SABINA looks back on its first year at the 2nd Annual RISE Meeting

November 2009

Representatives from the ACGT associate network, SABINA (Southern African Biochemistry and Informatics for Natural Products) recently gave progress feedback at the second annual The Carnegie-IAS Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE) Meeting in Nairobi Kenya from 28 – 29 September.

The five RISE networks were all represented at the meeting where issues relating to students and mentoring, communication, institutional buy-in and equipment were among the topics of discussion. In attendance on behalf of SABINA were Jane Morris of the ACGT, Martha Kandawa-Schulz from the University of Namibia, as well as John Saka and Frank Ngonda of the University of Malawi.

SABINA’s report focused on the groundwork that has been successfully laid in its first year of operation. This progress includes the establishment of a secretariat, the appointment of a project administrator at the University of Malawi and the creation of a website. In addition, two cohorts of students have already been recruited and a number of contacts made at the ISP/AAU conference in Addis in September. Larger developments include the securing of a €1 million grant from the EU-ACP Programme and engagement with NEPAD on the development of IP guidelines for the SADC region.

The RISE meeting was followed by a visit to the University of Pretoria, CSIR and Wits University by a representative of the Science Initiative Group (SIG) – which administers RISE in partnership with the African Academy of Sciences.

Arlen Hastings, Executive Director of the SIG, was in South Africa from 18 – 19 October during which time she interacted with the students and supervisors at the ACGT partner institutions that are part of SABINA. Her visit also involved engaging with participants on discussions around the effectiveness of the Carnegie-IAS programmes, their future outlook and possible areas for improvement.

About RISE
The Carnegie-IAS Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE) aims to develop human capacity through science and technology training and research in a regional context in sub-Saharan Africa, enabling individuals to use Science and Technology to contribute to national and regional economic development.