Ghana, Tanzania To Benefit From £3.4 million To Build Research Capacity In Africa

Ghana and Tanzania are to benefit from a grant of 3.4 million pounds to continue capacity building scheme for African science.

The grant is provided for by the Leverhulme Trust for the Royal Society in the UK. It follows an earlier £ 3.3 million invested in science in Africa over the last three years by the same society.

A statement from the British High Commission said “due to the scheme’s success so far, the Leverhulme Trust has agreed to extend funding for another five years.”

“The scheme, which was launched in October 2008, funds research collaborations between scientists in Ghana, Tanzania, and the UK. It aims to help develop and maintain excellence in science in both countries and to strengthen the research and training capacity of the African institutions. So far 18 grants of up to £150,000 over three years have been awarded to support research and training in both African countries.”

The following is the full statement

African science will benefit from an extra 3.4 million pounds, thanks to a grant by the Leverhulme Trust for the Royal Society to continue its capacity building scheme for Ghana and Tanzania. The Leverhulme – Royal Society Africa Awards have already seen £ 3.3 million invested in science in Africa over the last three years. Due to the scheme’s success so far, the Leverhulme Trust has agreed to extend funding for another five years.

The scheme, which was launched in October 2008, funds research collaborations between scientists in Ghana, Tanzania, and the UK. It aims to help develop and maintain excellence in science in both countries and to strengthen the research and training capacity of the African institutions. So far 18 grants of up to £150,000 over three years have been awarded to support research and training in both African countries.

This next phase will provide awards of up to £180,000 over three years for bilateral collaborations between researchers in the UK and Ghana or Tanzania. Funding will cover research costs, travel and subsistence, as well as procurement and maintenance of equipment.

In addition to support for research projects, changes to the way the scheme is run mean that the next phase of funding will also provide one PhD scholarship for each Award Holder in Ghana and Tanzania. The PhD student will be based at the host institution in either country. Award Holders will also be able to involve an additional partner based at another research institution within sub-Saharan Africa.

One of the scheme’s success stories so far stem from collaboration between researchers at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Ghana and the University of Edinburgh, entitled “Safe Drinking Water using Appropriate Technologies for Ghana” (SADWAT-GHANA). The scientists are developing technologies to produce safe drinking water using laterite, a soil-type rich in iron and aluminium, as a sorbent and ultra-filtration for physical disinfection.

A further project, involving the same British team, has been funded through the scheme to address fluoride problems in Tanzania, where levels in drinking water can be several times higher, and severe cases of skeletal fluorosis have been observed. The solution developed has global applications.

Applicants for awards are encouraged to apply in five priority areas, identified by scientists in Ghana and Tanzania, as being relevant for the two countries and indeed for other parts of Africa. These areas are: agriculture (including animal health), water and sanitation, basic human health research (including medicinal chemistry), biodiversity (including medicinal plants and green chemistry), and energy (emphasis on renewables).

As part of this programme, the second Award Holder meeting was opened on Sunday, the 25th of March 2012, at the Mensvic Grand Hotel in Accra. The two-day meeting, opened by a key note speech by the Ghanaian Minister of Environment, Science & Technology, Ms. Sherry Ayittey, brought together scientists from Ghana, Tanzania, and the UK funded under this project, as well representatives of the national academies of the three countries. The meeting was an opportunity for the scientists to interact with each other, but also to demonstrate the importance of research and innovation for the wider social-economic benefits of Ghana and Tanzania. One of the highlights of the event was the reception hosted by the British High Commissioner, Mr Peter Jones, at his residence on Sunday evening.

From: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com

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