3 Kenyans are part of 16 Finalists in Africa’s $25,000 The Next Einstein Forum


PHOTO | Clement Tardif

3 Kenyans have been announced as finalists in The Next Einstein Forum (NEF), an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Donatus Njoroge, Dickson Ayuka and Magondu Wairimu will represent the country alongside the other top 16 finalists for the second edition of the Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) innovation competition which will take place at the NEF Global Gathering 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda next week from 26th to 28th March 2018.

The finalists, young scientists and entrepreneurs, will compete to win the top prize in three categories: Data Science and Deep Tech Innovations, Personalized Health Innovations and Climate Smart Innovations.

“The NEF Ci2i challenge rewards research based innovations and products that have a direct impact on our communities. The selected finalists’ innovations address climate change, various health challenges and push the envelope by proposing new data science or advanced (deep tech) technologies,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Founder and Chair of Next Einstein Forum.

Magondu Wairimu is the sole Kenyan representative in the ‘Deep Tech Solutions’ category. She is the Project Manager at eLimu which created a literacy app, Hadithi Hadithi, geared for 6 – 8 year olds with stories written in local languages from Kenya, Uganda, Somalia and South Sudan. The app covers the curriculum and each story has sentence making, spelling and letter tracing games, and follows the scientifically proven Reading to Learn pedagogy.

Donatus and Dickson are both competing the ‘Climate Smart Innovations’ category: Donatus’ innovation “Molepse Bio resource oil/powder” is both a repellent and toxic to all major post-harvest pests. The product is formulated from essential oils of different plant species that are available locally. His product is a plant-derived bio-pesticide that helps curb post-harvest losses of all grains and seeks to enable farmers reduce pest infestation and take control of health issues associated with synthetic pesticides.

Dickson on the other hand is the co-founder of UjuziKilimo Solutions that collects and analyzes farm data using sensors, GPS, satellite and mini weather stations to help farmers and agricultural stakeholders make precise decisions. The UjuziKit is a GPS and internet enabled device with sensors that is installed in farms to monitor the levels of nutrients, weather, soil PH and moisture content which directs water, lime and fertilizer nutrient application rates based on the local requirements.

The NEF received 133 applications from which the top 16 selected will pitch their innovations in three categories to judges for three to four minutes each, focusing on impact and scalability. The final two in each category will then present in plenary on the 28th of March and the winner thereafter announced live at the closing ceremony of the NEF Global Gathering 2018.

“With its focus on research-based innovations, Ci2i will help to surface important issues impacting families and communities in Africa,” said Josh Ghaim, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. “We look forward to engaging with the continent’s next generation of entrepreneurs and scientists, helping advance their innovative ideas and bringing meaningful, transformational solutions to patients and consumers on the continent as well as around the world.”

Each category winner will receive a $25,000 prize in each category. Judges include leaders from Johnson & Johnson, Elsevier, Rwanda Biomedical Center, Hello Tomorrow, Carnegie Mellon University, IBM Africa, and the African Development Bank.

The other Top 16 Ci2i Finalists in each category are as follows:

For ‘Climate Smart Innovations’,Isaac Brenya (Ghana), Rachel Sibande (Malawi), Isaac Sesi (Ghana) and Dr. Lahbib Latrach (Morocco) are in competition. Other ‘Deep Tech Solutions’ finalists are: Abdoulaye Diallo (Guineau), Davy Uwizera (Rwanda), Oday Samad (South Africa), Tobi Dwoeye (Nigeria). Under ‘Personalized Health’, finalists are: Conrad Tankou (Cameroon), Joel Gasana (Rwanda), Emmanuel Owoebu (Nigeria), Muranyandzi Rushambwa (Zimbabwe), Daniel Nyabdza (Zimbabwe)

Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.

Kevin Oyugi
He's a writer based in Nairobi and ardent about Architecture, Urban Lifestyle, Cuisine, Luxury, Travel, History, Film, Music and the Future. Interact with him by sharing your views and sentiments on Twitter and by Email.

3 Kenyans are part of 16 Finalists in Africa’s $25,000 The Next Einstein Forum

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