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Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop & Research Symposium
(For Africa-based Agricultural Research Scientists, PhD students and Academics)

Venue: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Date: 3rd – 11th September 2018


We are pleased to invite you to apply to our annual Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop 2018 co-organised with the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge from 3rd-11th September 2018.

The University of Cambridge has been central to innovation and teaching in the field of Plant Sciences for centuries. It is the scientific home of famous botanists, Stephen Hales in the 18th century, Darwin’s mentor JS Henslow in the 19th century, and Blackman, Tansley and Godwin in the 20th century.

Our Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop held in the Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences in March 2017 provided new knowledge, laboratory skills and networking opportunities to 17 agricultural researchers, PhD students and academics from seven countries in Africa. We look forward to welcoming a new cohort of trainees to Cambridge in September 2018.


The Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop is designed for agricultural research scientists, academics and PhD students from universities and research institutes across Africa. We are looking for candidates who are currently involved in agricultural research and teaching at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. Candidates must demonstrate a clear need to learn new laboratory techniques that can help boost the productivity of their research and teaching at home.


The Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop will include lectures, workshops (e.g. bioinformatics, professional development workshop, etc.) and hands-on laboratory practical sessions covering a broad aspect of topics in plant molecular virology, beneficial plantmicrobe interactions and molecular plant breeding. On the last day of the programme, there will be a Research Symposium and a Bioinnovation for Africa pitching competition.

The theme for the research symposium is ‘Strengthening research capacity to boost food security in Africa’. It will provide an excellent avenue for researchers from Africa and the UK to learn about the wide range of exciting agricultural research conducted in both continents and to foster knowledge exchange and new regional and international research collaborations. Some of our workshop participants from Africa will be selected to present their research during the symposium.

The ‘Bioinnovation for Africa’ pitching competition was launched by JR Biotek Foundation in March 2017. The initiative was created to identify and celebrate bioinnovations made by Africans to improve lives and systems in Africa. Prior to the pitching competition which involves a panel of expert judges from Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, selected participants will be assigned to expert mentors who will work with them (remotely) to further refine their short proposals. The finalists will receive further coaching in Cambridge and will have the opportunity to pitch their innovations during the Bioinnovation for Africa pitching competition on 11 September 2018.

Only interested candidates who have been accepted for the training workshop will participate in the pitching Competition.


27th November 2017: Applications open
9th April 2018: Application close
9th May 2018: Successful applicants announced
3rd July 2018: Payment deadline (to confirm your place)


The total cost for the workshop is £1,000 per person. This includes a single room accommodation (with breakfast and Wi-Fi) for 10 nights (Sunday, 2nd-11th September); coffee/tea and lunch and training-related expenses.

The workshop cost does NOT cover your flight tickets, visa application fee (if applicable), local transport and dinner (except the Welcome Dinner on Sunday, 2nd September and the Research Symposium day on Tuesday, 11th September 2018). Cambridge is a small town and your accommodation will be located in close proximity to the workshop venue (5-10 minutes walking distance).


Please be aware that depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to enter the UK. We therefore strongly advise you to prepare your visa application as soon as you are offered a place for the training workshop. If you have any questions regarding the UK visa process, please consult your local British Consulate. Successful candidates will be given an offer letter which they can use to apply for their visa.

In the unfortunate circumstance that your visa application is unsuccessful, we will refund up to 80% of your course payment if less than 30 days before the start of the workshop. The retained costs will be used to cover any administrative costs or fees incurred during the wire or bank transfer process.

Applications for the 2018 Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop has now closed. Future workshops and events will be announced on our website and social media pages.

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