India Alliance & AAS launch the ‘Africa-India Mobility Fund’

The two-year programme has been designed to provide researchers from Africa and India with opportunities for short visits in either direction to explore opportunities for building and strengthening scientific collaboration

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New Delhi: The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance (India Alliance), in partnership with African Academy of Sciences, has launched the Africa-India Mobility Fund (AIMF), a two-year programme designed to provide researchers from Africa and India with opportunities for short visits in either direction to explore opportunities for building and strengthening scientific collaboration.

The AIMF initiative intends to encourage South-South collaborations and learning between the two ecosystems. This is in recognition of the fact that Africa and India face similar challenges, both in the diseases that affect their populations and socio-political issues as well as the leadership required to address these. The exchanges are expected to enhance their skills and contribute to the growth of knowledge and leadership towards common health challenges.

In Africa, the schemes will be implemented through the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) and in India through the India Alliance.

“We are pleased to be launching these two schemes, which provide an opportunity for researchers to build strategic partnerships to harness science to transform lives of Africans and Indians. Shared challenges between African and India, including a high disease burden for both communicable and non-communicable diseases, require a multi- and interdisciplinary research approach to problem solving and knowledge creation,” said AESA Director Prof Tom Kariuki.

“Africa and India share many problems of health and the asset of a young population. India Alliance is pleased to join hands with AESA and AAS in launching this Africa-India Mobility Fund. We hope that the coming together of researchers from these geographies would lead to sustainable solutions for our common problems” said Dr. Shahid Jameel, CEO, Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance.

The AIMF comes on the heels of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit held in October 2015 and where Heads of State adopted the Delhi Declaration renewing their commitment to work with each other, and outlining the priority areas and ways in which Africa and India can work together to improve the lives of their people. It is also one of many efforts to exploit the synergistic relationship between Africa and India outlined in the India Africa Health Sciences Summit held in 2016. Over the last two years, the India Alliance and AESA have also hosted African and Indian biomedical researchers, respectively, at their Annual Grantees Meetings.

“The relationship between India and Africa is mutually beneficial. India has the technological advances, including the production of generic drugs and being one of the world’s leading filers of patents, hence providing learning opportunities for African scientists. While Africa provides a conducive environment for research with its high disease burden, genetic diversity, fairly well developed capacities for clinical trials. With the AIMF, we hope to exploit this relationship and contribute to efforts to building a highly skilled science technology and innovative workforce and thereby advance knowledge economies and ensure more people live healthy, productive lives,” said Dr Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura, the AAS Strategy and Policy Manager

These travel grants will be supported by the India Alliance (for Indian researchers) and the Wellcome Trust (for African researchers, administered through AAS and AESA).

Dr Simon Kay, Wellcome’s Head of International Operations and Partnerships, said “At Wellcome we are passionate about supporting researchers in Africa and India to become leaders in biomedical and health research, inspiring and training the next generation and helping more people lead healthier lives. One of the ways individuals grow as leaders is through mobility, collaboration and broadening of experience.”