Scientific mission to Kenya
From 13 to 15 January, a high-level scientific delegation headed by Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi was in Kenya on a fact-finding mission. The aim of the visit was to assess the potential for collaboration with a number of renowned institutions in the country, which acts as a regional platform. Kenya's economy has been growing for several years and the country intends to double its investment in research over the years to come, bringing it up to 2% of GDP.
The delegation, made up of representatives from the higher education umbrella organisation swissuniversities, the Swiss National Science Foundation and scientists from research institutes in the ETH Domain, the cantonal universities and one university of applied sciences, met researchers and officials from the principal scientific institutions in Kenya. It also visited several of the most reputed laboratories in West Africa, including the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), which houses the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), an organisation based in Geneva that maintains numerous links with Switzerland. Other institutions visited by the Swiss delegation include Aga Khan University, the International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), the Centre for Training and Integrated Research, (CETRAD), a partner of the University of Bern, and the Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor organisation, which collaborates with Eawag.
Discussions were held on how to encourage new partnerships, in particular with the director of the African Academy of Sciences, Thomas Kariuki, and with the president of the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Njeri Wamae. A special focus was put on the targeted application of the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships, the exploratory workshops financed by the SNSF and the kick-start grants offered by the University of Basel, leading house in cooperation with Africa.