Merck Unites with UNESCO to Build Research Capacity in Africa

Merck (, a leading science and technology company, today launches in partnership with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the first edition of the UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland. The summit aims to address the vital role of scientific research in the improvement and sustainable development of the African population health, with specific emphasis on how to translate knowledge into action.

“Merck is very pleased to join forces with UNESCO and take together an active role in addressing health challenges and strengthening the role of scientific research in life sciences and medical sciences for Africa,” said Stefan Oschmann, Vice Chairman of the Executive Board and Deputy CEO of Merck, at the inauguration of the UNESCO Merck Africa Research Summit. “The summit will bring together researchers from across Africa to discuss the generation, sharing and dissemination of research data with the aim of identifying development opportunities that will contribute to building research capacity, accelerating access to innovative health solutions and sustaining innovation in Africa.”

“The UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit was initiated to address in parts the vital role of research in the improvement and sustainable development of population health with specific emphasis on how to translate knowledge into action – the ‘know-do gap’ – to improve health,” emphasized Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director- General of Natural Sciences, UNESCO. “Moreover, the summit will provide a platform for dialogue on improving global cooperation on life science and health research and narrowing the disparities in health systems performance between developing and developed countries.”

Uganda Minister of State of Health, Sarah Opendi emphasized at the summit “New Health Challenges are expected in the future and therefore this noble initiative by UNESCO/MERCK will significantly contribute towards enhancing policy environment, support and build capacity of researchers in low and middle income countries”.

The summit will be conducted on a yearly basis to ensure significant sustainable impact on access to high-quality and innovative healthcare solutions, building research capacity and sustaining innovation across Africa.

The 2015 UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit will focus on the role of building capacities in the life sciences to address challenges of infectious diseases, most notably the Ebola crises.

Scientifically supported by UNESCO, the University of Cambridge (UK), and the University of Rome (Italy), the summit will be a valuable opportunity for young researchers who are engaged and interested in health and life science research in Africa to learn about the full spectrum of ground-breaking scientific research currently underway, and prepare for the road ahead in Africa’s development as an international hub for research excellence and scientific innovation. Abstracts were invited from final year African PhD students and young investigators involved in HIV, Ebola and other infectious diseases research. All are primarily based at African research institutes and universities. All abstracts were peer reviewed by scientific committee and will be eligible for fellowship award in Merck R&D hub and further number of research awards which will be announced at the end of the summit.

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