African scientists will benefit from an extra 3.4 million pounds, following a grant by the Leverhulme Trust to the Royal Society, to continue its capacity building scheme for Ghana and Tanzania.
The Leverhulme - Royal Society Africa Awards have already seen £ 3.3 million invested in science in Africa over the last three years. Due to the scheme's success so far, the Leverhulme Trust has agreed to extend funding for another five years.
A release from the British High Commission said the scheme, which was launched in October 2008, funds research collaborations between scientists in Ghana, Tanzania, and the UK.
It aims to help develop and maintain excellence in science in both countries, and to strengthen the research and training capacity of the African institutions, the release said.
It said so far, 18 grants of up to £150,000 over three years, had been awarded to support research and training in both African countries.
This next phase will provide awards of up to £180,000 over three years for bilateral collaborations between researchers in the UK and Ghana or Tanzania, the release said, adding that, funding will cover research costs, travel and subsistence, as well as procurement and maintenance of equipment.
It said in addition to support for research projects, changes in running the scheme meant that the next phase of funding would also provide one PhD scholarship for each Award Holder in Ghana and Tanzania.
The PhD student would be based at the host institution in either country, and Award Holders would also be able to involve an additional partner based at another research institution within sub-Saharan Africa, the release said.
It said one of the scheme's success stories so far, resulted from collaboration between researchers at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Ghana, and the University of Edinburgh entitled, "Safe Drinking Water using Appropriate Technologies for Ghana (SADWAT-GHANA).”
The scientists are developing technologies to produce safe drinking water using laterite, a soil-type, rich in iron and aluminium, as a sorbent and ultra-filtration for physical disinfection, said the release.
The release said a further project, involving the same British team, had been funded through the scheme to address fluoride problems in Tanzania, where levels in drinking water could be several times higher, and severe cases of skeletal fluorosis had been observed, adding that the solution developed had global implications.
It said applicants for awards were encouraged to apply in five priority areas identified by scientists in Ghana and Tanzania, as being relevant for the two countries, and for other parts of Africa.
These areas are: agriculture (including animal health), water and sanitation, basic human health research (including medicinal chemistry), biodiversity (including medicinal plants and green chemistry), and energy (emphasis on renewables), the release said.
It said as part of this programme, the second Award Holder meeting was opened on Sunday, the 25th of March 2012, at the Mensvic Grand Hotel in Accra.
The two-day meeting, opened by Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science & Technology, Ms. Sherry Ayittey, brought together scientists from Ghana, Tanzania, and the UK, funded under this project, as well as representatives of the national academies of the three countries, said the release.
It said the meeting was not only an opportunity for the scientists to interact with each other but also, to demonstrate the importance of research and innovation for the wider social-economic benefits of Ghana and Tanzania.
The release said one of the highlights of the event was the reception hosted by the British High Commissioner, Mr Peter Jones, at his residence on Sunday evening.
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