About the Summit

We are pleased to announce our inaugural African Diaspora Biotech Summit 2017, which will take place at the University of Cambridge, UK on Tuesday, 4th April 2017. The African Diaspora Biotech Summit 2017 is a flagship initiative of JR Biotek Foundation. It was developed to inspire early-career life science and biotech professionals (including research scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, policy experts, and present and future bio-industry leaders) from Africa and the diaspora to help find practical solutions that will contribute to Africa’s sustainable development.

The Summit will bring together, 70 students and early-/mid-career life science and biotech professionals (including research scientists, entrepreneurs, policy experts, and bio-industry leaders) from Africa and the diaspora to discuss the current state of Africa’s biotech industry. Our goal is to create a unique platform for Africa’s future leaders and key stakeholders, especially those in the diaspora, to better understand the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s biotech and life science sector, and how they may be involved in finding practical solutions that will help build the continent's bioeconomy.  

The key objectives of the Summit are;

  • To create a unique platform for Africa’s next generation of biotech/life science professionals and bio-industry leaders to connect with, learn from one another, and establish collaborative relationships that will accelerate the growth of Africa’s biotech/life science industry and the bioeconomy;
  • To address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s biotech/life science industry, and inspire the African diaspora to become more involved in finding practical solutions to the problems hampering bioscience education, capacity building, research innovation and commercialization in the continent;
  • To encourage Africa’s present leaders and key stakeholders to invest in building a competitive African biotech and life science sector so as to grow the bioeconomy, and create opportunities for employment, investment and sustained socio-economic growth.

The Summit will include panel-led discussions and keynote addresses, which will set the stage for discussions about the urgent need to strengthen biotech and bioscience education, training and capacity building; research innovation, and biotech commercialization in Africa.

Four major areas to be discussed at the Summit are;

Improving agricultural productivity and food security

Improving agricultural productivity and food security in sub-Saharan Africa between now and 2050

Reforming Africa’s tertiary education system

Reforming Africa's tertiary education system to make it globally competitive.

Policy development and implementation

Policy development and implementation to facilitate sustainable development in African nations

The role and contribution

The role and contribution of the African diaspora in developing Africa's bioeconomy


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We are pleased to announce the successful completion of our Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop held in partnership with the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge from 27th March to 4th April 2017. The Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop is a flagship initiative of JR Biotek Foundation, developed to train, inspire and empower a new generation of agricultural research scientists and academics who can contribute to Africa’s development through agricultural research and innovation.

The training workshop included lectures and hands-on laboratory training sessions covering a broad aspect of molecular plant virology and pathology, molecular plant breeding and plant genetics, arbuscular mycorrhiza symbiosis, etc. The laboratory practical provided knowledge and practical experience in the following areas;

Basic molecular techniques, e.g. the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), quantitative real-time-PCR, ELISA, extraction of genomic material from plant tissues, molecular cloning strategies, etc.

Molecular characterization of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in plant roots (using rice and maize as the model crop)

Molecular detection of plant viruses (using tobacco as the model plant)

Marker Trait Association experiment (using pepper as the model crop)

Confocal microscopy of Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA)-stained intracellular fungal structures in fungal colonized rice roots

Principal Investigators, post-doctoral research associates and other research experts from the University of Cambridge, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia, University of Aberdeen, Rothamsted Research UK and the John Innes Centre, UK taught the workshop. We also provided a professional development and science leadership training course to the workshop participants. Overall, the Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop presented an excellent opportunity for the workshop attendees from Africa to meet, connect, and exchange ideas with world-renowned agricultural research experts from Cambridge, Africa and other parts of the world.

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