In Djibouti, over 100 participants recently attended the BIOTECHNET project events focusing on the enhancement of research capacities in the field of Life Sciences in Djibouti and Ethiopia.
The Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche de Djibouti (CERD) and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) have organised the first live event of the project “BIOTECHNET – Enhancing biotechnology know-how in the Horn of Africa” (AID n. 12098) in Djibouti, at Kempinski Palace on 24 October 2022. The following day, a Workshop on Applied Biostatistics took place at CERD, with approximately 100 participants from Djibouti medical and research institutes and political representatives from the Ministries of Health and Higher Education in attendance.
The BIOTECHNET project and the opportunities for collaboration in biotechnology were presented to the local scientific community on day one of the events. The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) that supports BIOTECHNET, was also present with representatives from the AICS Office of Addis Ababa, including Director, Ms. Isabella Lucaferri, who stated: “We are very happy to support the launch of this initiative in Djibouti today, as we strongly believe that developing skills and training are essential elements for the development of a country.”
The BIOTECHNET project promotes scientific education and aims to enhance the scientific competences of researchers and students of research institutions from Ethiopia and Djibouti in the field of Life Sciences by offering dedicated opportunities for PhD and short-term Fellowships at ICGEB laboratories in Italy, India and South Africa. The project also comprises Collaborative Research Grants to establish or upgrade national laboratories and research lines in the fields of health, sustainable agriculture, industrial biotechnology and renewable energy.
In addition, it provides support for the organisation of, and attendance to, workshops and international scientific events. Panellists gave an overview of the research and laboratories of the ICGEB, the procedures to apply for calls, as well as useful guidelines for submitting successful applications.
Dr. Vittorio Venturi, ICGEB Scientific Coordinator and head of the Bacteriology lab in Trieste, Dr. Fatouma Mohamed Abdoul-Latif, Director of the Institute for Medical Research of CERD, and Dr. Tarik Ainane, from the University Sultan My Slimane gave a joint keynote lecture on climate change resilience and food security.
“The BIOTECHNET project is an excellent opportunity to establish links and collaborations with scientists from Djibouti and Ethiopia on topics such as food security and mitigating the effects of climate change,” Vittorio Venturi commented, adding “ICGEB is very much looking forward to Djibouti becoming a Member State, integrating their scientists in our international network of projects, events and opportunities.”
The BIOTECHNET Workshop on Applied Biostatistics was organised at CERD, on 25 October, included presentations on theorical concepts and incorporated practical exercises. The workshop comprised four modules around the themes of basic statistics, an Introduction to Statistics Using the R Programming Language, Principal Component Analysis, and Unsupervised Analysis using R.
Dr. Stefano Cacciatore, ICGEB Group Leader in Bioinformatics in Cape Town, and speaker at the workshop commented: “With the advent of modern-day technologies and the increase in publicly available, large-scale biological data, the bottleneck in biological discovery has shifted from the cost of doing experiments to that of analysing results. The challenge now lies in interpreting them in a biologically valuable manner.”
The BIOTECHNET events were hosted as a parallel session within the international conference on “Climate Change and Research: The path to sustainable adaptation and resilience” organised under the patronage of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Djibouti, a high-level meeting promoting cooperation across East Africa on the challenges posed by climate change and food security.
BIOTECHNET is a project funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation – AICS (AID n. 12098) that was launched in November 2021, implemented by the ICGEB in collaboration with the Ethiopian Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETIn) and the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche de Djibouti (CERD).
ICGEB first shared this release.