The Postdoctoral Programme of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research organized the maiden Scientific conference from 4th-6th May 2017. The two-day conference was organized as part of the Annual Meeting of the International Advisory Board meeting and brought together all past and present Postdoctoral Fellows, Advisory Board Members, Mentors and supervisors. The conference was a unique platform for the Fellows to share their research outcomes and experiences with stakeholders from both the public and private sectors and other members of the community. to provide a platform for the fellows to share their experiences and also the outcome of their studies with stakeholders and other members of the community. Also among the participants where stake holders from the public and private sector.
The theme for the conference was:Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Control of Infectious Diseases of Poverty in Africa.
Professor Kwadwo Koram, Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and Chairman of the Postdoctoral Programme Implementation Board, in welcoming participants and dignitaries, gave a brief background of the fellowship and took the opportunity to express the Institute’s profound gratitude to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for funding the fellowship. He mentioned that ssince the inception of the program, a total of 20 Fellows have been enrolled and most of them had completed up to two and half years of training. In addition, about 49 graduate students had received financial support to complete their Master’s thesis or dissertations.
He affirmed that NMIMR can boast of being a model for training young African scientists toward building a critical mass for the control of poverty-related diseases through this funding.. He thanked members of the programme’s Advisory Board, Supervisors and Mentors for the commitment and immense support that they have given to the coordinating office .He also expressed profound gratitude to the programme coordinators, staff of NMIMR, and the University community for their various contributions to the programme’s sustenance and outcomes. Prof. Koram, finally introduced the chairperson for the opening ceremony, Sir Prof. Brian Greenwood, who also chairs the Advisory Board of the NMIMR Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme.
In the message read on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Rev. Professor Patrick Ayeh-Kumi was very happy with the various strides the Institute was making in the area of training scientist and promoting the University’s vision to become one of the Best in Africa. He remarked that since the University declared its intention to transition from a teaching university to a research intensive one, NMIMR as a constituent of the College of Health Sciences of the University has had a key mandate to lead in this process. The conference, under the theme “Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Control of Infectious Diseases of Poverty in Africa”is therefore very relevant since it expresses the primary objective of the College.Hereiterated that this maiden conference is an important platform for the dissemination of research findings and for interaction between researchers and policy makers.
Sir Brian Mellor Greenwood,Chairman on the Advisory Board to the NMIMR Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme, was also the chairperson for the occasion.He said Achieving a PhD is an important first step to becoming an independent scientist, but many African scientist find this challenge especially in finding a position which allows the scientist to further their research without being overwhelmed by teaching or administrative duties is difficult. Thus, the post-graduate training programme established by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was an important initiative. He congratulated all the Postdoc Fellows and hoped their presentations would be remarkable.
The ceremony was graced by the HonourableMinister of State in charge of Tertiary Education Professor KwesiYankah. He said the conference signalled the rebirth of Postdoctoral fellowships and that is meant to boost graduate work in Africa.He said the current development of postdoctoral fellowship is a major breakthrough by NMIMR in seeking to further exposed young African scholars to further training in the control of poverty related diseases. The immediate postdoctoral work in the life of the younger scientist is thus crucial for it may or break their academic future.He concluded by congratulating the younger scholars and Postdoctoral Fellows and again encouraged them to consider participation in the Junior Fellowship Project launched by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science.
In his keynote address Dr Benjamin Gyampoh, a program manager at the African Acadamy of Science, expressed his excitement to be part of the occasion and paid glowing tributes to the big achievements that NMIMR has made in the area of Medical research in Ghana and the entire continent. He said: “I believe that time will pass and all too soon we will look back at the knowledge and motivation of this week, and see how far we have come with our postdoctoral fellowships in controlling infectious diseases of poverty in Africa.
In helping to address infectious diseases of poverty in Africa, Dr. Gyampoh noted that Postdoctoral fellowships must have high quality sustained relevant research. He concluded by encouraging the senior scientists and Postdoctoral fellows to stay focused on doing research to help our society. What is required is continuous investment in the right programmes that can be expanded and sustained whilst keeping our eyes on the real issues that confront us. As biomedical researchers and especially working here at the Noguchi Memorial Medical Research Centre, we have a critical role in helping to control infectious diseases of poverty in Africa.
The conference continued with various presentations (both oral and poster) from Maters Students on the fellowship as well as the Postdoctoral fellows. Certificates were awarded to participants at the end of the conference with the meeting of the international advisory board crowning the conference.
A section of the Masters students on the Postdoctoral Fellowship