The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) has opened a partner institute in Rwanda to help raise the quality of science research and education in Africa.
The ICTP-East African Institute for Fundamental Research (ICTP-EAIFR), based at the University of Rwanda in Kigali, will offer the same quality research and educational opportunities for which the Trieste-based ICTP is world-renowned, but at a location more easily accessible to African scientists. It has been designated a UNESCO Category 2 institute in recognition of its important role in building scientific capacity in Africa.
The ICTP-EAIFR formal inauguration ceremony was held in Kigali on 18 October 2018.
Photos of the ceremony are available on ICTP's Flickr page.
It was the capstone to a week of science and career events held at the new centre. These included a conference to revive the African Physical Society as well as pay tribute to the Society's founding father, the late Francis Allotey. In addition, ICTP-EAIFR held a career workshop for women in science organized by the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).
Rwanda's policy of advancement through science makes it the natural location to host a world-class physics centre that aims to become the most important physics institute in Africa.
Initially, ICTP-EAIFR's research programme will include explorations in condensed matter physics, physics of the solid earth, and high energy, cosmology and astroparticle physics. The internationally recruited staff scientists are experts in their fields committed to building sustainable science in Africa.
In addition, ICTP-EAIFR will offer quality education opportunities leading to masters and PhD degrees in physics. Scientists who are more advanced in their careers can keep up to date with the latest research advances by attending the institute's short-term schools and workshops that will be on par with the quality ones held at ICTP in Trieste.
"From its inception, ICTP has been committed to building sustainable science throughout the world, and especially in disadvantaged countries," said ICTP Director Fernando Quevedo, adding, "Thanks to generous support from the government of Rwanda, ICTP's new partner institute will ensure that scientists in Africa have access to the same research and education opportunities as those living in more advantaged parts of the world."
ICTP is the leading global institution with a dual mission of supporting excellent scientific research as well as building scientific capacity in developing countries. ICTP-EAIFR Director Omololu Akin-Ojo underscored the importance of ICTP-EAIFR as an African research hub. "We aim to facilitate regional collaboration, communication, and education, through activities that are exactly in line with ICTP's own goals," he said.
ICTP has been helping to create other institutes, such as the ICTP-South American Institute for Fundamental Research in Brazil and the Mesoamerican Centre for Theoretical Physics in Mexico (in process). It will soon open a new UNESCO category 2 institute, ICTP-Asia Pacific, in China.