AGNES Newsletter 2015 / 2016

 Dear AGNES members and Friends of AGNES,

2016 is ferociously moving along and in these busy times, it is sometimes hard to keep pace with communicating to all of you at frequent intervals! With the winter/summer solstice just behind us, it is an ideal time to update you on the activities of the African-German Network of Excellence in Science and to wish you well for the second half of 2016 with its challenges and celebrations....

The successful grantees for 2015 Mobility grant were:


Surname and Name:  ADELEKE Mosunmola Lydia
Nationality:  Nigeria
Date of PhD:  2014
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: Federal University of Technology/Akure
Research Field:  Fisheries economics      
Nominator:  TWAS (Romain Murenzi)

 “My long-term vision is to study and understand the economic adaptive strategies of indigenous fisher-folks in terms of how to ensure that the impact of climate change is minimal or adequately mitigated in their ecological location with regards to the transformation of the coastal ecosystem and its natural resources. Currently, I am working on the adoption of Capture Based Aquaculture (CBA) for maximum fish production and food security for livelihood diversification in the coastal communities of Ondo State, Nigeria. This research is to enhance food security, reduce hunger, poverty and diversify income generating activities of women fisher-folks in the coastal area of Ondo State, Nigeria through applied and collaborative adoption of Capture Based Aquaculture using locally available materials, value addition strategies, packaging and linking them to local and international markets. The project is currently being piloted in two fishing communities and with good outcomes and results; it will be expanded to include 20 more fishing communities in the area”.


Surname and Name:  ADEMOSUN Ayokunle Olubode
Nationality:  Nigeria
Date of PhD:  2014
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: Federal University of Technology/Akure
Research Field:  Food Biochemistry        
Nominator:  Prof. Odunayo Adebooye

 “My research has focused on the various mechanisms by which natural bioactive compounds in Nigerian fruits manage or prevent degenerative diseases. Recently, I also characterized the interaction of bioactive compounds from some citrus peels on enzymes relevant to the management of colon cancer. I am a member of the Nigerian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NSBMB). I have 33 published articles in international peer-reviewed journals, 4 articles in local journals and 2 published book chapters.  My ambition is to promote functional foods research in Africa and the development of nutraceuticals from bioactive compounds abundant in Africa. Such research will be useful in the management of degenerative diseases in Africa where the cost of detection and treatment is unbearable for much of the population”.


Surname and Name: AMUSA Saheed Balogun
Nationality:  Nigeria
Date of PhD:  2015
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Research Field: History    
Nominator:  Dr Remi Sonaya

 Dr Amusa described himself and his work as follows: “His major areas of research interests are located within the wider scope of Nigeria’s social and political history since the colonial period.  He has numerous contributions to edited collections as well as a number of research articles in reputable journals.  His articles have appeared in Journal of Historical Society of Nigeria, African Journal of AIDS Research, Health, Culture and Society, Journal of Knowledge Economy, among others. A member of the Historical Society of Nigeria, International Research Network on AIDS and Religion in Africa (IRNARA) and International Society for Studies in Oral Traditions”.


Surname and Name: BENGYELLA Louis
Nationality: Cameroon
Date of PhD:  2014
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: University of Burdwan, West Bengal, India
Research Field:  Biotechnology (Phytobiochemistry)
Nominator:  TWAS (Romain Murenzi)

 “The paramount goal is developed novel therapeutic agents that can improve the treatment of candidiasis/candidemia, which are common diseases usually associated with HIV-AIDS patients and patients in intense health-care unit.  The drive behind development of new candidacidal agents is based on the growing multi-drug resistance (MDR) phenomenon to conventional azole drugs, coupled with the changing prevalence and distribution pattern of Candida species.  Therefore, given that eradication of fungi infections is often difficult because of their eukaryotic nature, increase rate of HIV-AIDS infections among Africa youths, and worldwide phenomenon of MDR, I will focus in this area to improve health on the African continent”.


Surname and Name:  DE KOCK Michiel Burger
Nationality:  South Africa
Date of PhD:  2014
Institute/Country where PhD obtained:  Stellenbosch University, SA
Research Field:  Theoretical Physics        
Nominator:  Dr Heather Marco

 “I have always been interested in the logic of problem solving.   In other words how do we construct models, which models is preferred by the data and how strong are the conclusions that we can draw from experimental data.   Thus I do a lot of Bayesian statistics, theoretical and practical.   My research ambitions for South Africa is to improve the analyses of experimental data in physics and the scientific community in general.   This is where experiment and theory intersects and we learn from the physical world”.
Surname and Name:  DJUIDJE FOTSING Marthe Carine
Nationality:  Cameroon
Date of PhD:  2014
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: University of Johannesburg/South Africa
Research Field:  Applied Chemistry         
Nominator:  TWAS (Romain Murenzi)
 “Africa is a very critical point, with the liberation of South Africa of Apartheid 2 decades ago and the current promising economic situation of Nigeria.   But with the prolific expatriation of brains from Africa to other continents, we are instead sinking even though we possess rich mineral resources.   We need to come together as politicians, scientists, and business people so that we can eradicate poverty, wars, pestilences, famine in our continent.   We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our children, and we owe it to our precious Africa”.


Surname and Name:  MANYALI George Simiyu
Nationality:  Kenya
Date of PhD:  2015
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Research Field:  Physics   
Nominator:  Prof. Hamadi Boga

“Africa faces great challenges in terms of clean and safe drinking water and cheap renewable energy sources:  In addressing the above challenges, my research focus on developing models for water purifications and predict properties of materials for energy application.  The modelled data is very useful in interpreting experiments and in some cases guiding experimentalist in design of new materials or in tuning material properties”.


Surname and Name:  SAAD Dalia M. G.
Nationality:  Sudan
Date of PhD:  2013
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Research Field:  Environmental Chemistry (nanotechnology)    
Nominator:  TWAS (Romain Murenzi)

Surname and Name:  SULIMAN Sharain
Nationality: Sudan
Date of PhD:  2014
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Research Field:  Psychiatry
Nominator:  Dr Heather Marco
 “I wish to improve my research capabilities by continuing to gain experience and exposure, apply the knowledge I accumulate to the betterment of society, as well as to be able to spread the knowledge acquired to others in the field, i.e. via students and publications.  My hope is to involve masters and PhD level students from South Africa, and the rest of the continent, in my ongoing work, in order to develop expertise in the field, as well as to develop collaborations between our department and other local and international universities”.
Surname and Name:  WENTZEL Johannes F.
Nationality:  South Africa 
Date of PhD:  2014
Institute/Country where PhD obtained: North-West University, South Africa
Research Field:  Biochemistry     
Nominator:  Dr Heather Marco
 “I am busy with a post-doctoral study at the Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences, where I am investigating the cytotoxicity and innate immune response elicited by a broad range of particulate delivery systems in order to identify suitable adjuvants and vaccine carriers for use in Africa”.

 If you missed the Mobility Grant call for 2016, then lookout for the 2017 dates on the AGNES website.

For more information on the above or about AGNES, contact:

Dr Heather Marco, or Mrs Sharonise Alexander,


Humboldt Kolleg in Yaoundé Cameroon, from 05th April 2016 to  07th April 2016

Prof. Jens Gebauer, was invited to attend a Humboldt Kolleg in Yaoundé Cameroon, from 05th April 2016 to  07th April 2016.  The theme of the Kolleg was “Kultur und Wissenschaft” and organised by Prof. David Simo and his team.  The overall impression of the Kolleg is that it was very well organised and attended.  Prof. Gebauer gave a plenary talk on “Culture and Agriculture”, chaired a session and in the closing plenary gave a presentation on AGNES.  We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Humboldt Foundation.


Humboldt Conference held in Naivasha, Kenya from 06th April to 08th April 2016

Prof. Hamadi Goga, was invited to attend the Humboldt Conference held in Naivasha, Kenya from 06th April to 08th April 2016 and presented his paper entitled: Understanding the current status of the Soda Lakes of Kenya as a plenary lecture.


AGNES Intra-Africa Mobility Grant for Junior Researchers 

The closing date for the brand new AGNES Intra-Africa Mobility Grant for Junior Researchers was: 10 May 2016.   We received 88 applications!   The Grant is made possible through funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, (BMBF), and with support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH).

The Grant enables junior researchers (Masters and Doctoral students) from sub-Saharan African countries to spend research stays between 1 and 2 months at a university/research institute in another sub-Saharan African country working towards the grantee’s dissertation or thesis.

The Selection Committee will meet from 04 - 06 July 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa.


Call for Nominations for the 2016 AGNES Grant for Junior Researchers is now open, and will close on 21 August 2016.

Please see details on homepage


AGNES Board election and participation at the upcoming Humbolt Kolleg in Benin

The Kolleg, entitled “Utilizing and Conserving Natural Resources under Climate Change in Africa”  is planned for 05 - 07 December 2016, at the Diaspora Garden Hotel in Ouidah, the Republic of Benin, and is organised by Prof. Romain Glèlè Kakai from Benin.

To view the programme click here

Anyone interested to participate in the Kolleg should contact the organiser.

To improve the visibility of AGNES on the continent, we welcome participation at Humboldt Kollegs, DAAD conferences and similar meetings, where a brief overview of AGNES is presented to the audience. Usually, a powerpoint show is presented by an invited AGNES Board member, or a regional AGNES member. The prepared slide show is available in English and French.  Should you wish to present information on AGNES when a Board member is not available, please write to the AGNES Office, attention:  Mrs Sharonise Alexander at the following email address: with your request, and proof of your registration at the Kolleg; we welcome a short report with a few photographs after the Kolleg.


Report-back from recent Humboldt Kollegs 

In 2015 (19-21 November) AGNES participated in a Kolleg in Potchefstroom, South Africa, organised by Prof. Christa Rautenbach.  Here is an excerpt from her report: The theme "Modern day impact of culture on science: the influence of cultural diversity on theory and practice" proved to be a good choice and scholars from a wide spectrum of science participated.  The Kolleg was attended by 62 scientists from South Africa, the rest of Africa, Germany and the UK.  We are extremely pleased that the Humboldt Foundation was presented by Dr Daniela Kneissl, Head of the Division Africa and Middle East.  The Kolleg was also attended by no less than four Ambassador Scientists, namely myself (Christa Rautenbach), Heather Marco – Ambassador Scientist South Africa (South) and AGNES President; Hamadi Boga – Ambassador Scientist Kenya and AGNES Secretary, and Tsige Gebre-Mariam – Ambassador Scientist Ethiopia.