From 31 January – 4 February 2022, ICGEB Director-General Dr Lawrence Banks led an international Review and Assessment Committee conducting site visits to three shortlisted Kenyan Universities proposing to host an ICGEB Regional Research Centre (RRC) in Kenya. The RRC is envisaged to play a key role in serving Kenya and the East Africa region.
The International Review Committee, hosted by Prof Walter Oyawa (Director General of the Kenyan National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation – NACOSTI) included, Prof. Mariano Garcia-Blanco, Chair of the ICGEB Council of Scientific Advisers, Dr. Dinakar Salunke, Director ICGEB New Delhi, India, Dr Luiz Zerbini, Acting Director ICGEB Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Vittorio Venturi, Scientific Coordinator-ICGEB, Trieste, Italy, Prof. Alice Mutungi , Chairperson-National Scientific and Ethics Committee, and Dean, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Kenya Methodist University, Kenya, Dr. Catherine O. Taracha, Director Biotechnology Centre, KALRO, Kenya and Dr. Frank Sawanga Ndakala- Ministry of Education, Kenya.
The shortlisted Universities visited were Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Egerton University.
An ICGEB RRC is a National Research Centre, or a part thereof, with independent governance by the ICGEB Member State and to which ICGEB provides scientific support and advice. The RRC contributes to strengthen research skills, knowledge and capacities of the local scientific community while pursuing specific objectives for research, training and technology transfer to industry, to benefit both the hosting country and the region where the RRC is located.
Major priorities for an RRC are to:
- Perform research at the highest international level.
- Increase international cooperation and recruit scientists at the international level.
- Provide platforms for education and training of the highest international standards.
- Promote technology transfer to industry to foster the local biotech industry through the creation of start-ups.
Current discussions are underway to finalise the review findings, recommendations and way forward in establishing the RRC in Kenya.