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HTML Document VLIR-UOS, Short Training Initiative: building an African network for sustainable management of aquatic biological resources supported by genetics and parasitology (closed)

Release date 25/10/2017
Contributor mlsusini
Geographical coverage Belgium, Cameroon, France, Ivory Coast, Morocco, USA
Keywords aquatic biology, parasitology

  • Short Training Initiative, funded by VLIR-UOS
  • A considerable proportion of the African population depends on aquatic living resources for its livelihood. However, a more science-based management is needed to render its exploitation more sustainable, certainly in view of threats like overexploitation, pollution, introduction of non-native species and emerging water-borne diseases. The collaborative research and capacity building activities of the applicants center on the integration of the biological disciplines of genetics and parasitology for a better understanding of natural aquatic ecosystems. This should contribute to a more sustainable management of socio-ecological systems. Several South-driven requests for collaboration and capacity building concern genetic and parasitological techniques and concepts. Indeed, genetics and parasitology are commonly used in aquatic biological research; unfortunately they are rarely combined in African research groups active in aquatic biology. Moreover, contributing to a regional South-South cross-cutting perspective is a capacity building challenge in itself, as most institutional cooperation in this field is national or local in scale, and highly dependent on foreign senior experts. Therefore it was the right time to valorise these experiences in a multidisciplinary workshop accommodating a higher number of participants from across Africa. We organised for young African aquatic scientists a workshop focusing on genetics and parasitology, as a basis for an African network regarding the sustainable management of aquatic resources. Experts from Belgium, Cameroon, France, Ivory Coast, Morocco and the US were involved. The setting at the Université Mohammed V (Rabat) was based on its leading role in Morocco. The institute has a productive team active in the field of this STI, provided the equipment and accommodation required for the training and co-funded the STI. Since our approach of combining expertise in host and parasite biology is quite unique, certainly in French-speaking Africa, the STI offered the participants an innovative view on their field, facilitating a regional exchange of best practices. The interdisciplinarity of the expertise provided, the relevance of the content across multiple sub-regions in Africa, and the integration of technical skills with science communication and the science-policy interface ensured that the acquired skills are applicable within the research and policy needs of the sending countries and institutions.


  • CEBioS acts as North co-promoter for this project and took a (co-)leading role in the entire process (project writing, selection of participants, budget/administration, workshop coordination and content, reporting…). During the workshop, CEBioS contributed sessions on e.g. parasitological research methods; molecular phylogeny, evolution and identification; aspects of ecosystem management including indicators for the assessment of anthropogenic impacts; scientific publications and databases.
  • Responsible for CEBioS: Maarten Vanhove
  • Project duration: September 11th – 23rd, 2016
  • Total budget: € 39 085 (+ co-funding from Université Mohammed V (Rabat))
  • Partners: KU Leuven, Université Mohammed V (Rabat) (Morocco), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France), Royal Museum for Central Africa, College of Charleston (USA), Université de Yaoundé I, Université de Ngaoundéré (Cameroon), Université Félix Houphouet-Boigny d’Abidjan (Ivory Coast).