The African Academy of Sciences collaborates with Janssen Pharmaceutical to Expand Research & Development Skills and Capacity Among African Scientists
In an effort to ramp up Africa’s research and development skills among the continent’s scientists, leading pharmaceutical company, Janssen and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation had partnered with the African Academy of Sciences (AAS).
The continent needs to develop innovative medicines and vaccines for treatment and disease prevention to ensure the health of those who live in Africa. Local solutions and drugs should be developed for those ailments which are endemic to the continent of Africa.
This is the third initiative since 2018 which the AAS had successfully undertaken to strengthen drug discovery capabilities in Africa. The first two were embarked on with the partnership of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Drug Discovery and Development Centre, the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The fellowship programme makes it possible to plug into the existing AAS grant management capabilities, the drug discovery network and post-doctoral support programmes. In order to improve research skills and develop a wide range of research-related insights through the AAS Mentorship Programme and training workshops, leadership and media engagement are also part of the programme.
This collaboration with Jansen would also offer extensive on-the-job training at Janssen’s Research and Development (R&D) Campus in Belgium. This would also include mentorship from its senior R&D leaders, skills-based training in leadership, communication, project management and course work in epidemiology, public health, or tropical medicine at the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine.
“We are excited for this collaboration with Janssen and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation which is in line with our long-term commitment to support the development of drugs for diseases endemic to Africa and our goal to contribute to reducing the continent’s disease burden. This strategic collaboration also broadens our support to developing the careers of young scientists,” – Prof Tom Kariuki, AAS Programmes Director
The fellowship programme would strengthen the fellow’s skills and capacities and upon return of the fellow to their home countries, would greatly contribute to the creation of critical clinical development centres of excellence across sub-Saharan Africa. By aiding critical research and development skills and capacity, this unique collaboration would also contribute to the discovery and development of innovative medicines for unmet medical needs on the African continent. Ultimately, it would lead to greater prosperity and welfare of the African continent.
According to Dr Brenda Okware, Sub-investigator at Uganda’s CWRU Research Collaboration and a current fellowship programme participant said: “Coming from a background that was focused on execution of later stage research, this fellowship programme has given me deep insight into the plethora of work, knowledge, time and resources that goes into the development of a single compound and a much better appreciation of the transition from the pre-clinical to clinical space. The interaction with key function mentors, who are authorities in their various fields, as well as the opportunity to experience a new culture, has been invaluable. Going forward, I feel better placed to make a more meaningful contribution along the lifecycle of a compound, early in development up to its eventual use by a patient who needs it.”
The Fellowship Programme entails:
- Extensive on-the-job training in drug development at Janssen’s R&D Campus in Belgium;
• Theoretical training covering all essential drug development core activities;
• Courses in leadership, communication and project management;
• Additional courses in epidemiology, public health, or tropical medicine at the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine and
• One-year support for fellows on their return to their home country.Eligibility requirements:
Applicant should be:
• A citizen of any sub-Saharan African country: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Swaziland, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe;
• Employed in public, Non-profit or academic institutions or industries;
• The applicant should hold a scientific University degree (PhD, MD, physicians, pharmacists, epidemiologists, relevant master’s qualifications) with high interest to expand knowledge and experience in drug development and clinical development;
• Hold a degree and/or demonstrated experience in Public Health and/or local healthcare;
• Be between 30 and 45 years of age at the time of application.
The African Academy of Sciences
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, Non-profit pan-African organisation whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. Their tripartite mandate is recognising excellence through the AAS’ highly prestigious fellowship and award schemes, providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies and implementing key STI programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges. The Academy’s five strategic focus areas include: Environment and climate change; health and wellbeing; natural sciences; policy and governance and social sciences and humanities.
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African Academy of Sciences collaborates with Janssen Pharmaceutical