Outstanding early-career African scientists, whose research is focused on the needs of the continent, will be supported by the Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) programme to develop independent research careers in African institutions and ultimately, lead their own research groups.
The four are Philip Antwi-Agyei from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, John Kuumuori Ganle from the University of Ghana, Edem Mahu from the University of Ghana, and Bismarck Dinko from the University of Health and Allied Sciences.
The 2020 cohort of FLAIR funded scientists were selected from a competitive pool of more than 400 applicants.
Their research is diverse, ranging from new techniques for sustainable agriculture and fisheries, managing water shortages to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, improved methods to store cleaner energy and targeting health conditions that are most acute for people living in Africa.
They join the 2019 intake of FLAIR fellows, who are already making a significant contribution to science on the continent in their fields.
The FLAIR partnership with the Royal Society is one of several initiatives through which the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is addressing this need.
The Royal Society’s programmes are synonymous with excellence in science and its grants programmes play an important role in nurturing the next generation of researchers to be tomorrow’s scientific leaders. The FLAIR partnership extends the Royal Society’s support of science in Africa.
Get to know the 2020 FLAIR fellows from Ghana and their research:
Philip Antwi-Agyei (Ghanaian), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Ghana
Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is one method proposed for Ghanaian farmers to adapt in light of increasing temperatures and drought risk, but evidence for its effectiveness remain partial. Philip plans on using mapping tools, soil samples and a community approach to determine how CSA might be best applied to Ghana and West Africa, with a focus on soil viability.
John Kuumuori Ganle (Ghanaian), University of Ghana, Ghana
Over 63% of disabled adults in Ghana are women, the group that has the most difficulty accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare. John will implement interventions to connect women with these services and assess the benefits, which he says might ‘strengthen local health system capacity’ and satisfy ‘universal access to healthcare as envisaged [by the UN]’.
Edem Mahu (Ghanaian), University of Ghana, Ghana
Oyster fisheries in the Gulf of Guinea sustain impoverished communities in several surrounding countries. They are increasingly under threat from rising sea temperatures and erratic rainfall linked to climate change, as well as over-harvesting and pollution. Edem is working to gauge and forecast these impacts and provide scientific advice on sustainable management and adaptation.
Bismarck Dinko (Ghanaian), University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana
When the malaria parasite enters the body, via a mosquito bite, the parasite must go through a phase of maturation and replication before it causes the disease. Bismarck will investigate the growth processes of the malaria parasite using new molecular and histological tools, including its proposed development location in human bone marrow.
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