Professor Kevin Marsh successfully applied to the Wellcome ISSF for a grant to establish the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx), a platform to encourage collaboration between the University of Oxford and African institutions. Hear more about the initiative from Kevin and Dr Anne Makena, the AfOx Programme Coordinator.
This project established the Africa Oxford Initiative, a cross-university platform for academic and research collaborations between the University of Oxford and African researchers and institutions. With an emphasis on equitable collaboration, this project has created a database of Oxford based researchers with an interest in African research, established an online communication platform to support a network of Africa-Oxford associated research fellows, and provided funds for a travel grants scheme to further collaboration between Oxford and Africa.
Kevin Marsh: I’m Kevin Marsh, I’m Professor of Tropical Medicine here at Oxford in the Nuffield Department of Medicine. I also direct the Africa Oxford Initiative, which received initial funding from the Wellcome ISSF scheme.
Anne Makena: I am Anne Makena, the program coordinator for the Africa Oxford Initiative.
KM: The Africa Oxford Initiative is a cross-university platform for supporting the development of equitable partnerships with African collaborators and institutions. It serves as a way of bringing together all of the Africa-focused interest in Oxford into a single place.
KM: Well it really allowed us to get going, as I’ve said, the initiative itself is across all disciplines, but the ISSF funding allowed us to begin a small grants scheme for health and biomedical-related research which became the point from which we then built all the other activities of AfOx, so it really played a central role in getting us going.
AM: We’ve been able to set up the AfOx travel grants scheme and so far we’ve awarded fifteen different awards to set up new collaborations across various disciplines in health and biomedical sciences in the University. And also from that initial funding we’ve been able to also attract new members to join the AfOx team, over three hundred people already in our database at the moment.
AM: I hope that with the initiative we can be able to set up a system where African researchers are able to primarily produce and own their own research.
KM: Yes I agree, and I think for us, the key thing is that Africa becomes a strategic priority for the University of Oxford.