#ECRWednesday Webinar: Building connections and developing research in Sub-Saharan Africa

September 9, 2018

Working outside wealthy nations with a strong R&D infrastructure can provide a unique set of challenges and opportunities for scientists. In this webinar we look to investigate funding opportunities and building connections with researchers in low and middle income countries (LIMICs) as a means of supporting a growing research community and global health and development projects. Our speakers have extensive experience in studying, working and supporting research in Sub-Saharan Africa with experience as founders or directors of initiatives including the KEMRI Wellcome Programme in Kenyathe African Population and Health Research Centre the JR Biotek foundation and the Wellcome Trust DELTAS programme. We invite you to get involved during our Q&A sessions where you will have the opportunity to ask them about their own experiences and explore wider issues around developing connections, funding sources and supporting R&D in Africa.




Melissa Chola Kapula
Webinar chair; eLIFE Early-Career Advisory Group

Melissa is a postdoctoral researcher at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Program currently investigating the epidemiology of malaria transmission. She is a member of the eLife early-career advisory group and has a particular interest in challenges faced by scientists in low and middle income countries.

Twitter: @melissakapulu

Simon Kay
Head of International Operations and Partnerships, Wellcome Trust 

Simon leads the Wellcome Trust’s capacity building initiatives in Africa and India and coordinates support to the five Africa and Asia programmes. He is currently responsible for the roll-out of the DELTAS programme in sub-Saharan Africa and the establishment of the Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) platform in partnership with the African Academy of Sciences, Gates Foundation and DFID. He studied for a degree in Zoology and a PhD in Tumour Immunology at the University of Nottingham. He then joined the British Council and worked in Singapore, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, Israel and the UK. During his career he has built relations between the UK and other countries through education, science and the arts. He retains an interest in education as Governor at Ardingly College in West Sussex. He is Director and Trustee of the Malaria Consortium; a Director of the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa and a Director of the African Health Research Collaboration (ARCH) in Kenya.

Catherine Kyobutungi
Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Centre

Catherine’s research interests focus on the epidemiology of non-communicable disease in Africa and health systems strengthening. She is an Alumnus of the University of Heidelberg having completed her doctoral studies in Epidemiology in the then Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health. Catherine studied Medicine at Makerere University, Kampala and has previously worked as a medical officer at Rushere hospital, a rural health facility in Western Uganda, and as an Assistant Lecturer and later a Lecturer in the Department of Community Health at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology. She is driven by the belief that Africa has the potential to solve its own problems.

(Text adapted from the APHRC website)

Twitter: @ckyobutungi

Carol N. Ibe
Founder of JR Biotek Foundation; PhD Student, University of Cambridge

Carol is the Founding President of the JR Biotek Foundation, a charitable organisation established to help train present and future African scientists and to promote joined up thinking on sustainable development. She has studied in Nigeria and the US and and is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge under the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

In March 2017, she launched a new partnership with the Cambridge University’s Department of Plant Sciences to train Africa-based agricultural research scientists and academics in Cambridge annually. She also created and led the first African Diaspora Biotech Summit and a Bioinnovation for Africa Pitching Competition, both of which were held in Cambridge University in April 2017.

Carol is very passionate and committed to helping countries in Africa build a strong workforce of skilled scientists and bio-industry leaders who are capable of applying their knowledge and ingenuity to improve lives and systems in the continent.

(Text adapted from the University of Cambridge website)

Kevin Marsh
Director of Africa-Oxford Initiative; Professor of Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford

Kevin has a broad research interest in child health in the tropics, with a particular focus in the immune epidemiology of malaria. From 1989 to 2014 he directed the KEMRI Wellcome Programme in Kenya. Kevin has a particular interest is in the development of science in Africa. He is currently seconded for 50% of his time as senior adviser to the African Academy of Sciences. Kevin is chair of the WHO Malaria policy advisory committee (MPAC) and a member of many global health advisory groups.

(Text adapted from the University of Oxford website)

Twitter: @kevinmarsh8

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