OR Tambo Africa Research Chair Initiative in Food Science and Technology Launched

The Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID) in collaboration with the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) has launched the OR Tambo Africa Research Chair Initiative (ORTARChI) in Food Science and Technology on July 29, 2023, at the ISSER Conference Centre.  

The University of Ghana’s Prof. Firibu Kwesi Saalia of the Departments of Food Process Engineering & Nutrition and Food Science is one of the initiative’s first ten chairholders in ten host universities across Africa. ORTARChI is an initiative of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), in partnership with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation (OATF), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and seven councils of the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI). The initiative builds on the work of Oliver Tambo, a prominent South African and pan-Africanist with a science education background, who believed in creating change through education and in cooperation and solidarity among African nations.

The chairholders will receive funding for the next five years, to conduct multidisciplinary research and support high-end skills development on a diverse range of topics including climate, public health, entrepreneurship, and youth employment whiles training the next generation of researchers.

Delivering the opening remarks, the Provost of CBAS, Prof. Boateng Onwona Agyemang expressed the readiness of the college to host and support the activities of the research chair. He noted that the chair which is granted in recognition of individual leadership, talent, and contribution to research development, is a demonstration of Prof.  Saalia’s contribution to teaching and research in the field of food science and technology. He assured Prof Saalia of the University’s unflinching support to the success of the project.

The chair of the event, Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Development expressed gratitude to the National Research Foundation of South Africa for honouring the University through Prof. Saalia. Prof. Asante congratulated Prof Saalia for being the first occupant of the chair in Food Science and Technology. He was hopeful that the graduates and research outcomes of the project will contribute to the socio-economic development of the continent.

      Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Development

Prof. Saalia gave a brief presentation on the journey towards winning the grant stating that the research will focus on improving food quality and safety for enhanced food security. He noted that it has always been his desire to contribute to food security in Ghana and beyond through evidence-based research. His research will therefore focus on identifying cost effective technologies needed to ensure food security that will impact public health, food availability and internal trade competitiveness. He was confident that the project will produce graduates who will work to curb food insecurity while producing healthy food products for the international market as well.  He expressed confidence in the capability of the Technical Committee comprised of Prof. Matilda Steiner- Asiedu, Dr. Nicole Sharon Afrifa, Dr. Angela Parry-Hanson Konadu (all of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science), Dr. Emmanuel Essien (Department of Agricultural Engineering) and Dr. Freda Asem (Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness) in the realisation of the goals of the project.

              Prof. Firibu Kwesi Saalia, ORTARChI Cahir in Food Science and Technology

Solidarity messages were delivered by representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), National Research Fund (South Africa) and the Association of Ghana Industries.

                                      A cross-section of guests at the Durbar

The Research Chair was officially launched on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor by Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante.

Present at the launch were faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders in the food value chain.

                                     Group photograph of the guest after the launch