MRC Unit The Gambia hosts the West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA) Conference and Workshops

Under the theme Setting Research and Innovation Management Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the WARIMA international conference held its 10th annual conference and workshop at MRC Unit The Gambia. The conference was preceded by a two-day life-changing workshop to discuss challenges and opportunities of mutual interests among delegates from member countries, as well as renew contacts with friends and colleagues, successfully ended on Thursday 15 December 2016.

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Participants during the conference

In attendance were over 80 participants including, researchers, research administrators, funders, industrialists, policy makers and managers from various institutions across West Africa working to promote global health. The conference and workshops focused on mastering global research funding programmes and the art of developing winning grant proposals, creativity innovation and technology transfer in practice.

The conference featured selected abstracts from participants and presentations from global health leaders in research and innovation management who mentored and coached participants on how to access research funds in an ever-changing and competitive research environment. During the conference, prizes were also awarded to previous WARIMA executives and the recipients are Prof Idowu Olayinka, President; Prof Ekundayo Thompson, Executive member; Prof Labode Popoola, Secretary General; Prof Hayward Mafuya, Assistant Secretary General; Prof Kehinde Taiwo, Financial Secretary; Professor Saaim W. Naame, Treasurer and Professor Sah Gbamanja, Auditor. The awards were issued in recognition of their exceptional contribution to improving the effectiveness of research in West Africa and the sub-region.

Speaking at the event, Prof Labode Popoola, WARIMA President, thanked participants, collaborators and the organising committee for a successful event. “The theme for this year’s meeting is an opportunity to sensitise and challenge ourselves as researchers an innovation managers on the importance of contributing our quota towards the production of universally applicable research knowledge products and services that will unleash development, yet balance the three dimensions of sustainable development, environment social and economy within the west African sub region” he remarked.

Prof Umberto D’Alessandro, Unit Director welcomed all participants present and said “the theme for this year 10th WARIMA Conference is in line with MRCG’s 5 year development plans to contribute to the post-2015 sustainable development agenda by producing evidence-based research to improve health in West Africa and beyond”. He highlighted The Unit’s pioneering work on insecticide-treated bed nets, vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae type b, prenatal dietary supplementation, hepatitis B, pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, azithromycin mass administration against trachoma, and seasonal malaria chemoprevention.

The Minister of Higher Education Science and Technology, Dr Abubacarr Senghore said “the government of the Gambia is fully committed to enhance research infrastructure to increase research outputs through higher education by nurturing and training young researcher.”

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WARIMA 2016 participants

The 10th conference ended with an annual general meeting of all the WARIMA executives and members. The conference and workshops were considered to be a great success by all participants.