Thanks to N2Africa Uganda

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A PhD student from Warwick, after hearing Ken Giller talk about N2Africa at her University, opted for a 10 day research placement within N2Africa and was given the opportunity to visit N2Africa Uganda. After her return she wrote:

Dear Ken,

I returned from Uganda this week. I must say I have been amazed by the work that is done there! It is an incredible idea and the science communication is excellent! The team of N2AFRICA seems to be very carefully chosen. Inspiring, strong people that love their job and they taught me a lot.

Peter Ebanyat managed to create a great schedule for me so I get an experience of almost everything. I visited Makerere university to see how they isolate and study rhizobia strains, as well as how they make the inoculants. I learned about the financial and technical management of the project, about businesses and markets. I met some of the partners (Africa 2000 Network (A2N) and Agency for Sustainable Rural Transformation (AFSRT)), I attended a post harvesting training and visited farmer groups in different phases at the west and northern Uganda for swot analysis. I had the opportunity to talk with them and ask about the challenges but also their opinion of the project. They knew about rhizobia and they were asking me questions! There has been a big change of mindsets and a change of lives for so many people. They were asking for new technologies and linkages to better inputs or reliable banks so they can get loans or even bigger markets that they can access because they have enough production! They want to grow and keep improving. It is really amazing to see and really inspiring. The work that is done there gives a great value to my job!

Thinking as a scientist, the experimental design is very smart and the data you will get back are valuable. I would really love to analyse the microbiome of the soil and the plant root before and after each demo, with the different parameters, it would be a treasure for microbiome research since the experimental design is already there! It could give massive information about the microbial dynamics and how they are influenced by the different parameters, but also what is their impact on the plant and its performance. It is certainly something to think for the future.

Furthermore the interaction with the farmers, the people from IITA and Makerere changed completely the way I am thinking about my research. I learned a lot about agriculture, applied science and what really needs to be done for the field. I got many new ideas for my current research but also for my future career.
Overall it has been an unforgettable experience, it inspired me as a person and as a scientist. I cannot thank you enough for giving me this opportunity! I am sure I will go back to Africa and I would love to do some research there, but also I hope I will get the chance to work with you again.

Thank you very much,

Chrysi Sergaki, PhD student, Patrick Schäfer group, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, funded by NERC funded (Natural Environment Research Council)