The Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) has been awarded funding to offer a series of free training courses for researchers based in Africa. The aim is to help researchers in Africa share their scientific skills, expertise and technical knowledge with others and strengthen scientific capacity across the continent.
The training and knowledge exchange activities will involve CTLGH scientists from its research nodes in Kenya, Ethiopia and the UK and will be open to researchers in Africa currently working in livestock genomics research. The knowledge gained by those who take part can then be applied in future research to improve livestock health and productivity in Africa.
Improving Bioinformatics Expertise
Bioinformatics training will provide participants with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to collect and analyse complex genomics data to address research questions in the field of livestock genomics and breeding. The online course will be targeted at postgraduate students, lecturers and scientists working in Africa with an interest in this area.
The training will be delivered by CTLGH scientists based at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya in partnership with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) as an initiative of CTLGH’s Dairy Genomics programme.
The course follows a very successful genomics workshop held in Ethiopia in 2019, also delivered by ILRI and SLU, which attracted 26 researchers from 14 sub-Saharan African countries.
Karen Marshall, ILRI researcher and co-lead of CTLGH’s Dairy genomics programme commented:
“CTLGH, together with partners across Africa through the Genomics Reference Resource for African Cattle, have generated large datasets of genomic sequences for indigenous African cattle breeds. This bioinformatics training will enable scientists in Africa to analyse data generated from their countries’ animal genetic resources. This will support the development of genomic tools and accelerate local breed improvement and the conservation of the genetics of indigenous African cattle.”
Capacity Building in Scientific Techniques
A second series of training sessions will build knowledge and expertise of African researchers in the immunological, genomic and functional analyses of data from indigenous poultry.
The virtual training and knowledge exchange workshops will involve CTLGH researchers based at the Roslin Institute in Scotland and at ILRI in Ethiopia. These sessions will build on existing knowledge synergies between the scientists and enable researchers in Ethiopia to develop their scientific knowledge and expertise in a number of laboratory techniques.
This will build scientific capacity of researchers in Africa and support existing work to help identify genes and genomic regions involved in the growth, health, immunity and survival of chickens raised in semi-scavenging village conditions.
In addition, a free online seminar will be organised and scientists from CTLGH’s research nodes in both Addis Ababa and Edinburgh will share their knowledge and expertise with other scientists across Africa working in tropical poultry genomic research. You can learn more about the seminar here
“These training and knowledge exchange activities will give both the UK and Ethiopian based research teams of CTLGH a greater understanding of the analysis of the genomic and phenotypic data in order to identify appropriate targets for genetic selection. This will increase the scientific capacity of researchers working in Africa and the UK, consolidate the positive interaction among CTLGH partners and pave the way to future collaboration.”
The CTLGH training courses have been funded by a Global Impact Accelerator Award from the University of Edinburgh, as part of its annual Scottish Funding Council – Global Challenges Research Fund (SFC-GCRF) allocation, and builds on the Centre’s current capacity building and knowledge exchange activities in Africa.
Dr Conor Snowden, Manager of International Development Research Hub commented:
“We are delighted the SFC-GCRF funding has been used for projects that support capacity building in Africa. We hope that these training events will enable researchers in Africa to share their knowledge with others and further strengthen the livestock genomic research effort across the continent.”
**CTLGH receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the UK Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) and Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA)**