Four Ghanaians Scientists have been named among 29 African scientists awarded Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) fellowship.
They are Mr Bismarck Dinko, a Scientist at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Mr Edem Mahu, and Mr John Kuumuori Ganle, a scientist at the University of Ghana, and Mr Philip Antwi-Agyei, a Scientist at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology.
As second cohort FLAIR Fellows, they would have the opportunity to undertake cutting-edge scientific research that will address global challenges facing developing countries such as Ghana.
It would also enable the outstanding early-career African scientists to build an independent research career in a sub-Saharan African institution and ultimately, lead their research groups.
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and Royal Society, supported by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), made the announcement today in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency.
It said the 2020 cohort of FLAIR funded scientists were selected from a competitive pool of more than 400 applicants and their research was diverse, ranging from new techniques for sustainable agriculture and fisheries, managing water shortages to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, improved methods to store cleaner energy and targeting health conditions that were most acute for people living in Africa.
The statement said Mr Dinko research will investigate the growth processes of the malaria parasite using new molecular and histological tools, including its proposed development location in the human bone marrow.
It said Mr Mahu’s studies would provide scientific advice on Oyster fisheries in the Gulf of Guinea and its sustainable management and adaptation while Mr Kuumuori Ganle will implement interventions to connect women with these services and assess the benefits.
The statement said the research of Mr Antwi-Agyei will seek using mapping tools, soil samples and a community approach to determine how Climate Smart Agriculture might be best applied to Ghana and West Africa, with a focus on soil viability.
The statement quoted Professor Nelson Torto, Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences, as saying, “The AAS welcomes the new cohort of FLAIR grantees to our growing postdoctoral family. Postdoctoral programmes are vital in training and developing early career researchers into research leaders whose scientific leadership will influence policies that will promote the socio-economic development of the continent.”
Dr Judy Omumbo, Programme Manager, Affiliates and Postdoctoral Programmes, says, “The announcement of this second cohort of FLAIR fellows is a significant milestone for the postdoctoral programmes team at the AAS. We anticipate that they will find the opportunities for networking and collaborations with other African scientists unique in supporting them in their pursuit of excellence in science for the benefit of mankind.”
Professor Richard Catlow, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, says, “On behalf of the Royal Society, I would like to offer heartfelt congratulations to this year’s FLAIR fellows.
“Climate change, food sustainability, emerging disease, these are challenges facing us all, but the risks they pose to individuals and ecosystems across Africa are especially pronounced. That is why we’re proud to be part of a programme that is investing in the next generation of African scientific leaders, as they research solutions and adaptations to these challenges.
This programme extends well beyond the grant recipients themselves. Our first cohort of FLAIR fellows is forging partnerships across institutions and disciplines, supporting young African PhD candidates and postdocs, and helping strengthen the research economies in countries such as Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and the wider continent. We know this second cohort of talented FLAIR researchers will match their success.”
The next round of FLAIR applications is currently open and will close on 27 May 2020.