Application of Biotechnology for Environmentally Safe and Sustainable Food Security and Green Development of Ethiopia

Projekt: Forskning


Ethiopia is a developing country where food security remains a major challenge. The food insecurity of the country is in stark contrast to the fact that the country is endowed with huge biodiversity in general and high crop and animal genetic resources in particular.In Ethiopia, conventional research approaches have attempted to address major development challenges. However, these approaches did not yield the desired levels of positive impacts in agriculture, industry, environmental and health sectors. Biotechnology is emerging as an important research approach to bring about new prospects with the viable potential of overcoming the challenges in these sectors.In recognition of the above, the Ethiopian Government has identified biotechnology as a key science that requires special attention and support to maintain the rapid tempo of economic growth that Ethiopia is registering. In response to this policy priority, Addis Ababa University (AAU) established the Institute of Biotechnology (IoB) in 2012 with a mandate for research and MSc & PhD education. However, the current human resource profile of the Institute is not adequate to independently meet the teaching and research demands of its envisaged plan.To contribute to strengthening its research and teaching capabilities, IoB has developed this research project entitled “Application of Biotechnology for Environmentally Safe and Sustainable Food Security and Green Development of Ethiopia”. The project is multi-disciplinary in its approach and integrates different yet interrelated disciplines and experts from AAU and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Hence, given the nascent stage of the Institute and required state-of-the-art research facility, AAU proposes to partner with SLU, with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), to assist in this endeavor and establish long term partnership for future R&D.Therefore, the overarching objective of this multifaceted project is to integrate biotechnology applications in support of the green development priorities of Ethiopia by conducting high impact research, upgrading human research capacity and existing research infrastructure through research collaboration, skill upgrading short term training courses and “sandwich” PhD research and training between Ethiopia and Sweden. The outputs from the project will have significant contributions to the development of sustainable research networks and partnerships between IoB and SLU.

Populärvetenskaplig beskrivning

Today biotechnology is considered as the main driver of the emerging bio-economy in the world promoting sustainable green growth. Thus biotechnology proved to be very important for agricultural, industrial, health, and environmental applications. In recent years the Ethiopian government, recognizing the potential of biotechnology for the country’s sustainable development, has established biotechnology centers in a number of higher education and research institutions. However, biotechnology being knowledge- and capital-intensive discipline, many of these institutions suffers from shortage of a critical mass of trained manpower and lack the necessary laboratory facility to carry out sustained cutting edge research and training.
The Institute of Biotechnology (IoB) at AAU is the main institution mandated by the government to train the required manpower for all biotechnology departments and institutes throughout the country and play a leading role in carry out cutting edge research to address the country’s major development challenges. But IoB at AAU, though relatively well staffed and is based on decades of experience starting from the former Department of Biology at AAU, is not still fully self sufficient to meet these challenges. Therefore, it is important to form partnerships and collaborations with well-established institutions, such as SLU.
Development of a sustainable bio-economy that promotes green growth mainly depends on sustainable use of the available biodiversity using modern biotechnological techniques. Therefore, plant, animal, and microbial biodiversity are the main driving forces of the modern bio-economy that serve as a source of new products and services. Ethiopia as Vavilonian gene center of crop diversity is endowed with an enormous biodiversity that can serve as a platform to establish a successful bio-economy. Above all, Ethiopia has an extremely unique microbial diversity, many of them found in extreme habits, not found anywhere else in the world.
The first objective of this project is to train Ethiopian students at PhD and MSc level in modern biotechnology and to develop capacity for research. The project will be a collaborative effort between SLU from Sweden and AAU from Ethiopia and aims at utilizing the country’s biological resources to develop novel products and services. In the project’s life span it is planned to train a total of 19 PhD and 30 MSc students from Ethiopia in modern biotechnology. Students will carry out their research in a sandwich mode and will be jointly supervised by staff from both partner Universities. A total six subprojects encompassing agricultural, industrial, health, and environmental biotechnology were identified. Under each subproject specific PhD research project titles are identified. Under each subproject PhD students will employ cutting edge biotechnology tools to address their specific topics.
Kort titelSIDA
Gällande start-/slutdatum2018/12/012023/12/31