Over the past 7 years, CIDD researchers have been developing a strong and sustainable initiative on research and training in infectious diseases with the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Tanzania. The NM-AIST is a graduate-training institution seeking to develop the next generation of African scientists via the application of science, engineering and technology. The broad objective is to stimulate, catalyze and promote economic growth and sustainable development in Tanzania and, more broadly, sub-Saharan Africa. The University has a total of 70 academic staff (52 administrative and 52 technical staff) and offers post-graduate (MS and PhD) and post-doctoral training. Graduates have joined academic institutions, R&D Institutions, industry and informal sector. The large proportion of the graduate students staying in science and technology is impressive and important to training and building a sustainable education in East Africa. Since it established in 2009, NM-AIST has developed successful collaborations in research and training with western universities (e.g. University of Glasgow, Washington University). A particularly strong partnership has been developed with Penn State on infectious disease studies.
The collaboration has been extremely successful both in term of collaborative research ($13 million from WHO, DOD-DTRA, B&M Gates Foundation, among some) and training of new cohorts of African post-graduate and technical personnel. This partnership has also led to new collaborations with other institutions in East Africa (e.g. Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute - Kenya). Part of the supporting funds has been used to reconstruct laboratory capability (i.e. BSL2 level); and following our recent work on anthrax, NM-AIST is now the designated laboratory for analysis in East Africa. Beside classical initiatives in graduate training, novel approaches have been used such as the matching of African students, registered at NM-AIST, with students registered at northern universities (PEHPL 16 PhD students, Gates Foundation training grant).