Ugandan Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation visits the BecA-ILRI Hub

The Ugandan Minister for Science and Technology and Innovation, Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye, visited the BecA-ILRI Hub on Thursday 9 March 2017. Tumwesigye, who was at the ILRI Nairobi campus for a meeting at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) had an opportunity to meet Africa Bioscience Challenge Fund (ABCF) research fellows from Uganda who are currently working at the BecA-ILRI Hub. Accompanying the Minister were AATF executive director Denis Kyetere, Uganda National Council for Science & Technology executive director Peter Ndemere and AATF’s Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) project manager, Daniel Otunge.


Five-day technologists’ training at the BecA-ILRI Hub to enhance national agricultural research

After five days of intensive experiential learning at the BecA-ILRI Hub, six laboratory technologists from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were equipped with skills that will enhance their capacity to support scientists, teach and design research at their home institutions.


The training for technologists, conducted by the BecA-ILRI Hub from 27 February–03 March 2017 at ILRI’s Nairobi campus, is a deliberate effort to enhance support to emerging science leaders in national agricultural research systems (NARS). Every year, the BecA-ILRI Hub offers fellowships to over 50 NARS scientists through the Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) program. These scientists enhance their skills and knowledge in research, and receive mentorship in science leadership and resource mobilization. 

There are however, limited opportunities for laboratory technologists and technicians in most African NARS, to upgrade their skills in tandem with the researchers. This poses a real challenge in getting effective support to sustain advanced research by ABCF research fellows on returning to their home institutions. During the 5-day training, the technologists experienced hands-on learning while embedded within diverse, ongoing research projects by ABCF research fellows. 

‘I have learnt how to use equipment available at my home institution but which lack staff trained to operate them,’ said John Mshanga from the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Tanzania.


‘Through this workshop I have also made so many useful contacts,’ said Winnifred Akech from Makerere University, ‘I now know that there is support for me and the students I assist, beyond this workshop,’ she added. 

The pilot training will help the BecA-ILRI Hub to better understand the capacity gaps in agricultural bioscience research support in African NARS. 

‘Our alumni are key drivers of change within the NARS,’ said BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building senior scientist, Wellington Ekaya, adding that they can only be effective researchers and change agents if supported by technologists with the necessary capacity.


MPhil Seed Science Technology at West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) University of Ghana – Call for applications

The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) is currently inviting applications for MPhil Seed Science Technology at WACCI, University of Ghana. Successful applicants will enrol in August 2017 and will comprise the third cohort of MPhil students. WACCI will provide full-time scholarship for a limited number of students this year on a competitive basis. We invite highly motivated students to apply.


Prospective students must have:

  • A good first degree, at least a second class lower division in Agriculture, Botany or related field at the University of Ghana or any other recognised University in the Western and Central Africa Region.
  • For candidates whose first language is not English, a certificate of proficiency in English is required

Please, visit for full details on eligibility.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants should:

  • Complete an online form on the University of Ghana Graduate Admissions Page
  • Academic transcripts, copies of First Degree certificate, MPhil Proposal (Concept Note).
  • The email addresses of (3) referees must also be provided on the online form.

Visit the following link  for detailed information on how to apply

Application deadline: April 15, 2017

For any additional information please contact the Admissions Officer on Telephone: +233-303-707-9427 or Email: info(at)

The BecA-ILRI Hub alumni run DNA barcoding training for Kenya plant health regulatory body

23 February 2017—The BecA-ILRI Hub is providing technical support to a three-day workshop on DNA barcoding at the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS)

Alumni of the BecA-ILRI Hub’s Africa Bioscience Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellowship program–Florence Munguti (acting officer in charge, plant quarantine station) and Isaac Macharia (acting regional manager, Mombasa) are facilitating the training which runs from 22–24 February at the KEPHIS plant quarantine station in Muguga on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. 

The training is as a major step in technology transfer to regional research institutions that are under constant pressure to tackle emerging challenges in agricultural research.

‘This training is evidence of sustainability of the BecA-ILRI Hub’s intervention towards strengthening bioscience research capacity to meet new research challenges in the region,’ said Wellington Ekaya who heads the BecA-ILRI Hub's capacity building ABCF program.

Through strategic and diverse partnerships with renowned international research and capacity building institutes, the ABCF program mentors and hosts of African scientists to enable them leverage advances in bioscience technology to advance their national and regional research priorities.

‘I realized that DNA barcoding, which I learnt while at the BecA-ILRI Hub, can enhance efficiency and accuracy in crop disease diagnostics’ said Macharia who developed a crop disease diagnostic tool to potentially prevent the 80 – 100 per cent losses currently experienced by tomato farmers in the region during his ABCF fellowship. 

‘The facilities at the BecA-ILRI Hub are truly world-class’ said Munguti. ‘Researchers don’t have to leave the continent to conduct very advanced research with such labs close to home,’ she added, emphasizing that the mentorship and exposure offered had contributed significantly to her growth as a science leader.

James Wahome, KEPHIS general manager for phytosanitary services, officially opened the workshop. During his speech, Wahome lauded the training as a critical step to ensuring KEPHIS remained relevant in the region. 

‘The Muguga facility not only serves Kenya but is a regional reference laboratory for plant protection for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region,’ said Wahome, ‘as such, it is imperative that we always stay a step ahead in technology.’



Training Workshop: Animal Quantitative Genetics and Genomics - call for applications 2017

The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub seeks to strengthen the capacity of the African scientific community in the understanding and application of methods in quantitative genetics and genomics to support research that will improve agricultural products and enhance food security in the region. As part of its capacity building program, the BecA-ILRI Hub will hold a training course on Animal quantitative genetics and genomics from 19-30 June 2017.

This call seeks applicants from eastern and central Africa who require basic skills in quantitative genetics and genomics to support their research.  Applicants will be selected based on evidence of productive scholarship and research; relevance of the workshop to current research; and engagement in agricultural research within a national research institute or university. Selected participants will attend an intensive  10-day training course at the ILRI campus in Nairobi, Kenya, with lectures and practical sessions in population genetics, mixed linear models, genetic markers, GWAS, genomic selection among others topics. Participants will also have on hand practical sessions on programming.

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. In exceptional cases, applicants from other African countries may be considered.
•    Affiliation with a national research program or university in any of the above countries.
•    Currently engaged in research in Animal breeding and genetics or in related subject.
•    Good working knowledge of written and spoken English.
•    Laptops will be desirable for the practical sessions.

Experts in animal quantitative genetics and genomics from the ILRI Animal Biosciences and international research partners from the College of Agricultural and environmental science (CAES) at the University of Georgia, USA will deliver the training.

There are several funded places for this workshop, on a highly competitive basis. Applicants who can fund their participation will have added advantage. The approximate cost of the course is US$. 1800 excluding flights and accommodation.

Closing date for applications: midnight 31st March 2017 (Nairobi time).

The concept note is attached below.

Apply here









Attachments: Download this file (AQGG Concept Note Final.pdf)AQGG Concept Note Final.pdf[ ]445 Kb

Training Workshop: Introduction to Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics - call for applications 2017



The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub seeks to strengthen the capacity of the African scientific community to conduct bioscience research that will improve agricultural products and enhance food security in the region. As part of its capacity building programme, the BecA-ILRI Hub in collaboration with the Rwanda Agriculture Board, Rubona Centre will hold a training workshop on Introduction to Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics (IMBB) from 1-12 May 2017.

This call seeks applicants from eastern and central Africa who require basic skills in molecular biology and bioinformatics to support their research. Early career researchers working within  national agricultural research systems will be selected based on evidence of productive scholarship and research; relevance of the workshop to current research; and engagement in agricultural research within a national research institute or University. Selected participants will attend an intensive 10-day training workshop at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya. The training will include lectures and hands-on training in pathogen isolation and morphology, nucleic acid purification, molecular diagnosis by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), RLFP-PCR and isothermal nucleic acid amplification (LAMP) PCR, DNA sequencing and bioinformatics among others. Participants will also experience the research discovery process: potentially novel DNA sequences acquired by each participant will be analyzed and discussed during the bioinformatics 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 institute or university in the BecA region;
•    Currently engaged in biosciences research MSc or PhD (equivalent or higher) in biological sciences;
•    Good working knowledge of written and spoken English.
Experts in molecular biology and bioinformatics from the BecA-ILRI Hub and research partners will deliver the training.



There are several funded places for this workshop, on a highly competitive basis. Applicants who can fund their participation will have added advantage. The approximate cost of the course is US$. 1800 excluding flights and accommodation.

Closing date for applications: midnight 17th March 2017 (Nairobi time)

The concept note about this training workshop is available below.

Apply for this training





Attachments: Download this file (IMBB 2017 CONCEPT NOTE .pdf)Workshop concept note[ ]233 Kb

A launchpad to research impact in Africa

From 5–10 February, the BecA-ILRI Hub hosted scientists from top UK research institutions seeking strategic partnerships for collaborative research and transfer of technologies to increase the impact of their work on agricultural development in Africa.

From the University of Cambridge, research group leader John Carr and PhD fellow Francis Wamonje, who have been collaborating with the BecA-ILRI Hub in the BBSRC funded project on common bean improvement, gave seminars to expound on their findings in the project and held discussions on possible future avenues of collaboration in the context of bean research.

Director, Neil Hall; head of plant genomics, Anthony Hall; and Robert Davey who heads the data infrastructure and algorithms group of the Earlham Institute gave seminars to demonstrate the bioinformatics and genomics capacity of their institution. They also participated in discussions with BecA-ILRI HubILRI and ICRAF staff on possible joint resource mobilization to leverage their institution’s advanced research capabilities.

From Rothamsted Research, a team of 16 researchers led by Head of Grants and International Programmes Simon Vaughan, co-hosted a two-day workshop with the BecA-ILRI Hub to build new research partnerships with national agricultural research systems (NARS), CG centers and other advanced research institutions.  The workshop explored future opportunities for substantive collaborations in livestock, crop and climate change research.

The BecA-ILRI Hub continues to act as a magnet to facilitate high-end biosciences research in Africa owing to its positioning at ILRI within the CGIAR system, its well-developed research network with NARS and its advanced capacity building, technological and research for development, capabilities.

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.


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.


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.


  • 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


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.


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.





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.



  • 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: and

Reviewing three years of the race against aflatoxins in East Africa


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.


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) or visit the Rothamsted website:


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. 


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

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