BIOTECHNET events held in Djibouti

In Djibouti, approximately 100 participants attended BIOTECHNET project events focusing on the enhancement of research capacities in the field of Life Sciences in Djibouti and Ethiopia.

The Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche de Djibouti (CERD) and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) have organised the first live event of the project “BIOTECHNET – Enhancing biotechnology know-how in the Horn of Africa” (AID n. 12098) in Djibouti, at Kempinski Palace on 24 October 2022. The following day, a workshop on Applied Biostatistics took place at CERD, with approximately 100 participants from Djibouti medical and research institutes and political representatives from the Ministries of Health and Higher Education in attendance.

Summit for climate change and research

The BIOTECHNET events were hosted as a parallel session within the international conference on “Climate Change and Research: the path to sustainable adaptation and resilience” organised under the patronage of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Djibouti on 23-25 October, a high-level meeting promoting cooperation across East Africa on the challenges posed by climate change and food security.

The Summit on Climate Change and Research brought together political representatives and scientists from many countries to develop international cooperation to address the global challenge of climate change. As the Minister of Higher Education and Research, H.E. Mr Nabil Mohamed Ahmed, stated, “Solutions exist! They require a strong climate policy […] and a commitment from all of us”. The BIOTECHNET project will enable the establishment of a new scientific cooperation between Djibouti and ICGEB researchers, strengthening scientific skills in biotechnology and leading to concrete solutions for biodiversity, health and sustainable development” commented Dr. Mohamed Jalludin, Director General of CERD.

Dr. Vittorio Venturi, ICGEB Scientific Coordinator was invited to different round tables to discuss how international partnerships and science can contribute to address those challenges.

In this context, a keynote lecture on climate change resilience and food security was given by Dr. Venturi, together with Dr. Fatouma Mohamed Abdoul-Latif, Director of the Institute for Medical Research of CERD and Tarik Ainane, from the University Sultan My Slimane.

“The BIOTECHNET project is an excellent opportunity to establish links and collaborations with scientists from Djibouti and Ethiopia on topics such as food security and in mitigating the effects of climate change. In addition, ICGEB is very much looking forward having Djibouti as a new member of the ICGEB integrating their scientists in our international network of projects, events and opportunities”, said Dr. Venturi.

Download the keynote lecture presentations:
Plant microbiomes and agricultural sustainability, V. Venturi
Food safety technology in the field of cereals: Analytical modeling and development of a bio-insecticide formulation process based on essential oils, F. Abdoul-Latif, T. Ainane

Project presentation

On Monday 24 October, the project and the opportunities for collaboration in the biotechnology area were presented to the local scientific community. The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), supporting the BIOTECHNET initiative, was also present with representatives of the AICS Office of Addis Ababa, including the Director Ms. Isabella Lucaferri, who stated: “We are very happy to support the launch of this initiative in Djibouti today, as we strongly believe that developing skills and training are essential elements for the development of a country”.

The BIOTECHNET project promotes scientific education and aims to enhance the scientific competences of researchers and students of research institutions from Ethiopia and Djibouti in the field of Life Sciences by offering dedicated opportunities for (i) PhD and short-term Fellowships at ICGEB laboratories in Italy, India and South Africa; (ii) Collaborative Research Grants to establish or upgrade national laboratories and research lines in the fields of health, sustainable agriculture, industrial biotechnology and renewable energy; (iii) support for the organisation of and attendance at workshops and international scientific events through the ICGEB Meetings and Course Programme. During the day, panelists gave an overview of ICGEB research and laboratories, the procedures to apply to these calls and useful tips for relevant applications.

Download the ICGEB scientific research presentation

Download the project presentation

Download the presentation of the 3 BIOTECHNET funding opportunities (CRP presentation, Fellowships and Meetings and Course presentation).

Presentation of the ICGEB Cape Town Component

Focus was given to ICGEB research in Africa, operating widely in the continent with different projects in its 22 African Member States.

The ICGEB Component in Cape Town also attended the BIOTECHNET event and presented its six research laboratories working in the fields of Bioinformatics, Biopesticides, Cancer Genomics, Cytokines and Disease, Plant Systems Biology and Virology & Emerging Viruses.

Download the ICGEB Cape Town scientific research presentation

BIOTECHNET Workshop on Biostatistics

On Tuesday 25 October, a BIOTECHNET Workshop on Applied Biostatistics was organised at CERD, providing theoretical concepts and practical exercises. It included 4 modules around several topics: i) basic statistics; ii) an Introduction to Statistics Using the R Programming Language; iii) the Principal Component Analysis, iv) Unsupervised Analysis using R.

“With the advent of modern-day technologies and the increasing of publicly available large-scale biological data, the bottleneck in biological discovery has shifted from the cost of doing experiments to that of analyzing results. The challenge now lies in interpreting them in a biological valuable manner” says Dr. Stefano Cacciatore, ICGEB Group Leader in Bioinformatics at ICGEB Cape Town and speaker at the workshop.

Download the workshop presentations:
Basic statistics, T. Ainane
Statistical tests, S. Cacciatore
Principal Component Analysis, T. Ainane
Univariate analysis, S. Cacciatore
Publication on how to use R (in French), E. Paradis

Visit of Djibouti Research Institutes

The ICGEB BIOTECHNET team also had the opportunity to meet H.E the Minister of Higher Education and Research as well as the directors and staff of the Djibouti Public Health Institute, the Djibouti Institute of Health Sciences and the Peltier General Hospital of Djibouti, to discuss local needs and research opportunities and visit the research infrastructures in place.

Meeting with H.E. Dr. Nabil Mohamed, Minister of Higher Education and Research, Dr. Mohamed Jalludin, Director General of CERD, Dr. Fatouma Abdoul-Latif, Director of CERD’s Institute for Medicinal Research, Ms. Lucaferri, Director of AICS Addis Abeba

Launched in November 2021, BIOTECHNET is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation – AICS (AID n. 12098) and implemented by the ICGEB in collaboration with the Ethiopian Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETIn) and the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche de Djibouti (CERD).

Watch the video of the BIOTECHNET event.

Press review of the BIOTECHNET events in Djibouti

Video Reportage and TV news:

Press articles:

Progetto Biotechnet a Gibuti a Summit su cambiamento climatico e ricerca
Giornale Diplomatico, 3 November 2022

Evenements BIOTECHNET – Renforcer le savoir-faire en matière de Biotechnologie
La Nation, 2 November 2022

L’AICS a Gibuti: due giorni di eventi per rafforzare il know-how biotecnologico nel Corno d’Africa, 3 November 2022

Rafforzare le Biotecnologie nel Corno dell’Africa
Agenparl, 3 Novembre 2022

EVENEMENTS BIOTECHNET – Renforcer le savoir-faire en matière de biotechnologie dans la Corne de l’Afrique
Africapress, 2 November 2022