CSIR receives R80M for health and skills innovation 2023


The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) received a $4,458,033 (R80 million) investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote skills and health innovation, which is a significant boost for Africa’s plans to build the capacity to respond to future pandemics.

The investment, which aims to strengthen Africa’s biomanufacturing capability through a workforce training and skills development program, is a major milestone that will reduce the continent’s reliance on imported essential health products.

Dr. Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR Group Executive: Advanced Chemistry and Life Sciences, stated: “Skills development and the establishment of the necessary infrastructure in the field of biomanufacturing require urgent action to strengthen our capability to manufacture locally accessible and cost-effective health products.”

Chikwamba believes that the injection of funds will reduce the continent’s reliance on imported therapeutics and encourage the development of African-specific health products.

She stated, “Therefore, this workforce development program will play a significant catalytic role in stimulating local biomanufacturing by providing hands-on training and competency development.”

Chikwamba believes the monetary injection will minimize the continent’s dependency on foreign treatments and encourage African-tailored health goods.

“We support biotech with knowledge, skills, and infrastructure.”

According to the CSIR, the grant will support training and workforce development in Africa for the production of active pharmaceutical constituents, biopharmaceuticals, and vaccines.

The investment will also contribute to the modernization of infrastructure and equipment, which are essential to the development of a robust local biomanufacturing capacity.

“The Gates Foundation grant will enable the expansion of the current microbial production facility and the establishment of bench-scale production using mammalian cell-culture systems.

Dr. Santosh Ramchuran, leader of the CSIR’s Research Group on Bioprocess Technologies, explained that this is a vital area of concentration for the organization, as most biopharmaceuticals discovered in Africa remain in the research and development phase and never reach commercialization.

According to Ramchuran, the work, which will aid in the development of new products, is consistent with the CSIR’s function in research translation and innovation.

Black female candidates and petitioners from other African nations will comprise the majority of those who will benefit from this initiative.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, is one of Africa’s foremost scientific and technological research, development, and implementation institutions.

To enhance the quality of life for all South Africans, the CSIR conducts multidisciplinary, directed research and technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development.

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