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Royal Society of Chemistry partners GSK on Africa odyssey

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The Royal Society of Chemistry has launched a five-year partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to enhance the capabilities of African scientists in modern analytical skills.

The chemistry community and the science-led healthcare company will build on a training programme currently run by volunteers. The partnership will enable the Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN) to roll out training in Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana.

The PACN was established in 2008 by the Royal Society of Chemistry and African scientists to provide support for researchers across sub-Saharan Africa. As part of this, the network launched its own training programme in Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) – a widely used, modern analytical technique. The programme has trained more than 100 African scientists over five years, who have gone on to publish more than 20 articles in scientific journals.

The expanded programme will up skill and empower African scientists developing their practical analytical techniques to solve global challenges. It aims to train local chemists to train others – leaving a self-sustaining programme and lasting legacy in African science.

Stephen Hawthorne, deputy chief executive at the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: 'We are very pleased to launch this new partnership with GSK, an organisation which shares our long-term commitment to Africa.

'Their global expertise in this critical area of analytical chemistry will help address the needs of African scientists and combat local challenges, such as measuring contaminants in drinking water and identifying counterfeit medicines.

'The programme will also help support and nurture a future generation of African scientists and create opportunities for international research collaborations.'

The programme will train more than 400 scientists across four countries over the next five years.