North-South: We are building Research Networks to sustainably explore Africa's rich Bioresources

Research Awake Africa Initiative, in collaboration with the Jena School for Microbial Communication at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena is organizing the North–South Scientific Meeting on Natural Product Research scheduled to take place from February 6th-8th, 2023. 

This 18-hour event, (09:00 am - 3:00 pm each day) creates an avenue for young African scientists who are active or aspiring researchers, ranging from Physicists to Biochemists, Microbiologists, Molecular biologists, and a long list of other scientists interested in Natural Products Research to share their research and ideas with leading, international experts, professors and scientists cum stakeholders. This meeting is expected to result in collaborations, alliances, and partnerships in the form of research visits, access to facilities, and exchange of expertise or materials. 

It is no news that the global south, particularly Africa, to a large extent is dealing with the underdevelopment of research infrastructure and this, in turn, has resulted in the potential of its bioresources and biodiversity being underexplored. One purpose of this meeting is to create a collaborative environment where African bioresources can be characterized by state-of-the-art techniques and the research infrastructure of foreign partners. Not only are we keen on an exploration of bioresources, but we are also particular about their preservation. With the long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns alongside human activities that pose harm to the planet, bioresources and biodiversity are threatened. We are therefore asking questions on how to harness these resources and preserve them for the long run in Africa. This meeting presents the opportunity for these questions, to not only be answered but action taken, in line with the answers. 

Eligibility: Who can Participate?

The meeting is a 3-day online event and is open to young, outstanding, passionate and driven scientists from Africa who already have their first degree and are working towards an advanced degree or already have one. Participants will be shortlisted through a competitive process based on merit. Interested applicants are expected to submit:

- An academic CV 

- Certificates 

- An extended abstract detailing the applicant's Research Project

- Motivation letter

(Outlining the importance of their project, the major milestones they have been able to cover, their prospective research plans, and how this event could better their research outcomes and help attain their project goals.) 

Each application will be ranked with a points-based system. Points are obtained from the extended Abstracts, academic track record, Motivation Statement, and an interview where necessary. Not all candidates may be interviewed. Candidates may only be interviewed when necessary for additional information and/or clarification purposes. Preference will be given to women and people with disability of equal qualifications. A total of 30 participants will be shortlisted for the meeting. In the course of the event, participants will attend seminars and workshops.

What is expected?

Only highly motivated scientists with a background or interest in natural product research (natural products of microorganisms, plants, insects, animals etc) shall be chosen for this event. As part of the programme every participant shall present a ten-minute talk where they shall explicitly communicate their current research progress, the bottlenecks, and how their research could achieve a breakthrough by collaboration with the Global North. Participants shall show their willingness to advance their research with the state of art facilities and methodologies available in the Global North.

All selected applicants must prepare for a poster presentation session and ensure access to, and availability of, a suitable device like a laptop or tablet as well as a good quality internet connection for the online event. Verifiable certificates of participation will be awarded at the end of the event.  

What to expect?

Participants in this event shall have the opportunity to get deep insight into the state-of-the-art methods and tools used in Natural Products Research and what the future holds in this field. Experts shall also give very useful inputs on how participants could advance their area of research. This platform can also be exploited for person-to-person networking with leading researchers in the Global North. Finally, one of the workshops shall give details and present practical methods to access funding for a research stay, scholarships, etc

Application and abstract submissions closed.

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