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In 2019, our Foundation (led by Dr Carol Ibe) worked with early-career researchers from the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge to organize a large-scale bio-science lab training workshop in Benin Republic in collaboration with the Laboratory of Genetics, Horticulture and Seed Science (GBioS) at the University of Abomey-Calavi. 100 outstanding early-career agricultural researchers (mostly PhD students in crop breeding) from 19 African countries were competitively selected from almost 1,000 applicants to participate in the free one-week intensive plant molecular biology laboratory-focused training Workshop which provided new knowledge, technical skills, and strong transnational and intercontinental research networks and collaborations.

2019 Reach & Teach Science in Africa cohort at the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic.

Hands-on lab training at the 2019 Reach & Teach Science in Africa program held in partnership with the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin Republic.

The training was delivered through a three pillared approach of bioscience theory and hands-on practical, DIY lab infrastructure, and the ‘Bio-innovation for Africa’ pitch competition. Each part complemented the other pillars and tailored to the requested needs from previous exchanges with past participants. It was taught by researchers from the University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham, the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile, and Texas A&M University, USA, and funded by several initiatives from the University of Cambridge including the GCRF, Cambridge Global Food Security, Department of Plant Sciences, Cambridge-Africa Alborada, Trinity College Cambridge, etc.

2019 Workshop participants collaboratively building a mini-fluorescent microscope during JR Biotek’s first labware construction session held as part of the ‘Reach & Teach Science in Africa’ project at the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin. Dr Fernan Federici taught this session.