WE-STAR – Opportunities for Women Scientists in Africa

Owing to the generous contribution of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Directorate General for Development Cooperation (MAECIDGCS), within the framework of the programme WE-STAR, ICGEB offered several opportunities for researchers from the African Continent to work in the domains of life sciences and biotechnology through 2 schemes:

1. WE-STAR (2021-2023): PhD and Postdoctoral mobility scheme for WomEn ScienTists in AfRica

Through the WE-STAR Call for Short-term Fellowships, up to 10 fellows will join ICGEB laboratories in Trieste (Italy),  New Delhi (India) and Cape Town (South Africa) for a period of 6 to 12 months to perform research work on biotechnology and related fields, including Health (Infectious Diseases and Non-Communicable Diseases), Sustainable and Effective Agriculture, Industrial Biotechnology and Renewable Energy. The call was closed in mid-February, with the evaluation process currently ongoing. Eligible applicants were women scientists who are nationals of ICGEB Member States in the African Continent, currently enrolled in a PhD course or who have already obtained their PhD, with an excellent working knowledge of English. While no upper age limit applied, preference will be given to early-career applicants (under 45).

The awardees of the PhD and Postdoctoral mobility scheme for WomEn ScienTists in AfRica (WE-STAR) benefitted from:

  • a monthly stipend, bench fee, health insurance, coverage of visa and travel costs
  • the possibility to apply the latest techniques and methodologies to the chosen research topic
  • opportunities for mentoring, peer-to-peer learning and complementary skills
  • immersion in a top-class international scientific environment.

The WE-STAR “PhD and Postdoctoral training scheme for Women Scientists in Africa” project has been funded by MAECIDGCS for Euro 364,100 for a duration of 18 months (1 September 2021 – 28 February 2023).

2. WE-STAR 2 (2021-2025) “Enhancing capacities in African Scientific Institutions”

Additional support has been secured for 4 research grant proposals from African candidates (both male and female) under the 2022 Call for proposals for ICGEB Collaborative Research Grants . Of these, 2 grants have been awarded to Principal Investigators from Egypt, and at least 2 grants have been awarded to women Principal Investigators from the African Continent (including Egypt).

Through these grants, beneficiary research institutes in Africa have been supported in the creation and/or upgrading of appropriate research facilities providing local solutions to pressing current local challenges, at the same time establishing durable collaborations between ICGEB laboratories and those in the recipient countries.

The WE-STAR 2 “Enhancing capacities in African Scientific Institutions” project has been funded by MAECIDGCS for an additional Euro 150,000 for a duration of 36 months (December 2021 – January 2025).