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Two network members’ excitement for the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting

Sergine Ngatat

Sergine Ngatat

Two African early career researchers who are members of the CONNECTED Network attended the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting in late October 2019.

Sergine Ngatat, from Cameroon, and Tendekai Mahlanza, from South Africa, travelled to Ethiopia for the event, which took place in Addis Adaba from 27-30 October.

The opportunity arose with two invitations to the Annual Meeting, offered to the CONNECTED Network which was running a training programme during the summer.

Tendekai Mahlanza

Tendekai Mahlanza

A group of researchers from 11 African countries attended the V4 (Virus-Vector Vice-Versa) Development Programme at the University of Bristol, UK. And the decision about which of the cohort should attend the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting was left entirely to the delegates themselves, who collectively nominated Sergine and Tendekai.

Below are some of Sergine and Tendekai’s thoughts ahead of the event:

Sergine Ngatat

Research Assistant, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Cameroon

“I am very excited and enthusiastic about the Grand Challenges meeting. It is the first time I’ve attended such event, and I hope to meet experts and share some project ideas, and capture funder attention.

“My expectations are:
• To nurture relationships that will bring new research collaborations, and
• To explore securing funding for some research topics in the area of plant pathology that can address sustainable agricultural production in Africa

“As an early career researcher, it is a great opportunity for me.”

Tendekai Mahlanza

Researcher, Plant Health and Protection Institute Agricultural Research Council, South Africa

“The Grand Challenges is an initiative at the forefront of addressing major developmental challenges across the world. Attending the meeting will be an excellent opportunity to learn and be inspired by scientists leading these efforts.

“The meeting is a global gathering of leading scientists, policymakers and funders, collaborating in impactful research. I look forward to learning how to make scientific research impactful to general communities, establishing relevant networks and identifying funding opportunities to tackle development challenges, particularly in crop improvement and protection.”


Watch this space for some reflections from Sergine and Tendekai after the event.