ECOWAS, promoting Research and Innovation: Award giving ceremony to two winning consortiums of 2020 Edition of ECOWAS
Dr Victorien Tamègnon Dougnon of the University of Abomey, Calavi in Benin and Prof. N’Guessan Jean David of Felix Houphouët Boigny University in Côte d’Ivoire, two coordina-tors of the award winning consortium by the PARI programme whose results by the Jury were adopted by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers held in Accra, Ghana from 16 to 17 June 2021 will receive a prize to the tune of US$200,000 each, from the Minister in charge of ECOWAS affairs and Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation of the recipi-ent’s respective countries. The ceremony will be attended by ECOWAS Commission’s Com-missioner for Education, Science and Culture, Mr Mamadou Jao.
The award is in recognition of their joint and community-based projects submitted for the PARI programme in Life and Earth Sciences discipline of Pharmacopeia. This programme encourages the participation of the youth in scientific development and involves eligible researchers in the three linguistic zones of ECOWAS by the programme in regional integra-tion.
Also, the two award winning consortiums participate in the South-South collaboration in the ECOWAS region and intend to improve the level of scientific knowledge on active medic-inal plants against antibiotic resistant bacteria as well as coronavirus. They also seek to find a solution to malaria, a pandemic in most ECOWAS countries which is the major cause of consultation, hospitalisation as well as mortality and morbidity in women and children be-low five years.
It should be recalled that the ECOWAS Support Programme for Research and Innovation is a competition organised to select the best projects submitted by researchers through a bid-ding process. The programme, which is a means of promoting excellence in science is aimed at availing researchers with a competitive fund for research in order to increase sci-entific production and transforming laboratories into laboratories of excellence. It is part of the Action plan for ECOWAS policy on Science, Technology and Innovation (ECOPOST).
The Science and Technology section of PARI contributes to the development of research, promotion of a science and technology culture promotion of local technologies, construc-tion of a community space for research through mobility of researchers and development of regional projects with a potential impact on regional development.
The implementation of PARI is aimed at providing a response to the various challenges of the research sector in the West African region by (i) providing funds for research in a competitive bidding process for research projects that contribute to fighting poverty and having an impact on regional development; (ii) promoting mobility of researchers through the development of regional projects; (iii) providing supports to research laboratories in order to build their capacities (equipment and connectivity) and access to science information; iv) training of young researchers to ensure scientific development of research institutes in the region.
Through this programme, ECOWAS directly provides grants to two types of beneficiaries of the consortium of researchers or indirectly to research organisations or laboratories. Pharmacopeia (Life and Earth Sciences) as well as Chemistry (Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation) were the two disciplines selected in 2020.