WACCBIP partners Francis Crick Institute, LifeArc to empower African scientists 


The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) based at the University of Ghana, is partnering The Francis Crick Institute and LifeArc, to empower African scientists to undertake world class research. 

Consequently, the WACCBIP has announced a second phase of the Crick African Network (CAN II) initiative through which the new partnership with LifeArc, a leading self-funded organisaton, would invest £7.5 million into providing new Career Accelerator Fellowships.

These fellowships would empower researchers to undertake world-class research, while advancing their careers and building critical partnerships with scientists at the Crick Institute, a statement issued by WACCBIP and copied to the Ghana News Agency said on Thursday.

Madam Jean Langhorne, the Director of the CAN, was quoted as saying: “Low and middle-income countries faced the biggest threats from infectious diseases and climate change, with their related health impacts.

“However, their scientists, who are best placed to pose and answer the right research questions, often lacked the resources and connections. We are committed to redressing this imbalance and creating equitable partnerships with scientists in Africa.”

The CAN had already seen incredible success from its previous fellows establishing themselves as science leaders, growing scientific and training capacity in Africa, and contributing to global biomedical research.

“We’re delighted to developing CAN further and partner with LifeArc who will bring their expertise and financial support to the network.”

The fellows would receive comprehensive mentorship spanning grant writing, research ethics, translational science, and commercialiation from LifeArc’s Academic Engagement Team.

“The collaboration also heralds the introduction of Technology Development Fellows, a novel one-year training opportunity for African-based scientists.

This initiative focuses on enhancing expertise in managing and de4veloping science and technology platforms, crucial for providing technical research support,” she said.

Dr Mike Strange, the Head of Global Health at LifeArc, said: “LifeArc is committed to investing over £100 million in global health, with a focus on infectious diseases, over the coming years.”

“We are delighted that our first announcement as part of this, is our support of the Crick Africa Network. Our aim is to focus our efforts where patient need is greatest and where we can make a valuable contribution.”

“Pursuing collaborative partnerships like this, that drive innovation and help create a more equitable and sustainable global health research ecosystem, is core to what we are trying to achieve. We look forward to working with the Fellows as they build their careers.”

Since CAN was established in 2017, 18 fellows have progressed through the unique programme, building their own careers and furthering their research in infectious diseases.

Achievements so far made in the first cohort included; 82 academic publications, over £11.6 million secured in grant funding and 97 students supervised.

Mr. Peter Quarshie, a former CAN Fellow and now the Deputy Director responsible for research at WACCBIP, University of Ghana, said: “The leadership training that I benefited from early on in my CAN Fellowship was instrumental in helping me plan my career, supervise students and staff, and apply for grants.”

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