WACCBIP receives Wellcome Trust Grant
The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens is pleased to announce it has been awarded a £ 5.1 million grant under the Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS) Africa Initiative from the Wellcome Trust. WACCBIP is one of the seven leading African research consortia who were selected to receive major funding from Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DFID), for establishing cutting-edge research and training programmes across the continent.
The WACCBIP-Wellcome Trust DELTAS Programme seeks to strengthen and extend the scope of the mission of WACCBIP to improve diagnosis, prevention and control of tropical diseases by providing advanced level training and research in the cell and molecular biology of infectious pathogens. Under the WACCBIP-Wellcome Trust DELTAS Programme, the first graduate and professional Human Genetics programme in Ghana will be developed, which will complement our existing pathogen biology research training. A post-doctoral programme will also be developed to help keep newly qualified PhDs in Africa and attract African scientists who have completed their PhDs abroad to return home. The WACCBIP-Wellcome Trust DELTAS Programme will strengthen the mentoring system by allowing post-doctoral and PhD trainees to have a local supervisor as well as a co-supervisor from the UK or US. This co-supervisor system will be strengthened through a Student Visitor programme, where PhD and post-doctoral trainees will be funded for six-month visits to the laboratories of co-supervisors in the UK or USA, to hone their research skills. A short course in research ethics that will be run annually to train young African scientists on responsible conduct, will also be developed under the programme.
The WACCBIP-Wellcome Trust DELTAS Programme will sustain existing collaborations and build new strategic partnerships both regionally and internationally, to bring on board specific expertise and experiences. Faculty from collaborating institutions will co-supervise and host students and trainees under the programme. Selected regional collaborating institutions include the Medical Research Council unit (MRC), The Gambia, the Malaria Research and Training Centre (MRTC), University of Science, Techniques, and Technology, Mali, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya and the University of Cape Town, Division of Human Genetics, South Africa. Strategic international partners include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Cambridge and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, in addition to the University of Pittsburgh and the American Society for Cell Biology in the United States of America.
Dr. Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust said: “The Wellcome Trust has a long-established track record in investing in health research in sub-Saharan Africa. DELTAS Africa is a new approach and a long-term commitment, which has its centre of gravity and decision making firmly based in Africa. We welcome DFID’s announcement today that it will provide additional funding to DELTAS.”
“The vision is to support the new generation of African research leaders. Individuals and teams from across the continent will play a leading role in shaping and driving world class, locally driven and relevant research that improves human health.”
Dr. Thomas Kariuki, Director of Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), said: “Africa is home to some of the most dynamic innovators and institutions, poised to advance the continent’s research agenda. Working in collaboration with key African and international partners, AESA will help provide researchers with the funding, training and resources they need to succeed and drive forward Africa’s development.”
Dr Gordon A Awandare, the Director of WACCBIP said “We believe that the vision of the DELTAS initiative aligns perfectly with our own aspirations at WACCBIP. The WACCBIP-Wellcome Trust DELTAS Programme will incorporate genetics into the study of host-pathogen interactions, to strengthen and broaden the training and research portfolio of WACCBIP”