Imperial College and MIT launch search for African ‘blue-sky’ research

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Imperial College London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are launching a search for collaborating institutions in Africa to drive innovation from across the continent.

The two universities have launched a seed fund for “blue-skies” research, with a regional focus on Africa. With this seed fund, researchers and educators at Imperial and MIT aim to help kick-start early-stage and “blue skies” research ideas that might not otherwise be pursued. The funding may be used for exploratory research, small-scale experiments and for exchanges between the three teams: one at MIT, one at Imperial, and one at a university or non-profit research institution in Africa.

Imperial’s vice-president (International) Professor Maggie Dallman, who recently visited Ghana and Kenya to strengthen Imperial’s research collaborations there, said: “This seed fund is an exciting opportunity to build new partnerships with institutions in Africa.” “The best science comes from international collaborations and the universities that truly globalise will be best placed to educate and innovate for generations to come,” added Dallman. “This fund has great potential to open up new opportunities and ways of thinking to tackle global challenges.”

Imperial already has dozens of research projects taking place in countries including South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Uganda into global challenges such as health, infrastructure and nutrition.

In 2016 Imperial launched its Centre of African Research and Engagement (ICCARE) to bring together Imperial’s scientists and engineers working across the African continent on a diverse range of health and environmental research programmes.

The MIT-Imperial seed fund is worth up to $100,000 and Imperial and MIT are accepting applications up to 17 September 2018.

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