Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

COMSATS’ Network of International Centres of Excellence Strengthened during the 15th Coordinating Council Meeting

In cognizance of its international role viz socio-economic development through science and technology, COMSATS has always endeavoured to consolidate and strengthen its Network of S&T Centres of Excellence, which provides the organization with the needed scientific and technological resource-base for national and regional programmes. The induction of a new centre, the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD), Senegal, and re-designation of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ghana (in place of its constituent institution BRRI) are major steps in this direction, which were approved during the 15th Coordinating Council meeting of COMSATS, recently.

The request to nominate a renowned scientific institution of Senegal to be affiliated with COMSATS was made to the honourable Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Senegal, H.E. Prof. Amadou Tidiane BA, during the 14th General Assembly meeting of COMSTECH, in January 2011. A similar request had earlier been made to Prof. Moctar Touré (Member of COMSATS’ Technical Advisory Committee). After repeated consultations, it was agreed during the meeting among the Executive Director COMSATS; Rector/President of the Assembly of UCAD, Prof. Saliou Ndiaye; Prof. Moctar Touré; and Directors of the three Research Institutes of UCAD, to nominate UCAD as one of COMSATS’ Centres of Excellence. The University comprises 6 faculties, i.e. Faculty of S&T; Faculty of Economic Sciences and Management; Faculty of S&T for Education and Training; Faculty of Law and Political Sciences; Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Odonto Stomatology; and Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences. The key areas of focus of the University are: Tropical Medicine, Renewable Energy, Biotechnology, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacology, Environmental Sciences, Information Science, Agro Biology, and Agro Chemistry.

On the other hand, during his visit to the Republic of Ghana (October 2011), the Executive Director COMSATS held a meeting with Dr. Abdulai Baba Salifu, Director General CSIR-Ghana; and Dr. Eugene Atiemo, Director Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI). Among other parts of discussion, the officials reached an understanding that CSIR, the parent institution of BRRI, should be designated as the Centre of Excellence of COMSATS so that all of its thirteen technical Institutes including BRRI could equally take part in COMSATS’ programmes and activities. The focus areas of these 13 research institutes of CSIR are: agriculture, environment, forestry, fisheries, health and medicine, industry and natural sciences, and social sciences. CSIR has fully functional laboratories having state-of-the-art equipment and qualified technical staff. CSIR’s recent research initiatives are in various areas of modern bio-technology, including the production of bio-fuels and bio-chemicals, as well as the introduction of yield and nutrient-enhancing genes in plants. CSIR has also developed improved varieties of crops.

UCAD and CSIR were represented by Prof. Aly Mbaye, Dean, School of Economics, UCAD, Senegal, and Dr. Abdulai Baba Salifu, Director General CSIR, Ghana, respectively, during the 15th Coordinating Council Meeting held in Turkey. The Council unanimously approved the induction of UCAD in COMSATS’ Network as a Centre of Excellence, and re-designation of CSIR, Ghana, in place of its constituent organization, BRRI. By virtue of these Centres’ membership to the Network, the Rector UCAD-Senegal and Director General CSIR-Ghana will attend the future meetings of Coordinating Council as its members.