UNESCO ‐ MeRck Africa Research Summit
‐ MARS 2016

The UNESCO-MERCK initiative was born from the idea of improving the cooperation between public research institutes, operating in Africa in the domain of life and chemical sciences, and the global private sector, notably the pharmaceutical industry.

Scientific research in the life sciences and health is recognised as a fundamental component of effective health systems, and the need to perform such research should be considered a priority in counties where health challenges constitute a burden to economic productivity and sustainable development. Research into many of the diseases which afflict the world’s poorest people is neglected for financial, scientific, or political reasons; and there is a huge global inequality in the resources devoted to life science research, and only small proportion benefit countries where the majority of preventable deaths occur.

The role of scientific research has become increasingly prominent in health and development strategies since its significance was explicitly addressed in the 2004 Ministerial Summit on Health Research. During the 2008 Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health in Bamako, UNESCO and WHO produced a declaration articulating the vital role of collaborative scientific research in health. Building research capacity requires strengthening institutions and sustainable funding, but also the training of researchers, and strong national commitment to science education at all levels.

The example of the UNESCO-MERCK cooperation symbolises the emergent need of creating sustainable partnerships among heterogeneous actors, to support research in life and health sciences in Africa.

The 2nd edition of the UNESCO-MARS will take place from 28-29 November 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The focus will be on Africa's life and health research on infection diseases in women, especially with the advent of the Zika virus, and how accurate and up-to-date research can be used to inform policy makers and the public, to strengthen countries ability to respond to public health emergencies of this kind, in order to follow-up UNESCO’s international efforts on Zika-related issues. There will be specific emphasis on how to translate knowledge into action - the 'know-do gap' - to improve the way scientific research is conducted to address multiple challenges. More widely, the summit will provide a platform for dialogue on improving global cooperation in life sciences, health research and particularly women's healthcare, and narrowing the disparities in health system performance between developing and developed countries.

The theme of the Summit “Infectious Diseases and Women Health” is an outcome of extensive consultation that was motivated and inspired by the 1st World Women’s Health and Development Forum and its declaration “Global Action Agenda for Women’s Health”; In Africa, the issue of health research has been comprehensively covered in Africa Agenda 2063 and the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa – 2024 (STISA-2024) which was adopted in 2013 by the African Union Summit.

UNESCO MARS 2016 is scientifically supported by the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), the University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy) and the Institute Pasteur (France). It will take place in Capitol Hill Hotel, Addis Ababa. This year the summit will be done in partnership with the African Union and will be hosted under the patronage of the Federal Government of Ethiopia.

Up to 200 young researchers representing 35 countries in Africa will be sponsored and able to attend the Summit participating with their scientific abstracts. We expect over 15 Ministers of Science, Education and Health to attend.

The Summit will be inaugurated by Merck CEO, UNESCO, African Union and the Government of Ethiopia.

Abstracts are invited from final year African PhD students and young investigators involved in research related to Infectious Diseases with the aim to improve Women Health . All should be primarily based at African research institutes and Universities, although collaboration within Africa as well as outside is encouraged.

All abstracts will be peer reviewed and 100 winners will be eligible for Sponsorship.
First three winners will be eligible for further number of Research Awards.
Further Research Award will be dedicated for Best African Women Researchers.


UNESCO- MeRck Africa Research Summit-
MARS to empower women in Research with

focus on

"Infectious Diseases and Women Health"

28 – 29 November, 2016

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Merck has joined hands with UNESCO, African Union, Ethiopia Ministry of Health, University of Cambridge and Institute Pasteur International to empower Women in Research, build Research capacity in Francophone and Anglophone Africa with the aim to improve Women Health in the continent.

Infectious Diseases & Women Health and empowering Women in Research will be the focus of the 2nd UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit –MARS 2016 to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 28-29 November, 2016.

• 'Best African Woman Research Awards' to be launched for the first time at UNESCO MARS 2016.

• The launch of on-line research community (www.merck-cap.com) to enable young researchers to share experience and knowledge with their peers and with established researchers in Africa and beyond.

Read more

Meet the Panelists & Keynote Speakers

Introduction by:

Dr. Rasha Kelej
Chief Social Officer,
Merck Healthcare

Hon. Getchaw Engida
Deputy Director General, UNESCO

Inaugurated by:

Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp

Chairman of the Executive Board &
Family Board of E.Merck KG

Hon. Prof. Yifru Berhane

Minister of Health, Ethiopia

H.E Dr. Tedros Adhanom

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Ministerial Panel 1 - Defining Interventions to Advance Research Capacity and Empower Women in Research and Improve Women Health in Africa

Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp

Chairman of the Executive Board &
Family Board of E.Merck KG

Hon. Sarah Opendi

Minister of State for Health, Uganda

Hon. Idi Illassou Mainassara,

Minister of Public Health, Niger

Hon. Dr. Ashraf Elshihy

Minister of Higher Education and
Minister of State for Scientific Research, Egypt

Hon. Fliga Michel Sawadogo

Minister of Education
& Science, Burkina Faso

Hon. Julia Duncan Cassell,

Minister of Gender, Children
& Social Development, Liberia

Hon. Jesus Engonga Ndong

Minister of Education &
Science, Equatorial Guinea

Ministerial Panel 2 -Research and Policy Making Gap in Africa – Challenges and Opportunities – Africa as a New International Hub for Research Excellence and Scientific Innovation

Hon. Assane Ngueadoum

Minister of Health, Chad

Hon. Prof. Yifru Berhane

Minister of Health, Ethiopia

Hon. Zuliatu M. Cooper

Deputy Minister of Health
& Sanitation, Sierra Leone

Hon. Octave Nicoue Broohm

Minister of Education, Togo

Hon. Leon N'zouba

Minister of Health, Gabon

Dr. Joao Sebastiao Teta

Secretary of State, Angola

HRH Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite

Founder of the World Women's Health
& Development Forum

Join the conversation on building research capacity in Africa through UNESCO-MARS at:

For more information on the UNESCO-MARS 2016 Summit go to:

www.unesco-mars.com and www.merck-cap.com

 http://en.unesco.org/events/2nd-edition-unesco-merck-africa-research-summit-unesco-mars

MARS 2016 Award Winners