CERHI/ACEGID Partnership Wins Grant for Validation of Rapid Diagnostic COVID-19 Test Kits

The Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health Innovation (CERHI), University of Benin in collaboration with the African Centre of Excellence in Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) hosted by the Redeemer’s University and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) have been awarded a Grant to validate Rapid Diagnostic Tests kits (RDT) for COVID-19 testing in Nigeria.

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a research consortium between CERHI and UBTH for the testing of the SARS COV-2 virus. With CERHI’s laboratories and facilities, including RT-PCR machine for testing for the virus and UBTH’s expertise in managing infectious diseases, the unit was validated by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to become the second testing unit in Edo State, and one of the few in Nigeria. Similarly, the African Centre of Excellence in Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) successfully sequenced the genomes of the COVID-19 virus and was the first institution to do so in Africa. Considering this knowledge and expertise, the three institutions partnered to apply for a Grant on the validation of RDTs in Nigeria. Led by Professor Friday E. Okonofua, Centre leader of CERHI and Professor Christian Happi, Centre Leader of ACEGID, the team’s proposal was selected for funding and implementation.  The CERHI/UBTH/ACEGID team is one of the 5 teams selected to develop and implement a national protocol for the validation of RDT kits for COVID-19 in Nigeria. The projected timeline for completion of this project is four months.

The importance of this project stems from the fact that available rapid tests for COVID-19 in Nigeria have not been validated and as a result, this project will contribute to the validation of the rapid COVID-19 tests, comparing the sensitivities and predictive results obtained from their use with the gold standard and the PCR test.  If the rapid tests are found to be sensitive and accurate, it will expand access to COVID-19 testing to millions of Nigerians, and the continent at large.

The Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health Innovation (CERHI) and Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) are part of the 53 Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) supported by World Bank through the coordination of the Association of African Universities as the Regional Facilitation Unit. The ACE Impact project aims to address regional developmental challenges through quality post-graduate education and applied research (https://ace.aau.org/).

CERHI implements high quality training and applied research for reproductive health professionals. The centre is also a leading name in the development and implementation of several ground-breaking researches in the field of sexual and reproductive health and population studies within the continent (https://www.cerhiuniben.edu.ng/).

ACEGID focuses on capacity building of African scientists in the field of genomics. The centre aims to translate the research outcome to products that can be deployed to the field to contribute to the control, management and elimination of infectious diseases in the continent (https://acegid.org/).

STEE Produces Hand washing Equipment to Prevent COVID-19 Spread in the Gambia

Institutions under the Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) are contributing in diverse ways towards management of the COVID 19 pandemic. These contributions are in the form of production of personal protection equipment, sanitizers, hand washing equipment as well as scientific and transformative research. The Centre for Science, Technology and Engineering for Entrepreneurship (STEE) hosted by the Gambian Technical Institute Gambia has invested in the production of hand washing equipment for various institutions in the Gambia.
The equipment is named “Sawer” which in Wolof dialect means “Your Health.” An indication that hand washing is key to staying safe and healthy during these unsafe times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial production of “Sawer” commenced with about 100 hand washing equipment to serve various institutions such as the Offices of the President and First Lady, the Ministries of Water Resources, Petroleum, Basic Secondary and Higher Education, among other notable institutions.
Sawer is a contact free mechanical equipment with unique features, easy to use and suitable for all ages. It is manufactured from quality and durable raw materials.

The Africa Centre of Excellence for Science, Technology and Engineering for Entrepreneurship (STEE) is one of the 53 academic centres in West Africa. The centre aims at improving Science and Engineering education within the sub region.

ACE Impact in motion !

Following the success of the first phase of the ACE Project, the World Bank and governments of participating countries recognized the need to escalate the success and expand the benefits accrued to the Centres and their countries. Consequently, the third phase of the Project titled the ACE for Development Impact (or simply ACE
Impact) has been approved by World Bank. There are 12 participating countries; including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, The Gambia, Togo, Niger and Nigeria.
ACE Impact seeks to increase the quality and relevance of post- graduate education in selected universities through regional specialization, applied research, upfront university-industry linkage and better regional and international
coordination.

In September this year, a Call for Proposals was advertised in national newspapers in the participating countries. Subsequently, a hundred and ten (110) proposals were submitted to AAU by the higher education agencies of participating countries consisting of new and renewal proposals (from existing ACEs).

These proposals were carefully reviewed by experts in the various thematic fields of Health, Agriculture, Environment, Social Sciences and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Following the desk and remote panel evaluations, 65 proposals were shortlisted, and onsite visits were undertaken to the higher educational institutions which submitted them. The goal was to find out more about the institutions in terms of their readiness and commitment to host the potential Centres of Excellence.

To finalize the process will be the selection of the ACE Impact Centres of Excellence by the Project Steering Committee at its meeting at the AAU Secretariat, Accra, Ghana on November 2, 2018

WACCI receives International Accreditation

The West African Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI), which is one of the 22 African Centers of Excellence under the World Bank funded ACE project, has received International Accreditation for its postgraduate Programmes from AQAS, Germany.

The Agency for Quality Assurance through Accreditation of Study Programs (AQAS), a German- based institution noted for accreditation of excelling Higher Education Institutions has accredited two of WACCI’s post graduate Programmes – PhD in Plant Breeding and MPhil in Seed Science and Technology.

The International Accreditation was granted following a thorough evaluation conducted on WACCI, using the standards and guidelines for quality assurance approved by the European Association for Quality Assurance, European Students Union and the European University Association, among others.

Additionally, a panel of experts made up of Prof. Robert Hänsch, Technical University of Braunschweig, Gemany; Prof. Dr. Michael Kruse, University of Hohenheim, Germany; Dr. Victor Afari-Sefa, World Vegetable Center, Benin; Jorge Moreno Herrero, University of Mainz; Doris Herrmann and Dr. Dorothee Groeger, AQAS, visited the Centre from March 12-16, 2018 to inspect facilities and hold discussions with the Management and stakeholders of WACCI, following an assessment of a Self-Evaluation Report submitted by WACCI to AQAS.

Based on the report of the expert panel and the discussions of the Accreditation Commission at its 71st meeting, the Commission decided that the programmes, Seed Science and Technology (MPhil) and Plant Breeding (PhD) offered by the Centre were accredited. This was confirmed in a letter to WACCI, signed by Dr. Dorothee Groeger of AQAS. The accreditation is valid until September 2024.

Professor Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, Director of WACCI has said that this accreditation will pave way for strategic collaborations with institutions in Europe and also increase the Centre’s capacity to boost research and help ensure food security in the sub-region. He noted, “We are currently restructuring with a focus on research for impact. This international accreditation should attract strategic partners from Europe and beyond to work with us in product development using modern science for the efficient and effective development of game-changing products for the inclusive transformation of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa,”

He added, that in order to facilitate the “Ghana and Africa beyond aid” agenda, there should be increased investments in research “We see our work impacting food and nutrition security in Ghana and beyond in the next few years. We believe the Ghana and Africa beyond aid agenda would not be a mirage if governments invest heavily in the food value chains. Innovation should be a high priority. Let’s put some funds in the home for innovations, our universities, and let’s challenge our scientists to deliver,” he said.

The Team Leader of the Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence Project, Mr. Andreas Blom also added that, this is an “an indisputable testament to the quality of WACCI’s education”

WACCI currently runs one of the largest PhD educational programme in Africa with 62 students at various stages of training. It has also evolved into a top-tier plant breeding education institution globally and a leader in maize improvement in West and Central Africa.

 

 

 

 

Biodiversity Celebrated at CEA- CCBAD

The Africa Center of Excellence for Climate Change, Biodiversity and Agriculture (CEA-CCBAD) hosted by Felix Houphouët-Boigny University, La Cote d’Ivoire celebrated World Biodiversity Day on May 22, 2018.

To commemorate this day, the students initiated a series of activities that began with a conference on Saturday, May 19 under the theme “Celebrating 25 years of Action for Biodiversity”. The event was finalized on May 22, 2018, with the planting of trees on the Bingerville Scientific and Innovation Center campus to mark the International Day of Biodiversity. The event was supported by the WABES students.

WABES is an institution advocating the safeguarding of biodiversity, used this platform to educate and inform the participants on the importance of biodiversity in the ecosystem. Also, WABES pledged their continuous commitment to raising awareness on the usefulness of biodiversity.

The Biodiversity Day Celebrations was attended by the Coordinator of CEA-CCBAD, Professor Kone Daouda, and the Deputy Director of CEA-CCBAD, Professor Konate Souleymane. Also present was Director of the Scientific and Innovation Center, Felix Houphouët-Boigny University, Professor AKE, Director of WABES and students of the institution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Africa Higher Education Fair 2018

As part of the Ninth ACE workshop, the maiden Higher Education Fair will be organized under the scope of the regional project, Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence (ACE). The ACE Higher Education Fair would be of interest to students, professors, working adults, members of the industry and the general public seeking higher education opportunities in Africa.

Objectives of the Fair

The goal of the ACE Higher Education Fair is to provide an interactive platform and to inform students and faculty, about the programs offered by the ACEs. Specially, the Fair aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Provide a platform for all ACEs to present and promote locally and internationally, their programs and activities through currents ACE students and faculty presentations, brochures and picture displays.
  2. Provide faculty exchange opportunities for faculty interested in joining the ACEs.
  3. Provide opportunities to all ACEs to recruit students to their various courses by offering face-to-face interactions with aspiring students, career guidance educators and working professionals planning to pursue further studies Africa.
  4. Provide opportunities to students and faculties to better know World Bank activities and achievements, and be part of the World Bank potential staff roster.

ACE Higher Education Fair, opens to the public on Monday May 7, 2018 at 2iE Campus, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 9 am to 5pm.

All Higher Education Institutions (faculty and students), industry stakeholders, government and the general public are invited.

OAU- ICT Driven Knowledge Park calls for University- Industry linkage in ICT

 

The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) – ICT Driven Knowledge Park has called on the private sector to partner with the University and benefit from its knowledge and skills in technology and innovations. OAU in collaboration with the Nigeria Computer Society organized a one- day university-industry linkage forum themed ‘Rethinking Academia-Industry Engagement’ at the Sheraton Hotel Lagos.

OAU is one of the Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence funded by the World Bank to strengthen the capacities of Universities to deliver high quality training to meet the demand for skills required for Africa’s development.

Speaking at the forum, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, the Pro- Chancellor and Chairman of the University Council, called on industry stakeholders to partner with the institution and benefit from its ICT potentials. He stated, “We need to build a stronger interface between academia and the industry. Industry participation and synergy on this project will be of immense benefit to the student community, the academia and the industry.”

He also noted that OAU was ready to create the platform for the University and industry to jointly identify challenges facing the country and design the needed solutions, and also provide jobs and wealth creation in the process.  Dr. Ogunbiyi also stated that the park is being positioned as a recognized model ICT Park and hub in the sub- region which links academia and industry to proffer solutions to local problems.

He added, “The intent here is that such solutions will be innovative and commercialized. It is our desire therefore that companies can take up structures or spaces in the park, creating proximity to the university’s intellectual infrastructure of our faculty and the reservoir of knowledge resident within our active student population.”

The co-leader of the Centre who also doubles as the President of the Nigeria Computer Society, Professor G.A Aderoumu speaking at the event stated that, the World Bank earmarked eight million USD for the setting up of the park, which is near completion and would be fully commissioned in May.

Also present at this event was the OAU Vice Chancellor. Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, who added that, the university is ready to work with all stakeholders in bridging the gap between academia and industry and to also sustain its relevance as a leading university in research and innovation.

 

 

OAK-Park Partners with Fisher College of Science and Mathematics

 

The Obafemi Awolowo University in ICT- Driven Knowledge Park (OAK-Park) has partnered with Jeff & Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, Towson University. The partnership is to promote academic exchanges with regard to research publications, education and faculty training. This agreement falls in line with the African Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project’s objectives to promote collaborations between the Centres and other Institutions. Read more

 

Call for Applications

The Africa Center of Excellence in Internet of Things (ACEIoT) at the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology, invites qualified applicants to the following programs:

  1. PhD in IoT with Specialisation in Wireless Intelligent Sensor Networking
  2. PhD in IoT with Specialisation in Embedded Computing Systems

There are full and partial scholarship opportunities. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. The deadline is March 16, 2018.

For more info visit < Applications now open for PhD Studies- Deadline extended up to March 16, 2018>

Website <www.aceiot.ur.ac.rw 

Contact: smkandawire@aau.org | Association of African Universities | P. O. Box AN 5744,
Accra-North, Ghana | Tel +233-547-728975 All Rights Reserved © 2022