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MRCG hosts 14th edition of West Africa researchers’ conference

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By Aisha Tamba

The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia recently concluded a four-day international conference and workshop of the 14th edition of the West Africa Research and Innovation Management Association.

The West African researchers’ conference was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre.

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For this conference, the MRCG at LSHTM in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) and University of the Gambia (UTG), under the theme: “Research Management in the Era of Equitable Partnership and Open Science.”

Speaking at the event, Prof. Pierre Gomez Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology said the conference promotes discussions of promising research ideas that contribute to developing new knowledge.

“Also, WARIMA (West Africa Research and Innovation Management Association) promotes research and research management in West Africa; by training and building the capacities of researchers and research managers and supporting research uptake into policy and practice.

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“These objectives align with my ministry’s mandate of research governance in the country.”

He said the theme of the conference, “Research Management in the era of equitable Partnership and Open Sciences”, is apt and timely.

Dembo Kanteh, president of WARIMA, noted that this is the second time The Gambia is hosting the WARIMA conference.

He explained that the conference was first hosted in 2016 at the height of the political conference. “This year though is quite unique, reflecting the greater visibility and importance to the mission of the Association.”

Mr. Kanteh, stated that research inequity has manifested itself very strong during the Covid-19 pandemic with virtually no vaccine research in the region.

He further stated that this has resulted to delay the access to vaccine in many African countries. “Whereas our continent accounts 12.5% of the world’s population, it only produces just 1% of the global research excellence,” he disclosed.

Unit Director MRCG at LSHTM, Prof. Umberto D’Alessandro alluded that resources for research have not increased. “On the contrary, they may have decreased while competition for securing such funds has become harsher. Having a good research idea is an essential element to apply for a grant but it is not enough. Instructions of funding agencies for applicants are becoming increasingly complex, with different funding bodies having different rules and requirements,” stated

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