Application Deadline: Monday, 18th February 2019
JR Biotek Foundation (JRBF) is partnering with the Laboratory of Genetics, Horticulture and Seed Science at the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic to hold a one-week intensive Molecular Biology Training and Open Labware Building Workshop for Africa-based agricultural researchers, academics and postgraduate students.
The workshop is part of JR Biotek Foundation’s new initiative called ‘Reach & Teach Science in Africa’, which was developed with support from the University of Cambridge to strengthen research and innovation in African countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa. It involves mobilising researchers from the University of Cambridge and other UK universities to teach, mentor and provide appropriate training/educational resources to advance research and teaching of applied biosciences in Africa.
The theme for the workshop to be held at the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic from 1st-5th April 2019 is ‘Training African agricultural researchers to solve food and nutrition insecurity through research and innovation’. It aims to equip 100 agricultural researchers, lecturers and postgraduate students from universities and national research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa with knowledge and hands-on experience in core molecular biology principles, laboratory techniques and applications in agricultural research with particular interest in crop breeding. The Workshop will be taught by research experts from the University of Cambridge and other universities around the world.
The Molecular Biology Training & Open Labware Building Workshop is a comprehensive training programme designed to equip 100 agricultural researchers, lecturers and postgraduate students from universities and national research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa with knowledge and hands-on experience in core molecular biology principles, laboratory techniques and applications in agricultural research, with interest in crop breeding. It will include the following:
1. Lectures and Wet Lab Practical: Lectures will cover a broad range of topics in molecular biology and biotechnology. It will also include a course on statistics and data analysis and a wet laboratory practical session to demonstrate how molecular biology can be applied to identify and study plant genes that have relevance to food and nutrition security. Lab techniques to be learned include DNA extraction from plant tissues, gene amplification by the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique, gel electrophoresis, etc.
2. Professional Development Training: This session will focus on providing skills for scientific and grant proposal writing, conference engagement and how to make and give excellent scientific presentations. It will be taught by a researcher from the University of Cambridge.
3. ‘Bio-innovation for Africa’ Challenge: This initiative was created by JR Biotek Foundation to encourage African scientists to become more proactive in finding solutions to some of the most pressing challenges faced on the continent. With two successful events held at the University of Cambridge in the last two years, we are excited to host this challenge in Africa in April. The session will involve round-table discussion sessions where the workshop participants will collaborate to identify and propose solutions to specific problems faced in their countries. Each group will have the opportunity to present their ideas and solutions, and the winning team will be recommended for further support, which may include mentoring.
4. Open Labware Building Workshop: In this 2-day hands-on build a microscope session, participants will work in groups to build simple microscopes, which they will use to visualise the expression of a Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) in plant cell-free extracts.
Applications are encouraged from postgraduate students (PhD students mainly), lecturers and researches involved in agricultural research at an African university.
There is no fee to participate in the workshop, however, selected candidates will need to pay for their travel (return) to Benin Republic. Meals (breakfast and lunch) will be provided.
- Strong intellectual ability and relevance of current research to the training course.
- Demonstrated need to acquire new scientific knowledge and skills to improve their research and teaching.
- Involved in teaching or training others at an African university (this is optional for PhD students).
- English proficiency
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