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Malawian scientist wins grant to advance research

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Malawian academician, Benjamin Kumwenda, is among five African scientists to be awarded grants worth $25,000 each which will go towards creating, expanding and improving university-based research groups.

Kumwenda and the other winners completed their doctorates through the Regional Initiative in Science and Education (Rise) scholarships and won the grants through the Rise Competitive Fund which was held to celebrate the accomplishments of Rise and mark its transition to a new phase as a fully Africa-owned initiative.

Kumwenda is a lecturer in health informatics, an interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption, and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management and planning at the University of Malawi College Of Medicine.

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He has a doctor of philosophy degree in Bioinformatics and says he will use the grant to develop bioinformatics groups in Malawi for application of computational technology to solve biological or medical problems.

“We will also train graduate students in bioinformatics using the fund to support other projects including in multi-drug resistance in humans,” Kumwenda told SciDev.Net.

The other scientists are Adenike Olaseinde, Nigeria; Jane Tanner, South Africa; Majuto Manyilizu, Tanzania and Jane Namukobe, Uganda.

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Rise is a project of the Science Initiative Group, an organisation dedicated to fostering science in developing countries, and based at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, in the United States.

Sarah Rich, a programme associate at Science initiative, told SciDev.Net that the grants are aimed at enabling Rise scholars in African universities to develop sustainable research groups with the capacity to pursue collaborative projects with unique and impactful contribution to advance scientific and engineering knowledge.

The winners plan to generate research projects, raise funds and strategise to move beyond the one-year phase supported by Rise fund. Rise is funded by the US-based Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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