UK-Africa Food Security Symposium 2018

Developing effective and equitable partnerships to address food insecurity in Africa

Date: 11 September 2018 Time: Time: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

Location: Sainsbury Laboratory Auditorium, University of Cambridge, UK

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We are pleased to partner with the University of Cambridge’s Global Food Security Interdisciplinary Research Centre to host the UK-Africa Food Security Symposium 2018. The Symposium provides a unique interdisciplinary platform for Cambridge researchers to come together with NGOs, students, and research professionals from Africa, elsewhere in the UK, and the EU, exchange knowledge, and develop new effective strategies and partnerships that can help address food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa. The Symposium draws on the interdisciplinary research strengths of members of the Cambridge Global Food Security Interdisciplinary Research Centre. It will include keynote addresses, panel-led discussion sessions and a ‘Bio-innovation for Africa’ pitching competition.

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The Symposium will include keynote addresses delivered by prominent leaders in the field of agricultural research, policy and food security. The keynotes will set the stage for discussions on how interdisciplinary research partnerships can help address food insecurity in African countries.

Dr Debisi Araba

Regional Director for Africa, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Nairobi, Kenya

Professor Giles Oldroyd

Principal Investigator/Research Group Leader, Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Panel Discussion

Panel 1: Developing effective and equitable research partnerships to address food insecurity in Africa.

A panel of experts from different disciplines will discuss how effective and equitable regional (within Africa) and international (UK-Africa) research partnerships can help address the social and scientific challenges surrounding food security in African countries.


Panel 2: Leveraging international partnership opportunities to build capacity for research conducted and led in Africa.

This panel will aim to discuss how international partnership opportunities are helping or can be better utilised to build the required capacity to push scientific research and innovation forward in African countries. For scientific research conducted in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa to be globally competitive and be able to solve some of the most pressing challenges faced on the continent, there must be strategic plans as well as intentional and adequate investments to support research and teaching in African tertiary education institutions.

Confirmed panel speakers

‘Bio-innovation for Africa’ pitching competition 2018

Celebrating innovations made by African scientists to improve lives and systems in Africa

We created the ‘Bio-innovation for Africa’ pitching competition to encourage African scientists to become more proactive in finding solutions to some of the problems faced in Africa, especially in education, agriculture and the environment. The initiative aims to broaden perspectives by developing the integration of more socially-driven and applied approaches to solving Africa’s challenges.


(‘Bio-innovation for Africa’ pitching competition 2017 finalists with the judging panel)


The ‘Bio-innovation for Africa’ pitching competition was launched during our inaugural African Diaspora Biotech Summit, which took place at the University of Cambridge on 4 April 2017. Seven finalists pitched their innovations to a panel of expert judges and one winner was awarded ‘The Most Promising Innovation’ award.

This year, twenty outstanding Africa-based early-career researchers and PhD students who have been selected to participate in our laboratory training course taking place at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge (3-10 September), will have the opportunity to participate in the ‘Bio-innovation for Africa’ pitching competition 2018. Finalists will be provided further mentoring prior to pitching their innovations to a panel of judges during the Symposium on 11 September. The winning team will be awarded a prize, which will include further mentoring by experts and resources to continue the development of their project ideas into products/services that can improve lives and systems in Africa.

The Judging Panel

Mainda Kiwelu

Founder of ADNIAM House & Mentor at Accelerate Cambridge, Judge Business School

Onyekachi Wambu

Executive Director, African Foundation for Development

Dr Belinda Clarke

Director, Agri-Tech East

To register for the UK-Africa Food Security Symposium, click on the registration button below. We have a few competitive funded places to support the participation of early-career researchers (across different disciplines, e.g. social sciences, policy, development, etc.) from the UK and EU. Funded candidates will be selected based on their interest to contribute to the Symposium discussion and activities.

The funding will cover accommodation in Cambridge for 1-2 nights and may support travel up to £30 per person. To be considered for a funded place, tick the required box and answer the questions in the registration form. Selected candidates will be notified by 21st August 2018.


Thank you to our partners and sponsors for generously supporting the UK-Africa Food Security Symposium and ‘Molecular Laboratory Training Workshop for Africa-based Agricultural Research Scientists and Academics’ 2018.