Africa We Want


ICGEB Management and Principal Investigators have recently carried out missions to Member States to enhance collaboration and further customise the Organisations actions to address national priorities. Dr. Lawrence Banks, ICGEB DG, and Dr. Maria Luisa Fichera, Chief, Legal & Administration, were in Rwanda to promote awareness and collaboration on ICGEB programmes and research within Rwandan institutions between 28 February and 1 March 2024.

The Honorable Minister of Education of Rwanda and Dr. Lawrence Banks.The Honorable Minister of Education of Rwanda, Dr. Gaspard Twagirayezu with Dr. Lawrence Banks.

Hosted by Dr. Mike Hughes, ICGEB Governor for Rwanda and Dr. Dieudonne Mutangana, ICGEB Liaison Officer for Rwanda, they attended meetings with various institutes to further cooperation, and encouraging applications to the three core activities of ICGEB – Fellowship applications, requests for support for Meetings and Courses, and applications for Research Grants. Discussions also focused on identifying major areas of scientific collaboration where ICGEB’s expertise could promote the 2050 Agenda of scientific development within Rwanda.

Visiting the University of Rwanda, Dr. Lawrence Banks met with the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Muganga Didas Kayihura and colleagues, with Dr. Banks addressing the students enrolled in a new MSc. programme in Biotechnology. A Memorandum of Understanding to initiate expansion of collaboration was completed and signed in the presence of the Honourable Minister for Education.

Dr. Banks toured the laboratory facilities and the location of a Biotech Incubator which will be developed on the campus. He is penned to become honorary Professor also to provide some lectures on cancer and oncogenic viruses, and other PIs in ICGEB could be available to take part in similar activities depending on the specific needs of the University.

Through an Awareness Workshop given by Dr. Banks, MSc students have been encouraged to consider applying to ICGEB fellowship opportunities. University faculty were keen to apply for support for hosting meetings and courses: topics of interest included bioinformatics, genome editing and disease surveillance, possibly working with other stakeholders in Rwanda in the planning of these events.

On 29 February, the delegation visited the Rwandan Forensic Institute, where work on disease sureveillance and threat detection were discussed, in line with work being done at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), and the Rwandan Food and Drug Authority.

The focus of future development is likely to be in enhancing bioexperimentation facilities, microscopy capabilities, and omics platforms, “essential for making R&D competitive internationally”, states Dr. Banks.

Author: MANZI


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