Africa – The BecA-ILRI Hub’s research for development partnership with Sweden in focus

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

 

 

The BecA-ILRI Hub and John Innes Centre hold a workshop on advanced cereals genetics research

31 January 2017–– Starting today, the BecA-ILRI Hub in collaboration with the John Innes Centre (JIC), UK, are conducting a four-day workshop on advanced cereals genetic research for researchers in African national research institutes and universities. 

The training being held at at the ILRI Nairobi campus, is designed to introduce readily available genome sequence, marker and germplasm resources that can help accelerate research in cereals. In addition to learning these valuable skills, the workshop is serving as a consultation forum to discuss the current state of Triticeae cereal research especially for African cereal crops such as wheat, barley and teff. The forum is giving the participants opportunity to have a say on the development of new resources that are pertinent and relevant to cereal crop research in the African context.

Trainers include Nasser Yao from the BecA-ILRI Hub and Brande Wulff, Cristobal Uauy, Oluwaseyi Shorinola, Pilar Corredor-Moreno, Tilly Eldridge from JIC.

The training is among research and capacity building activities being conducted under the BecA-JIC alliance formed in 2014 to strengthen the capacity of African researchers and institutions in tackle African food security challenges.

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Read related posts:
Top plant research institution stations scientist in Africa
John Innes Centre forms research and capacity building alliance with the BecA-ILRI Hub

Tackling the tick-borne diseases menace in cattle in Africa

On 21 January 2017, the BecA-ILRI Hub convened a meeting to develop the agenda for the tick and tick borne disease community of practice (CoP). The CoP has been formed to spur scientists in African national agricultural research systems working on ticks and tick borne disease, to have a more comprehensive and holistic view of their research challenges. The community will enable the researchers strategize jointly on how to mobilize resources, and how resources available in their individual institutions can contribute collectively in addressing agricultural challenges at a larger scale.

Coordinated by ABCF alumni Gaston Amzati (Evangelical University of Africa, DRC) and Barberine Assongo (University of Dschang, Cameroon), the CoP comprises ABCF alumni drawn from six countries across eastern Africa, who are conducting research on various aspects of tick borne disease. The members include Esther Kanduma (University of Nairobi, Kenya); Fredrick Kabi (National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Uganda); Diaeldin A. Salih (Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Sudan); Triza Tonui (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Kenya); Lionel Nyabongo (National Veterinary Research Laboratory, Burundi); Milcah Kigoni (Kenyatta University, Kenya); and Constantin Nimbona (Institute of Agronomic Sciences of Burundi).

This CoP is the sixth community to be formed through the Africa Bioscience Challenge Fund (ABCF) program which seeks to mobilize bioscience capacities for joint action in regional agricultural programs. Other CoPs that have been formed with the support of the BecA-ILRI Hub include local chicken genetic research for development; goat genetics, taro improvement, African swine fever and Brachiaria grass.

Vacancy: Director Biosciences East and Central Africa-ILRI Hub

Closing date: 21 January 2017

 

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a dynamic director to lead a highly successful BecA-ILRI Hub, aimed at increasing the contributions of biotechnology to Africa’s agriculture development through research and capacity building.

The ideal candidate will be a citizen of an African country, has strong biotechnology credentials, worked in and for Africa, be a credible and influential leader and have extensive networks throughout the African continent. S/he will have excellent research management and capacity building skills and a track record of securing large scale funding for capacity building and research.

 

See the full announcement for more information.

Vacancies at the BecA-ILRI Hub, December 2016

1. Program accountant , Temporary position  - Closing date: 9 December 2016

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Program Accountant to provide financial and budgetary support to the BecA-ILRI Hub.

Key Responsibilities

  • Preparing timely and accurate donor financial reports as per specific donor and ILRI guidelines
  • Management of sub grantees by ensuring financial reports are received on time as per specific contracts and properly filed for future reference, reviewing their vouchers and financial reports, facilitating funds transfers and follow up on any matters arising from received documentation
  • Preparing monthly financial management reports for the program
  • Support annual budget preparation and periodic project budgets
  • Assist in implementing audit comments as per the management letter
  • Reconcile donor receivables and payables to the general ledger
  • Work with Grant Officers to ensure full cost items are charged to the projects as per agreements such as research support, ICT, space and overheads
  • Participate in project closures
  • Prepare proposals budgets as per donor and ILRI guidelines
  • Prepare invoices for fellows, donors or any other services to be offered by the BecA-ILRI hub
  • Ensure all services revenues are collected and posted correctly in the financial system:- recharges, hub placement fee, bench fee
  • Review financial documents of the unit e.g. payment requests, purchase requisitions travel advance forms, travel expense reports, advance settlement forms to ensure they are accurate , charges are to the correct grants and that the spending is within budget
  • Maintain an effective filling system for financial and related documents for document retention, ease of reference and retrieval

To read more about the position and apply click: Program accountant

2. Scientist, Bioinformatics - Closing date: 24 December 2016

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a highly motivated and outstanding experienced Bioinformatics Scientist to analyze, manage and ensure quality control of genomics and other metadata.

Responsibilities

  • Combine computational biology/functional genomics information with genetic approaches to understand origin and dynamics of ASF
  • Ability to work effectively in cross-functional teams to manage and ensure quality control of genomics and other metadata
  • Design, establish and manage databases to store and share sequencing data
  • Lead the development of pipelines for genome assembly, annotation and other computational analyses
  • Contribute to the Hub bioinformatics infrastructure upgrade
  • Contribute to capacity building activities
  • Supervision and mentorship of junior staff, students and visiting scientists
  • Technical support to scientists both at the Hub and institutions in the region
  • Contribute to resource mobilization
  • Remain at the cutting-edge on technical and biological advancements by participating in professional meetings, career development activities and by encouraging others to bring information into agricultural research and development activities.

To read more about the position and apply click: Scientist, Bioinformatics

A revolutionary service to speed breeding for improved crops and livestock in Africa

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Using tools that can process genetic data quickly, more accurately and affordably, scientists are now able to shorten cycles of releasing new improved varieties of crops and livestock. 

The Integrated Genotyping Service and Support (IGSS) project launched today—21 November 2016—at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub, will support African national crop and livestock breeders to harness the power of genomic data increase the efficiency of their breeding programs.

'The technologies being offered on this platform have already been in use in Europe, USA and Australia, but this is the first time it is available on the continent' said the BecA-ILRI Hub director, Appolinaire Djikeng.

'It is one thing to send your samples offshore for processing, but it is totally different to have the same high end technology available in Africa. This now means that more national research programs will be able to leverage the advanced breeding technologies being used globally', he added.

Already, scientists applying these new marker technologies available at the BecA-ILRI Hub, have gained a better understanding of the genetic basis for resistance to maize lethal necrosis (MLN)— a devastating disease of maize causing up to 90 percent yield losses to farmers across East Africa. These findings will help speed up the development of resistant varieties and identification of new sources of resistance for MLN, improving the food security for millions of households in the region.

‘The technologies are supporting the genomic investigation into the survival of livestock under very harsh environments common in the face of climate change,’ said Raphael Mrode, a principal scientist in Quantitative Dairy Cattle genetics from ILRI.

‘Data on the differences between Dorper and Red Masaai sheep in growth rate; resistance to parasites; and resilience in harsh environments will provide insights necessary for the development of more hardy breeds of sheep—a significant source of livelihoods and food for smallholder farmers and pastoralists’, he added.

The research platform has helped scientists gain a better understanding of the genetic diversity of cassava varieties in eastern and southern Africa. Using the tools available on the platform, the researchers have identified markers linked to genes in cassava that confer resistance to two viral diseases currently ravaging the crop in Eastern Africa—cassava mosaic disease and cassava brown streak disease. 

‘Our aim is to use the markers to speed up conventional cassava breeding of improved, high-yielding cassava varieties that are tolerant to the two viral diseases,’ said Morag Ferguson, from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

The IGSS project being implemented by the BecA-ILRI Hub in partnership with Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) Pty Ltd from Australia, is open to any individual, regional research organization, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), larger companies operating in Africa or international research center.

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Read related articles:

New tech to speed up breeding of crops, livestock launched in Kenya

Accelerating African researchers' contribution to global scientific knowledge

The 2016 Scientific Research Paper Writing Workshop participants

13 November 2016 — The annual Scientific Research Paper Writing Workshop kicked off at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub in Nairobi Kenya today.

The workshop which is scheduled to run for six days brings together 29 participants from Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

This year's training specifically targets alumni of the BecA-ILRI Hub's Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellowship program with the aim of strengthening their scientific writing skills and speed the process of publishing their work through a hands-on approach.

During the training, experienced trainers from the International Foundation for Science (IFS)—a strategic partner of the ABCF program—will facilitate discussions on challenges and opportunities open to scientists as they publish their work.

The Scientific Research Paper Writing Workshop is one of  the activities of the ABCF program the BecA-ILRI Hub that are strengthening capacity of national agricultural research systems to drive innovation. The papers coming out of this workshop will be published in open access journals.

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Research Assistant - Defence Threat Reduction Agency, African swine fever project

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Research Assistant to provide laboratory technical support for a Defence Threat reduction Agency (DTRA) funded project on whole genome sequencing of African swine fever.

Requirements

 

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Animal Science or relevant field
  • At least two years working experience in a laboratory environment
  • Experience in laboratory aseptic techniques, culture media preparation, tissue and virus culture, serological and molecular diagnostic techniques and molecular biology techniques
  • Experience working with DNA viruses will be an added advantage
  • Very good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Computer literacy

 

 

See the full position information and application requirements here : Research Assistant - Defence Threat Reduction Agency, African swine fever project

 

 

Call for Afrique One-ASPIRE Fellowships

 The research consortium Afrique One-ASPIRE (African Science Partnership for Intervention Research Excellence) is recruiting 5 Postdoc Research Fellows15 PhD Fellows and 18 Master Fellows.

Fellowships are designed to cover 5 Thematic Training Programs within the consortium:

Thematic Training Program (TTP)

  1. TTP1: Canine rabies control and elimination - MSc 3; PhD 3; Postdoc 1
  2. TTP2: Brucellosis control and prevention - MSc 4; PhD 3; Postdoc 1
  3. TTP3: Mycobacterial Infection and Control (i.e. tuberculosis and Buruli ulcer) - MSc 4; PhD 3; Postdoc 1
  4. TTP4: Food-borne diseases and nutritional illnesses - MSc 4; PhD 3; Postdoc 1
  5. TTP5: Human and animal disease surveillance-response systems - MSc 3; PhD 3; Postdoc 1

Total Afrique One-ASPIRE fellowships MSc 18; PhD 15; Postdoc 5

Deadline for applications: Sunday, November 20, 2016

For more information about the fellowships, visit the Afrique One website.

 About Afrique One-ASPIRE

Afrique One-ASPIRE is a research consortium addressing questions of disease elimination based on the ‘One Health’-concept. Our research aims at identifying integrated approaches for disease elimination in relation to zoonotic and emerging diseases by taking human, animal and environmental components into consideration. The consortium comprises nine core institutions in East and West Africa including the BecA-ILRI Hub

More information about the consortium and the call can be found online: www.afriqueoneaspire.net and www.csrs.ch

Reviewing three years of the race against aflatoxins in East Africa

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The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI Hub) and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) are hosting a forum to share findings of a three-year study on aflatoxins in maize in Kenya today, 19 October 2016.

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring fungal toxins that contaminate a number of food crops including maize, the staple food for over 130 million people across east Africa. Growing concerns have been raised over the presence of these toxins that are known to pose acute and chronic risks to human health in the food chain.

Today’s presentations focus on the Kenya component of research conducted under the Australian funded Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA) project, which covered Kenya and Tanzania. Research under this project focused on developing cheap and easy to use ways to identify contaminated foods and feeds to prevent them getting into the food chain, and including reduced aflatoxin susceptibility as a new trait in future released maize varieties.

The CAAREA project is among other efforts by ILRI to address the specter of aflatoxins in Africa. Another ILRI project is carrying out a series of studies to assess risks, economic impacts and disease control technologies along the Kenyan dairy feed chain.

The BecA-ILRI Hub also hosts the Aflatoxin Proficiency Testing and Control in Africa (APTECA) program which is managed by the Texas A&M University, USA and supports the commercial maize milling sector in East Africa to manage aflatoxin risk by improving their capacity to accurately perform their own tests for aflatoxins in maize flour.

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Read more about the Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA) project

Read more article on project to reduce aflatoxins in dairy value chain

Read about the APTECA program at the BecA-ILRI Hub

Rothamsted International Fellowship Scheme - call for applications 2016

Rothamsted International is a non-profit-making charity working towards sustainable agriculture in Official Development Assistance (ODA) territories with the main activity being the Rothamsted International fellowship scheme. The aim of the scheme is to promote the exchange of scientific research skills between Rothamsted Research (RRes) and the ODA country, assist in individual capacity building and development, and foster long term partnerships.  Visiting fellows will work on a collaborative research project that they have developed with a RRes Partner, that has clear scientific objective of potential application and benefit in the home country. The project will be  based at Rothamsted for 6-12 months and the scheme will provide travel, subsistence and some laboratory costs for  the visiting Fellow. On return to their home country/institute the fellow will disseminate the skills that they  have developed continuing to promote and utilise the successful partnership that has been established.

The deadline for application: 7 November 2016

For more information on application and search for compatible partners, email nicola.yates (at) rothamsted.ac.uk or visit the Rothamsted website: http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/international/fellowship-scheme

 

Better bioscience, better lives in Africa: The Bioscience eastern and central Africa-ILRI Hub

The International Livestock Research Institution (ILRI) fraternity held its Institute Planning Meeting (IPM) from 4-7 October 2016 at the headquarters in Nairobi. This was an opportunity for staff from all ILRI locations including east, west and southern Africa and south, east and southeast Asia to discuss strategies to provide better lives worldwide through livestock.

Among the presentations made by each program was an overview of the contribution by the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI (BecA-ILRI) Hub to livestock, feed and forage research in Africa. 

Technology manager Josephine Birungi highlighted the world-class facilities available through the BecA-ILRI Hub to African and international scientists conducting research on African agricultural challenges.

‘The main driver of the BecA–ILRI Hub is the support and mentoring of African scientists in applying biosciences to their research on food security and agricultural development,’ said Birungi.

‘This is achieved by hosting the scientists to enable them conduct their own projects using the facilities and technology platforms available at the BecA-ILRI Hub,’ she added, referring to the BecA-ILRI Hub’s Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellowship program model of strengthening individual and institutional bioscience capacity.

 ‘The BecA-ILRI hub’s strategy is to grow science leadership among the national agricultural research system (NARS) researchers as well as foster regional connections that leverage human and institutional resources across countries for joint action,’ added Wellington Ekaya, the senior scientist who oversees the ABCF program.  

Representing the science leaders and alumni of the ABCF program, Getinet Mekuriaw from Ethiopia gave a presentation on research to harness the genetic diversity of goats in Africa for improved productivity. Mekuriaw contributed to the BecA-led project, which focused on strengthening the capacity of national breeding programs in Ethiopia and Cameroon, and is currently coordinating the establishment of a regional community of practice on goat genetics research.

Principal scientist Sita Ghimire’s presentation on the BecA-ILRI Hub led climate-smart Brachiaria program demonstrated how collaborative research with national partners has had impact on smallholder farmers’ livelihoods in Kenya and Rwanda by extending forage availability during dry months. 

‘While the program was implemented with 5000 farmers across Kenya and Rwanda, over 5000 more farmers in western Kenya alone have been reached through farmer to farmer material exchange,’ said Ghimire.

‘There is such great enthusiasm among the farmers−they have realized the potential for increased income through the sale of the grass cuttings or hay,’ he added. 

Tilly Eldridge from the John Innes Centre (JIC) highlighted the mutual benefit of partnerships between the BecA-ILRI Hub and advanced international institutions. 

‘The JIC recently won the prestigious Excellence with Impact award largely due to the capacity building activities at the center of the BecA-JIC alliance,’ said Eldridge whose placement at the BecA-ILRI Hub is part of alliance’s efforts to strengthen research through the mobility of scientists.

Presenting the BecA-ILRI Hub’s overall goal for the next three years, development partnerships specialist Helen Altshul elaborated the program’s plan to contribute to increased access to new technologies for smallholder farmers and adoption of new techniques to improve the safety and quality of their food products. This, she reiterated would be achieved by supporting the NARS to develop more efficient processes and systems that support technology delivery, influence bioscience policy, and disseminate technologies to the end users.

The highlight of the presentations from the BecA-ILRI Hub was the dramatization of the BecA-ILRI Hub’s contribution to the continental agricultural research agenda by the African Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellows. The skit shed light on the critical role in bridging high-end research with practical solutions for smallholder farmers by contributing to increased research capabilities of NARS researchers and institutions. 

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Read related article: An updated look at ILRI research programs - the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI Hub

Apply for Commonwealth Scholarships - 2017 Academic year

Each year, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) awards over 900 scholarships and fellowships for postgraduate study and professional development to Commonwealth citizens.

Citizens of developing Commonwealth countries can apply for scholarships for Master’s and PhD study at a UK university; or Split-site (PhD) scholarships which allow PhD candidates to spend up to 12 months in the UK as part of their doctoral studies. 

These scholarships are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with the aim of contributing to the UK’s international development aims and wider overseas interests, supporting excellence in UK higher education, and sustaining the principles of the Commonwealth. 

Candidates are selected on the basis of merit and their potential to contribute to the needs of their home countries.

To find out more about the scholarships and apply for the 2017 academic year, visit the following links on the CSC website:

http://cscuk.dfid.gov.uk/2016/09/apply-now-for-a-2017-commonwealth-split-site-scholarship/

http://cscuk.dfid.gov.uk/apply/scholarships-developing-cw/

 

Bridging the Gap between Agriculture and Human Health - Workshop held in South Africa

The BecA-ILRI Hub co-convened a workshop on agriculture and human health from 19-22 September 2016 in Cape Town South Africa.

The workshop entitled "Bridging the Gap between Agriculture and Human Health” was organised by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), South Africa (represented by M.Iqbal Parker) in partnership with Queensland University of Technology, Australia (represented by Sagadevan Mundree) and the BecA-ILRI Hub. The aim of the meeting was to discuss priority agricultural research areas relating to improved nutritional health in Africa. Issues related to the diversity of diets in the context of food production and availability, as well as safety issues, were addressed.

Participants from the BecA-ILRI Hub included alumni Yassir Hassan (Sudan); Ahadi Birindwa (DRC); Joshua Amimo (Kenya) as well as affiliated scientist Richard Odour (Kenyatta University, Kenya) and Apollo Obando (Kenya Medical Research Institute). BecA-ILRI Hub director Appolinaire Djikeng and scientist Sita Ghimire gave keynote presentations during the workshop.

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Read more about the workshop here: ICGEB Workshop on Agriculture and Human Health

 

DON'T MISS THE DEADLINE: SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PAPER WRITING WORKSHOP 2016, CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub invites applications for participation in a workshop on scientific research paper writing. The training will be held from 13-18November 2016 at the ILRI Campus in Nairobi, Kenya. This workshop is one of the BecA-ILRI Hub’s annual training workshops under the capacity building portfolio, whose objective is to strengthen the capacity African national agricultural research systems (NARS) to drive innovation.

Eligibility / Applicants requirements

The workshop is open to NARS researchers with a keen interest in improving their writing skills. More specific applicant requirements include the following:

  • Currently conducting agricultural biosciences research with an African NARS in one of the BecA countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda.
  • Preference will be given to BecA capacity building program /ABCF alumni.
  • Must have a project report for conversion to a paper, and / or analyzed research data through figures and tables.
  • Fluent in English (written and spoken)

 Women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

How to apply

Interested eligible scientists / researchers should apply by completing the online application form; http://hpc.ilri.cgiar.org/beca/training/Applications/Writeshop2016/. In addition, the applicant must attach a supporting letter from his/her Head of Institution.

Key dates / Application deadline

  • Call for applications release: 14 September 2016
  • Application deadline: 10 October 2016
  • Information to successful applicants: 13 October 2016
  • Applications submitted after the 10 October 2016 deadline and incomplete applications will not be considered
  • Training dates: 13-18 November 2016.

Sponsorship

There are several fully funded places for this workshop. However, applicants who can fully or partially fund their participation (at least 50%) have an added advantage. The cost of workshop is approximately $1600, excluding flights and accommodation.

Inquiries

For inquiries about the workshop and / or the BecA-ILRI Hub Capacity Building Program, send email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

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

For a full prospectus on the BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building program visit: http://hub.africabiosciences.org/media-center/publications?download=33:abcf-prospectus&start=20

 

 

Download workshop concept note: HERE

 

 

We thank our sponsors for making this workshop possible:

 

 

Call for applications: Plant Metabolism for Improved Nutrition and Health Course

Introducing a short course from 20th February - 4th March 2017 hosted by

  • John Innes Centre (JIC) a world leading Plant and Microbial Science Research institute; 
  • Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST): Eastern and Southern Africa Centre for Research Advancement, Teaching Excellence and Sustainability in Food and Nutrition Security (CREATES-FNS); and
  • Biosciences eastern and central Africa – International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub

The Plant Metabolism for Improved Nutrition and Health Course will cover the breadth and depth of plant metabolism and how it can be exploited for the improvement of plant and human nutrition and health. With emphasis on recent results, from starch metabolism to engineering natural products, from nanoscience to medicinal plant ecology, this course will provide an introduction to current methods used in plant metabolomics. The course is designed for Post Graduate scientists with some experience in plant nutrition who wish to work with plant metabolism, in any plant species, for improving nutrition and health. Training consists of a vigorous lecture series, hands-on practical sessions, informal discussions and social activities.

The stellar group of JIC speakers are recognised leaders in their field and will be presenting their most current research on a wide range of topics in plant metabolism. NM-AIST, in collaboration with their leading experts in Nanoscience and the ecological aspects of medicinal plants will contribute as faculty in this course.The speakers will provide expert overviews of their fields, followed by journal clubs and in-depth discussions on their own work. The hands-on practical sessions will run with a common theme through the duration of the course, demonstrating how to best utilise the current technologies to advance your research. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to interact individually and informally with the speakers to further enrich the learning experience.

We are looking for the top Masters/PhD students from across Sub-Saharan Africa whose research falls within this broad topic. In addition, there are a maximum of three places for JIC PhD students who can apply through the same process. Students should be eager to build networks with peers and trainers to address challenges faced in plant nutrition and health in Africa. The course will be hosted by CREATES at NM-AIST in Arusha, Tanzania. NM-AIST will provide a buzzing atmosphere of international and interdisciplinary scientific activities and has a great experience in hosting international trainings. The NM-AIST campus is conveniently located within the East African biodiversity hotspot and provides various possibilities for excursions in the surroundings. Registration, Travel and Accommodation costs for the training will be covered for successful applicants. 

 To apply fill in this online form by 23rd October 2016.

 

2017 Lecturers:

  • Alison Smith, John Innes Centre, UK: Understanding and measuring sugar and starch metabolism
  • Janneke Balk, John Innes Centre, UK: Uptake and delivery of iron for improved nutrition
  • Dale Sanders, John Innes Centre, UK: Metal accumulation in seed for improved nutrition 
  • Sarah O’Conner, John Innes Centre, UK: small molecule production in plants for health
  • Cathie Martin, John Innes Centre, UK: small molecule production in crops for nutrition
  • Omowunmi “Wunmi” Sadik, SUNY, Binghamton, USA:  Nanostructured biosensors for detection and remediation of anthracnose diseases in plants
  • Admire Dube, UWC, South Africa: Nanomedicines for treatment of infectious diseases
  • Theres M Allen, University of Alberta, USA: TBC
  • James Kuharananga: TBC
  • Musa Chacha, NM-AIST, Tanzania: TBC

 

Thank you to our funders for making this course possible

 

Scientific Research Paper Writing Workshop - Call for Applications 2016

The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub invites applications for participation in a workshop on scientific research paper writing. The training will be held from 13-18November 2016 at the ILRI Campus in Nairobi, Kenya. This workshop is one of the BecA-ILRI Hub’s annual training workshops under the capacity building portfolio, whose objective is to strengthen the capacity African national agricultural research systems (NARS) to drive innovation.

Eligibility / Applicants requirements

The workshop is open to NARS researchers with a keen interest in improving their writing skills. More specific applicant requirements include the following:

  • Currently conducting agricultural biosciences research with an African NARS in one of the BecA countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda.
  • Preference will be given to BecA capacity building program /ABCF alumni.
  • Must have a project report for conversion to a paper, and / or analyzed research data through figures and tables.
  • Fluent in English (written and spoken)

 Women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

How to apply

Interested eligible scientists / researchers should apply by completing the online application form; http://hpc.ilri.cgiar.org/beca/training/Applications/Writeshop2016/. In addition, the applicant must attach a supporting letter from his/her Head of Institution.

Key dates / Application deadline

  • Call for applications release: 14 September 2016
  • Application deadline: 10 October 2016
  • Information to successful applicants: 13 October 2016
  • Applications submitted after the 10 October 2016 deadline and incomplete applications will not be considered
  • Training dates: 13-18 November 2016.

Sponsorship

There are several fully funded places for this workshop. However, applicants who can fully or partially fund their participation (at least 50%) have an added advantage. The cost of workshop is approximately $1600, excluding flights and accommodation.

Inquiries

For inquiries about the workshop and / or the BecA-ILRI Hub Capacity Building Program, send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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

For a full prospectus on the BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building program visit: http://hub.africabiosciences.org/media-center/publications?download=33:abcf-prospectus&start=20

 

Download workshop concept note: HERE

 

We thank our sponsors for making this workshop possible:

 

 

Attachments: Download this file (Scientific Research Paper Writing Workshop2016_Concept Note.pdf)Scientific Research Paper Writing Workshop2016_Concept Note.pdf[ ]514 Kb

The BecA-ILRI Hub showcases partnerships for accelerated agricultural innovation

07d5d.jpgThe Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub director at a landmark agricultural forum, highlighted innovative approaches that are being used to build the capacity of African agricultural scientists for impact.

Speaking on 5 September during a side event at the 2016 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi, director Appolinaire Djikeng described the BecA-ILRI Hub as an accelerator for research already taking place in national agricultural research systems across Africa.


‘The BecA-ILRI Hub goes beyond enabling scientists conduct good science in state-of-the art facilities. It focuses helping these scientists become successful in driving their national agricultural research agenda when they return to their home institutions,’ said Djikeng.

BecA-ILRI Hub’s head of capacity building, Wellington Ekaya also emphasized the importance of creating connections amongst research fellows from various countries, who conduct part of their research at BecA-ILRI Hub supported by the Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund Programme (ABCF). The ABCF is BecA-ILRI Hub’s capacity building delivery mechanism.

‘One key component of the ABCF fellowship program is to mobilize Africa’s bioscience capacities for joint actions. The program therefore facilitates the creation of communities of practice among scientists,’ said Ekaya. ‘This spurs them to have a bigger-picture view of their research as they jointly strategize on how to mobilize resources, and also how the resources in their individual institutions can contribute collectively in addressing agricultural challenges at a larger scale,’ he added.  

afdfe.jpgDjikeng and Ekaya highlighted the multifaceted approach of the BecA-ILRI Hub to building research leadership within national agricultural research systems, which has seen scientists contribute to national agricultural policies, spearhead seminal investigations and receive grants to expand their research. This has been achieved through providing access to world-class research facilities; offering training based on identified skills gaps; supporting scientists in linking research to policy; and catalyzing partnerships to leverage human and institutional resources across countries for increased impact.

Djikeng however decried the gaps in funding of continuing learning in agricultural research, which he termed as a good development investment. Michigan State University representative Amy Jamison stated that capacity building should be viewed as a long-term investment for which funding commitment should go beyond the traditional 2-3 year projects project cycles.

Adding his voice to the call for a greater emphasis on capacity building to transform agriculture in Africa, Prof Richard Mkandawire of the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) said ‘Attending to capacity development in Africa will address many issues in agriculture.’ 

‘There is a need for coordinated continental effort to increase funding for capacity development in agricultural research,’ he added.

The side event was attended by participants from institutions involved in capacity building in agricultural research for development in Africa including the BecA-ILRI Hub; the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA); Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM); African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD); and Michigan State University among others, to discuss mechanisms to enhance capacity building in agricultural research for development.

 

The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund 2016/2017 Call for Applications (Guidelines for Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda)

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Background

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.  The mission of the BecA-ILRI Hub is Mobilizing Bioscience for Africa’s Development by providing a centre for excellence in agricultural biosciences, which enables research, capacity building and product incubation, conducted by scientists in Africa and for Africa, and empowers African institutions to harness innovations for regional impact. This mission is achieved by the BecA–ILRI Hub’s contributions to:

·   Research: enabling research to harness the potential of the biosciences to contribute to increasing agricultural productivity and to improving food and nutritional safety and security.

·   Education: contributing to the education and training of the next generation of African agricultural research leaders and scientists.

·   Innovation: promoting the development, delivery and adoption of new technologies to address key agricultural productivity constraints.

The BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building program is branded The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF). The ABCF program operates in the critically important intersection between agricultural research for development (ARD), food security, and individual and institutional capacity building. The ABCF program is delivered through: i) a visiting scientist program (the ABCF fellowship) targeting scientists from African national agricultural research organizations and universities to undertake biosciences research-for-development projects at the BecA-ILRI Hub; ii) annual training workshops to support the acquisition of practical skills in molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, laboratory management, laboratory safety, equipment maintenance and scientific writing; iii) mobilizing national and regional capacities for joint action; and iv) supporting and strengthening the capacity of national agricultural research systems (NARS) to deliver on their research for development agenda.

Purpose

The purpose of the ABCF fellowship program is to develop capacity for agricultural biosciences research in Africa, to support research for development projects that ultimately contribute towards increasing food and nutritional security and/or food safety in Africa, and to facilitate access to the BecA-ILRI Hub facilities by African researchers (and their partners).  We seek applicants with innovative ideas for short to medium term research projects (up to 12 months) aligned with national, regional or continental agricultural development priorities that can be undertaken at the BecA-ILRI Hub.

Since its inception in 2010, the ABCF program has contributed to strengthening capacities of individual scientists and institutions in sub Saharan Africa. To enable national programs take full advantage of the opportunities available through the ABCF program, prospective candidates will require full support from their home institution. Institutions are strongly encouraged to nominate staff and faculty members for the ABCF program to help address critical capacity gaps or tackle key agricultural research for development challenges. Letters of nominations articulating institutions capacity building needs and alignment of the proposed research project to national priorities will constitute an important criteria for selection.

Areas of research

Applicants must be scientists affiliated (through employment) with African National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) e.g. national agricultural research institutes and universities, and conducting research in the areas of food and nutritional security or food safety in Africa.

Those carrying out research in the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply*;

·   Improved control of priority livestock and fish diseases including: African Swine Fever (ASF); Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (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 and fish (livestock focus: African indigenous breeds, particularly goats, chickens, alternative small livestock species);

·   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/underutilized species of crops and livestock

·   Crop pests, pathogens and weed management research, including biological control;

·   Microbial technology for improving adaptation of staple food crops and forages to biotic and abiotic stresses;

·   Rapid diagnostics for crop, livestock and fish diseases;

·   Genomics, bioinformatics and metagenomics including microbial discovery;

·   Studies on climate-smart forage grasses and mixed livestock-crop systems;

·   Microbial technology for improving adaptation of staple food crops and forages to biotic and abiotic stresses;

·   Soil health in agricultural systems.

·   Improved control of parasitic pathogens of plants (bacteria, fungi, oomycetes) that cause enormous economic losses as well as environmental damage in natural ecosystems (e.g.: Phytophthora infestans that causes potato blight). 

*This list is not exhaustive and applicants working on other relevant topics are welcome to submit their suggestions.

Special opportunities also exist to connect with leading international scientists linked with the BecA-ILRI Hub in the following areas: wheat rusts, insect pests, and nitrogen fixation. Other special opportunities exist to connect with CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs): including but not limited to Livestock & Fish, Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, Humid tropics etc.  Such collaboration would allow the applicant’s research to contribute more directly to an impact-oriented research-for-development agenda, and offer additional opportunities for joint activities.

Eligibility/applicant requirements

The BecA-ILRI Hub’s strategy is to consolidate and build on promising outcomes arising from significant investment by the NARS in Cameroon; Ethiopia; Kenya; Rwanda; Tanzania; and Uganda, that have complemented BecA-ILRI Hub’s support in the last five years. Under this call, NARS in these countries have the key role of nominating individuals to participate in the ABCF fellowship program.

Heads of institutions will nominate scientists who are active and strategically placed to strengthen national systems by transferring skills acquired through the ABCF program ensuring that their research further builds on and contributes to previously funded and continuing research in identified areas. Among other things, the institution head should justify the relevance and importance of the proposed research in the context of national priorities. He/she should also clearly describe how that research contributes to or builds on on-going related research in the country and/or region. Also important is sustainability, whereby it should be clear what role the nominee’s institution will play in ensuring continuity in the research beyond the fellowship at the BecA-ILRI Hub.

The nominated applicant must:

  • Be a national of a BecA-ILRI Hub target country for this call: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda
  • MUST be a researcher employed within NARS and nominated by the head of their home institution. A signed letter of nomination from the head of the applicant’s home institute/organization/university will be required.
  • Be 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.
  • Have a good working knowledge of written and spoken English.
  • Complete  the online application form. 

Applicants stand a higher chance of acceptance to the program if:

  • They have own funding to fully support their research and all other costs while at the BecA-ILRI Hub, or
  • They are able to secure a significant portion (at least 50%) of their total research budget and other necessary costs while at the BecA-ILRI Hub. In this case they would be seeking partial funding through application for an ABCF fellowship.

We particularly welcome applications from women.

What the fellowship covers

The BecA-ILRI Hub has secured funding to sponsor several fellowships on a highly competitive basis. The fellowship will cover the following costs[1]:

  • Research costs at the BecA-ILRI Hub;
  • Travel;
  • Medical insurance;
  •  Accommodation;
  • A modest subsistence allowance;
  • Cost of publication in open access journal.

Key timelines

  • For any inquiries / clarifications related to this call, please send an email to: abcfprogram (at) cgiar.org
  • Closing date for applications: Applications will be accepted on an on-going basis until 30th June 2017.
  • Notification to successful applicants and commencement of successful projects will be on continuing basis.

Application form

To apply for a fellowship, click on the online application link below:

http://hpc.ilri.cgiar.org/beca/training/ABCF_2016/index.html 

Decision on applications

Details of successful applicants will be posted on the BecA-ILRI Hub Website on a continuous basis until completion of the review process.

Note: Successful applicants will be expected to secure leave from their workstation to fully focus on their research fellowship at the BecA-ILRI Hub during the fellowship contract period.

Our Sponsors

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

·     For general information on the BecA-ILRI Hub visit http://hub.africabiosciences.org/aboutbeca

·     For information on the technologies and research-related services available at the BecA-ILRI Hub visit http://hub.africabiosciences.org/activities/services

·     A full prospectus of the BecA-ILRI Hub is available for download here http://hub.africabiosciences.org/media-center/publications?download=26:beca-prospectus

·     Download a full prospectus on the ABCF program here: http://hub.africabiosciences.org/media-center/publications?download=33:abcf-prospectus&start=20

For applicants from other BecA countries (Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Madagascar, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan) see guidelines here:  http://hub.africabiosciences.org/media-center/news/505-the-africa-biosciences-challenge-fund-2016-2017-call-for-applications-new-guidelines

[1] Please note that BecA-ILRI Hub-funded fellowships do not cover the cost of fieldwork or research at the applicant’s home institute. Applicants who can fund their  proposed research at BecA-ILRI Hub (either fully or partially) will have  added advantage.  

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