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The 11th edition of the Scientific Convocation was held on March 21, 2024 at the campus of the National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM). The event was chaired by the Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation, Dr Madeleine TCHUINTE, flanked by the Secretary General, central administration officials and the Directors General of institutes supervised by MINRESI. This year’s theme was “Scientific and Technical Cooperation as a Strategic Tool for Cameroon’s Socio-Economic Development”.

The Scientific Convocation was instituted in 2013 by the Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation (MINRESI), and has now become one of its major events. The idea behind this event is to enhance and celebrate research as a profession. Just as in previous editions, researchers from the 8 MINRESI-supervised institutes turned out in their numbers this year. They were grouped according to their grades as follows: Research Assistants, Research Officers, Senior Research Officers, Chief research officers who participated in the grand parade. This was followed by an official ceremony featuring the inaugural lecture and scientific honours.

Inaugural lecture

The inaugural lecture of this 11th edition was delivered by Dr BEYALA ATEBA Jean Félix, Senior Research Officer at the National Radiation Protection Agency (ANRP), on the theme: “Scientific and Technical Cooperation as a Strategic Tool for Cameroon’s Socio-Economic Development”. He explained that scientific thinking is an open-access resource that can be harnessed to obtain high-value products. Such thoughts are the basis for cooperation, especially scientific and technical cooperation.

Dr BEYALA lauded various results obtained by MINRESI- supervised institutes thanks to the scientific and technical cooperation between Cameroon and several countries and institutions around the world. Lastly, he pointed out the disadvantages of this scientific cooperation, namely: brain drain, risks associated with foreign funded cooperation, and free access to strategic data on national resources.

Scientific honours

This year’s edition featured an eminent researcher who was celebrated and honoured as the Scientific Convocation tradition demands. The honouree was Dr NDI Christopher, Chief Research Officer, born on 27 August 1954 in Bambui, Bamenda. He was recruited as a Research Assistant on 5 September 1985 at the then Zootechnical Research Institute (IRZ) and posted to the WakwaZootechnical Research Centre near Ngaoundéré in the Adamawa Region. He was upgraded to Research Officer in 1993 and to Senior Research Officer in 1997 and eventually became Chief Research Officer in 2006.

His extensive experience on animal research led to his appointment as National Scientific Coordinator for Animal and Fisheries Production at the head office of the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), Yaounde from 2006 to 2012.

In his capacity as an international consultant on animal health/animal production since 2011, he has also participated in several capacity-building training workshops sponsored at national and international levels by theFAO, AfDB, the World Bank, the African Union Commission and many other funding agencies. His main research areas of interest have been animal health, animal production and livestock breeding.

He was awarded a scientific role of honour by the Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation in recognition of his significant contribution towards furthering science in general and developing national research in particular.

Furthermore, the Minister paid tribute to two internationally recognised researchers. These included two ladies: Dr FANTA YADAM Sabine and Ms HADIDJATOU DAIROU who received the l’OREAL-UNESCO 2023 International Prize. Both researchers were recognised for their research on the use of medicinal plants in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

This event was punctuated by the presence of several special guests of the Minister, flanked by central administrative officials from the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation. Heads of MINRESI-supervised Institutes and Regional Centres for Research and Innovation (CRRI) also took part in the event.