UCLA is creating the first permanent international research and training center(IRTC) in the Congo Basin, offering a coordinated response to five pressing, interconnected problems:
lack of research and training opportunities for the next generation of African scientists
threats of climate change
accelerating environmental devastation
burden of human disease and poverty
gross inefficiency and lack of coordination of current research programs
The IRTC will be a “game-changer” for human health, the environment, higher education, and development in Central Africa.
Why a research center?
A regional research hub in Central Africa will be able to respond quickly and find practical solutions to critical problems.
Collaborative research better informs scientists and policymakers.
A base is needed for international researchers to establish productive long-term collaborations with African researchers.
A fully equipped research facility will assist African researchers in being productive scientists.
Central Africa desperately needs a new generation of experts to solve critical problems related to health and the environment.
Full participation of African institutions of higher learning is needed to bolster higher education and strengthen science.
Regional health promotion and disease prevention training programs are urgently needed, as well as training for lay community health workers.
Why the Congo Basin?
Lowest per capita income and highest disease burden in the world
Limited public health infrastructure leading to crippling pandemics such as HIV/AIDS
Alarming rates of deforestation
Predicted to be the region most severely affected by climate change
Approximately 480 million people will face severe water scarcity by 2025
Why have others failed?
The majority of research and higher education aid programs have been short-term.
Many African researchers give up trying to conduct research or leave the region permanently for careers in the developed world.
Effective solutions require that health and environmental specialists work together; previous aid programs have lacked integration across disciplines.
UCLA’s leadership role
By leveraging the resources of the largest university system in the world, the University of California, the IRTC will introduce to the region a critical mass of scientists and policy experts with significant expertise and experience. The IRTC will capitalize on decades of extensive research and training in collaboration with UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Global Bio Lab, Center for Tropical Research, School of Public Health, David Geffen School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, James S. Coleman African Studies Center, and many other departments.
No other university system or non-governmental organization has such a well-established track record in Central Africa or such a great capacity for long-term collaborative research and training in health, environmental, and social sciences.