10 July 2017
Some of Africa’s most prominent scientific researchers gathered to share their ground-breaking work at the Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS) Africa Annual Meeting in Accra, Ghana. The meeting (#DELTASAfrica17) was held from 3rd-5th July 2017. The DELTAS Africa initiative is a US$100 million programme to generate world class research leaders through 11 research consortia including Afrique One-ASPIRE. The initiative is funded by the African Academy of Sciences and the NEPAD Agency’s Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), with the support of the Wellcome Trust and the UK’s Department for International Development.
The research consortium Afrique One-ASPIRE took part in this meeting being represented by a delegation of 10 members composed of 7 fellows and 3 administrative staff members. Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh, Director of Afrique One-ASPIRE headed the delegation.
Showcasing science and reviewing progress
According to Dr Tom Kariuki, Director of AESA, the main goals of the #DELTASAfrica17 was (i) to showcase the scientific work that is now being undertaken across the 11 consortia and (ii) to review progress and shape the next set of key activities.
During the meeting, the DELTAS programme directors presented the overall achievements of their consortium. In addition, one fellow of each programme introduced his/her specific research project and key data obtained. Regarding Afrique One-ASPIRE, Prof. Bonfoh presented the fellow recruitment conducted by his programme. Globally, Afrique One-ASPIRE recruited 45 fellows composed of 11 MSc students, 25 PhD students and 9 postdoctoral researchers. Of its fellows, These numbers show the efforts made by Afrique One-ASPIRE to achieve a gender and language balance of the DELTAS programme.
Dr Constant Ahoua, an Afrique One-ASPIRE fellow, showcased his research that demonstrates the power of a chimpanzee’s diet for human health. ‘Biological activities of plants consumed by chimpanzees and drug development’ was the title of his presentation. It was highly appreciated by the more than 170 attendants of #DELTASAfrica17. Please find below some media coverage of the research conducted by Dr Ahoua.
In addition to Prof. Bonfoh’s and Dr Ahoua’s presentations, Dr Fayiz Abakar, another ASPIRE fellow made an elevator pitch on the thematic of health surveillance. All fellows from the Afrique One-ASPIRE present at the meeting presented a poster with their research highlighted.
Translate research into policy
The translation of research into policy was a crucial issue discussed at #DELTASAfrica17. The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Frimpong-Boateng delivered a keynote at the opening ceremony entitled: ‘My life journey from cardiovascular miracles to political leadership’. For the founder of the National Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana, African people especially scientists need to beat corruption, manage their waste issues, strengthen the technological skillsand be more disciplined’ because ‘the poverty gap is a technology gap’ and ‘Corruption, filth, lack of technology and indiscipline are the signposts of underdevelopment’. In addition, Prof. Peter Agre, Nobel Prize laureate of chemistry in 2003 underlined that it is important to strengthen science diplomacy stating that ‘Politician can disagree in everything except the value of science’. Afrique One-ASPIRE has covered the essential aspect of translating science into policy by recruiting a ‘Policy facilitator’ for science mediation with decision makers. Please find details on the call by clicking here ► http://afriqueoneaspire.org/employment/