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The 1st Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), meeting which was held on August 18th -19th, 2010, in the ILRI, Nairobi campus, was kicked off by welcoming remarks from Dr. Seyoum Leta, BioInnovate Program Manager, to all the members present. He also thanked all for taking the time to attend and presented apologies from those members who were unable to attend the meeting. In its first meeting, The Bio-Innovate unanimously nominated Dr. Theresa Sengooba to serve as TAC chairperson. Dr. Theresa Sengooba is the Regional Coordinator for the East Africa Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), based in Uganda.  PBS is a Program under the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington DC. Dr Theresa Sengooba, thanked all the participants and noted that she is happy to be nominated as the TAC chairperson, and is committed to serve the Program. She looks forward to a productive and successful Program in the future. Among the pertinent issues discussed at the 1st TAC meeting was the involvement of the Science and Technology ministries and or commissions in BioInnovate Program implementation.  A discussion paper on how to involve the Science and Technology Councils/Commissions/ Ministries from the six BioInnovate partner countries into BioInnovate Program was presented by the BioInnovate Program Manager. It was highlighted that BioInnovate should work closely with the Science and Technology Councils from the BioInnovate participating countries. In its implementation, BioInnovate will work closely with the African Union New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU/NEPAD) and Eastern Africa Councils/Commissions for Science and Technology from BioInnovate participating countries in strengthening regional collaboration in science and technology, to enable the continent to adapt the rapid advances and promises of modern biosciences. BioInnovate is a fully integrated strategic innovation platform, serving the development of an eastern Africa bioresource economy, through the application of bioscience innovation. It is expected that the eastern Africa governments, through their S & T Ministries/ Councils/ Commissions will substantially co-fund such a program. The following are some of the major activities where BioInnovate will work closely with the respective regional councils of Science and Technology (S & T):

  • Mainstreaming of BioInnovate Program activities into national S & T planning framework;
  • Enhance bioscience innovations by creating an enabling policy environment;
  • Create synergies and coordination among national programs with BioInnovate funded projects;
  • Enhance harmonization in resource mobilization to support biosciences based innovations at national and regional levels, including through bioresource fund and its competitive grant scheme.
  • Ensure that the BioInnovate projects in their respective countries are addressing issues of priority to national science and technology policy; and
  • Work in close connection with NEPAD in donor harmonization, securing and development of strategic planning, including resource mobilization strategy for medium and long term.

TAC recommended that the BioInnovate Management Team should make visits to all the six science and technology councils and create awareness and mutual understanding on BioInnovate Program objectives and themes.

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