Dr Chioma Blaise Chikere is TCC Africa’s 2021 trainee and an Award winning researcher in Environmental Microbiology and Bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons-polluted environments. Her research is based in the techy Niger Delta region in Nigeria (more…)
Prof. Sheila Okoth is a professor at the University of Nairobi and a former TCC Africa 2011 trainee. She holds PhD and MSc. Degrees in Mycology from the University of Nairobi. She has specialist laboratory training in plant biotechnology and biosafety, mycotoxin analysis and molecular techniques at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, University of Hertfordshire, UK, the Institute of Sciences of Food Production (ISPA-CNR), Italy, and the International Agricultural Centre, Netherlands. (more…)
Meshack Ambani Mulongo just completed his PhD in Education Administration at Karatina University, Kenya.
His research interest is in mitigation of examination malpractices in universities in Kenya.
TCC Africa: How many papers were you able to produce out of your thesis after the training?
I have published three (3) papers from my PhD thesis and two (2) from my Master’s thesis since I had not published them before. By the end of this year, I intend to publish four (4) each from my Master’s and PhD. I have sent in some manuscripts and now waiting for responses from the journals. (more…)
If 2020 has taught us anything, is TCC Africa’s capacity to adapt. We looked at the challenges that we went through this year and turned them into opportunities. Part of our strategy had been to transition online and the Covid19 pandemic fast tracked the process and all our activities went live and online in March.
Edwin Obaje , TCC Africa 2020 trainee is a Biochemistry Graduate from Bowen University, located at Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria.
He is also the founder and executive director of Science Squad Africa, a science education network for young people, specifically senior science students across Africa. Science squad explores the science engagement landscape by providing yearlong opportunities for children and youth to learn and explore areas of science and technology using the latest techniques. It’s a network of young science student members come from the following African countries Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia with an increasing membership.
TCC Africa: How did Science Squad Africa come about and what does it do?
Science Squad Africa came about due to the need to fill the gaps of the teachers and young people by engaging them outside the classroom during the covid – 19 lockdown period. We did not want young science students to stay idle at home thus we came up with several activities they could participate in virtually. We currently have 98 members from across Africa and engage in science discussions through platforms such as Whatsapp and Zoom.
We have several activities aligned for them to execute but our main one is an online science quiz called Science Battle of Brains. This online quiz takes place every weekend where two registered members are selected to encounter each other head to head to answer questions set from topics from core science subjects of Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics. This encounter happens over zoom video conferencing application with other members joining to serve as the audience. After 4 rounds the contestant that gets the highest number of questions right and with the highest number of points is declared winner and awarded.
TCC Africa: In essence through hosting virtual quizzes you are making high school students interested in STEM related subjects and science and that is how you are engaging them by creating this virtual quiz?
Yes. But also to help schools and teachers since there was loss of interest especially during the lockdown. We had many students registering for membership from home mostly from Sub Saharan Africa and I am happy to say we now have Egypt, as the first North African country.
TCC Africa: What is your postgraduate background and what made you feel the need to create a science engagement program?
I studied Biochemistry in University but dropped out and diverted to administrative duties where I currently work as at a tech company.
This made me realize how underutilized studying science in Africa is so I wanted to encourage people to embrace science not only in learning but also for economic development. We cannot convert science into economic gain if we do not have people who genuinely want to study science or are discouraged to. That’s how I decided to start up an organization that will encourage young people to see science in a different way.
TCC Africa: What made you apply to be part of the Falling Walls Engage Program?
I was interested in similar programs to push our organizations activities into the limelight and came across the Falling Walls post on Facebook. I checked through the website and discovered the Science Engagement Program among the list of programs and decided to give it a shot. I was also looking for possible sponsorship but instead ended up being shortlisted as the national representative of Falling Walls Nigeria. I am very happy to have been acknowledged by Falling Walls as more people have developed an interest in what we do.
TCC Africa: How did you learn about TCC Africa and the Science communication training?
Science Squad Africa has three focus areas; science education, research and policy and even though our main focus area for now is science education, we intend to expand into research and policy areas.
I came across TCC Africa on Facebook and discovered your communication and policy courses. We intend on being advocates for science in Nigeria and Africa at large. We want to collaborate with researchers and the government bringing this two parties together in how they can both monetize research to benefit society.
TCC Africa: The focus of the training was for how researchers can learn to communicate and talk about the activities and take advantages of media houses. People need to see who you are and what you are doing before moving to policy. Did what you learn prove helpful?
It was what I needed at that point in time. I decided to test it and see what it entails so that in the near future, I can introduce my colleagues and see how we can partner and train more people. I want to empower my team members and I feel like I’ve gotten the channel to do so.
Congratulations for being the representative of Falling Walls engage in Nigeria and also winning the Falling Walls Science Breakthrough on Science Engagement . It is good to know that you are actively involved in supporting students in appreciating science in preparation for STEM.
We are excited to share that we won two categories in this week’s ASAPbio sprint:
“My Belief in PanAfricanism got me to Kenya and a Scholarship for my PhD”
Iddrisu Barihim is a doctoral finalist at Kenyatta University with a PhD in Social Studies education. His research focus is on the preparedness of secondary schools in their application of online learning in teaching and learning of social studies in the northern region of Ghana.
“I decided to come to Kenya instead of pursuing my education in Ghana because I’m a Pan Africanist who believes we need to network.” He says and adds, “ I believe that we can do it with a strong collaboration among ourselves, and I needed to learn from a different perspective ,culture and context in a new environment and I don’t regret it.” “I actually learned a lot!” “ My capacity has been built so much in Kenya.”(more…)
3 winners were shortlisted in the just concluded Falling Walls Lab, Nairobi Competition. The overall winner was James Kimani from Mother Goose Kenya . He is Breaking the Wall Of Giving Back Dignity to Breastfeeding . The first runners up is Mutembei Kariuki, from Fastagger . He is Breaking the Wall of Artificial Intelligence in Africa . The second runners up was Ms. Daisy Isiaho , who is Breaking the Wall of Digital Healthcare in Africa .Mr. Kimani and Mr.Kariuki will represent Kenya in the Berlin Science Week on 4 November as they compete against over 100 researchers and innovators from various parts of the world, for the Falling Walls Lab 2020 title.
TCC Africa & AfricArxiv Host First Peer Review Week 2020 East Africa
As a contribution to Peer Review Week 2020, TCC Africa and AfricArXiv organised a webinar to take a deep dive into new technological developments towards Rapid and Open Peer Review. More than 300 publications (preprints and journal articles) are available online describing COVID-19 Research in and about Africa .What are the procedures to assess these studies for accuracy and coherence so that journalists, policy makers and interested individuals can learn from them and combat the virus?
Questions that addressed during the webinar included:
Falling Walls in partnership with NACOSTI and TCC Africa are hosting Falling Walls Lab, Nairobi, which, will be done via Facebook Live on 25 September at 10:00AM EAT.
Falling Walls Lab is an international forum for the next generation of early career innovators, trailblazers, creators and visionaries. Its aim is to promote exceptional ideas and connect promising scientists and entrepreneurs from all fields on a global level. Participants, also known as Labsters, are given the opportunity to present their research, business model, or initiative of peers, a high –calibre jury from academia and business, and the general public –in just 3 minutes
Nominations are accepted in any of the ten categories:
(1) Life Sciences,
(2) Physical Sciences,
(3) Engineering and Technology,
(4) Social Sciences and the Humanities,
(5) Science in the Arts,
(6) Digital Education,
(7) Science and Innovation Management
(8) Emerging Talents
(9) Science Start-ups
(10) Science Engagement
Please go to this link https://falling-walls.com/lab/apply/nairobi-online-lab/ and apply.
This event is only eligible to Kenyans.
Deadline for the application is 15 September.
We had over 800 registered participants from 17 countries, who took part in this webinar. In case you missed it find out the highlights below by watching the recording via this link https://africarxiv.pubpub.org/pub/elv44o96/release/2
🔶What research capacity support systems exist for PhD Scholars in #Africa?
🔶Where can they get the latest funding information for their research?
🔶What networks are available to identify supervisors & collaborators?
🔶What support is available to improve their scholarly and science communication?
Illustration: By Auke Herrema
Over 900 registered participants from 23 countries took part in our concluded live streamed webinar series on What it Takes to Produce High Impact Journals. The first webinar was cohosted by the Commission of University Education, Kenya focusing on Journal Accreditation and what it takes for a University to Produce High Impact Journals and the second one was in partnership with African Journals Online on Producing High Impact African Journals.(more…)
86 participants from 14 countries took part in the just concluded online research capacity workshop on Creating a Streamlined Research Ecosystem in Universities. The researchers who took part in the workshop came from Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Algeria, India, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Germany, Liberia, and Somalia. The objective of the workshop was to explore the importance of increasing researchers’ visibility through effective research management.(more…)
We are pleased to announce that, with a mutual interest in collaboration, the Training Centre in Communication and Knowledge E have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote joint educational and research initiatives that support academia, with the objective to enhance capacities, competencies and competitiveness in Higher Education.
Training Centre in Communication has started offering courses online. Ms. Joy Owango, the Executive Director commented that “ This was part of our strategy for 2019/2020, which, we submitted to the Invest2Impact Award and won.” “Despite this we are excited about these developments and we look forward to supporting more researchers and academics on how we can improve their research output and visibility, in line with our objective on Train. Support. Empower the research and academic community.” For more about Training Centre in Communication please go here https://www.tcc-africa.org/about/
On 9th March 2020, TCC Africa partnered with the Falling Walls Foundation to host the first round of Science Communication and Engagement activities under the ‘Falling Walls Engage’ programme. The workshop we co-hosted brought together scientists, innovators, science communicators and science media partners from Kenya, Ghana, Portugal, United States, Germany and Greece.(more…)
Elsevier’s latest global analysis reveals progress toward gender parity, but women still trail men in number of publications and citations
In 2016 Ms. Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy Of MIHARI Network, Madagascar, took part in a Science Communication training in Tanzania we organized in partnership with the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute. 3 years later she won the prestigious Whitley Award. This is a nature conservation charity offering funding, profile and training to grassroots conservation leaders across the Global South. She went to London and received the award from Anne, Princess Royal(more…)
Celebrating 2019 Training Centre in Communication trainee Dr Esther Kioko, a Senior research scientist and the head of the Zoology Department at National Museums of Kenya. Dr Kioko won the 2019 Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa. This award is provided by the Marsh Christian Trust and administered by the British Ecological Society. She was awarded for an outstanding current research record, largely completed in Africa, which is having a significant impact on the development of the science of ecology or its application.(more…)
What is your field of research?
I am taking part in a postgraduate course in Research and Public policy.
What field of research are you involved in?
Molecular Biology with specialization in Plant Virology.
How effective was the course in achieving your learning objectives?
This course has excellently empowered me with soft skills that will enable me navigation the frontiers of knowledge to get literature that I will use in my research.It has enhanced my writing skills that will greatly improve the quality of my research proposal, research thesis and publications that will result from and beyond my PhD studies. Presentation skills that will be used to present my research proposal, defend my final research thesis and any communication I will make.
The training has also broadened my knowledge on data analytical tools and how important quality of data is crucial. It has made it easier for me to continue learning the appropriate tools e.g. R, which is a very powerful tool of analysis. Additional software I encountered that will improve my publication quality include Mendely, plagiarism software, Ginger and grammarly, Harzings’s tool among others.
What did you like most about the training?
The facilitators were very informative having a wide knowledge base and they had interactive methods of training that kept most participants alert and involved. Focusing on the learning itself, the presentations and materials availed were very crucial in gaining hands on skills as well as acquiring variety of academic knowledge.
Outline 3 things that you will take with you/have learnt in this session
Conceptualization of research
Literature review and its relevance
Good presentation and writing skills
R-data analysis skills
How do you hope to change your practice as a result of this training? I have leant the importance of publication and will therefore ensure that any data I generated will be of quality and published since I have been guided through the process of producing quality research right from proposal development to generation a quality of publication.
Please share other comments on the training session?
The training was extremely informative and very helpful in the whole session, and for that I applaud the organizers for delivering a good training.
‘I wish to be mentored in improving my skills in Data Analysis and I am willing to come for every training in the TCC calendar so I may be mentored by your trainers.’ Four ago months, we got a message in our inbox on a request from Kevin Oduor Onyango.
As he was conducting his research, he came across our activities and noted how we would be able to support him in improving how to analyse and present data. Kevin is a former student from Technical University of Mombasa, where he studied Bachelor of Commerce (Finance Option) and simultaneous took a professional Certified Public Accountant course and reached level 5. Kevin, lives about 450 kilometers from Nairobi, where the TCC Office is located.
One week to the Scientific Communication and Publishing course https://www.tcc-africa.org/courses/ that we concluded last month, we got a frantic message from one of our trainees. “ I want to know where I can publish my manuscripts!” I am so worried about #predatorypublishing and I do not know where to start,” he lamented.
Meet, Meshack Mulongo an early career researcher in Education Administration from Karatina University, whose research focus is on the Mitigation of Examination Malpractices in Universities in Kenya. He drove 150kms to come and attend our course and further understand how he could protect himself from predatory publishers as he went through his Journal Selection Process.
TCC: How effective was the course in achieving your learning objectives?
Meshack : The course was very effective and timely in my research work, that it has equipped me to be an effective researcher and plan to share what I have learnt.
TCC: What did you like most about the training?
Meshack : The diversity of presenters who are knowledgeable of their respective fields and also the communication and concern of the entire TCC team.
TCC: Outline 3 things that you will take with you/have learnt in this session
Meshack:The hands on approach in supporting us was valuable and it was done in such a way that we can further train others. I loved the units on data analysis and I was able to identify about 5 high impact journals where I could publish my manuscripts .
My name is Halkano Molu Guracha a Kenyan researcher in the Malaria Programme at the Institute of Primate Research. The training offered by the Training Centre in Communication was relevant and very helpful and the expectations I had before the training were met and exceeded. I was captivated by the Introduction Materials Results Acknowledgements and Discussion (IMRaD)structure in producing academic manuscripts . This was new to me, and I intend to use this knowledge in changing the quality of my future scientific papers.
The workshop is very informative and eye-opening and the delivery and breakdown of hard concepts was superb and the approach was very sound and tailor-made to the dynamics we face in research as early career scientists .
In line with the new knowledge I have acquired, I intend to approach my abstract and academic paper differently and pay close attention to the manuscript guidelines outlined and utilize the IMRaD structure process’s to produce a paper that is meaningful.
I would recommend the Scientific Writing workshop to my colleagues without any objection as it was indeed of high quality and very relevant.