From the Director-General

As 2020 drew to a close, the amazing job by all of our colleagues in this incredibly challenging year was striking. ICGEB had continued to be active both scientifically and institutionally – acting as a beacon for Member States throughout this period.

With amazing dedication, flexibility and sheer hard work ICGEB is becoming an ever stronger force in the international development arena – and making big impacts for our Member States all over the world: from our excellent research, and throughout all our activities.

At the first, full Council of Scientific Advisers and Board of Governors Meetings on a Virtual platform, the appointments of Dinakar Salunke and Luiz Zerbini as Directors of the Component laboratories in New Delhi and Cape Town were approved. In attendance was Minister Fabrizio Nicoletti, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Governors representing 65 Member States, 12 Observer Nations and 13 Multilateral Organisations. Angola was officially welcomed as the 66th Member State of ICGEB, and updates on the requests from Djibouti, the Dominican Republic, and Rwanda to accede to membership were also delivered.

Other firsts included the approval of a comprehensive Strategic Plan – the result of a joint effort involving many people across the whole of ICGEB. This important document allows us as an Organisation to demonstrate to Governments and potential donors a clear vision and direction for the ICGEB, and to demonstrate how we prioritise our activities in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The ICGEB Regional Research Centre in China opened under the Direction of Yili (Nathan) Yang, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and is now actively recruiting international, Principal Investigators. Requests for Regional Centres in Panama, Sri Lanka, Moldova, Kenya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are underway.

Cooperation across the entire ICGEB in efforts towards obtaining additional institutional funding for our programmes, combining our collective talents, skill sets and attributes, make us far more competitive in the international funding arena and we are now seeing the first fruits of this with Fellowships for Least Developed Countries and Covid19 diagnostics in Africa.

The pandemic also brought the whole of ICGEB together in one place, for the first time – three components joined virtually with over 500 participants – to celebrate the New Year and a looking forward to a continued expansion of ICGEB’s activities.