Afrique One
Building Pan African Research Capacity in One Health

Afrique One
Building Pan African Research Capacity in One Health

Promoting Research Careers Among Young Africans: The Fantastic Journey of Francis Sena Nuvey

This story is about the research career of a young African named Francis Sena Nuvey.

I remember the first time I met Francis Sena Nuvey. It was in Grand Bassam in May 2017 during the kick-off meeting of the Thematic Training Programme (TTP) on Foodborne diseases of the Afrique One-African Science Partnership for Intervention Research Excellence (ASPIRE) programme.

During this event, the leaders of this research group presented the group’s objectives and research questions. The TTP principal investigators also set themselves the task of familiarising the fellows recruited with the One Health approach and coaching them in the development of their research projects. Francis was very attentive. However, the expression on his face showed that he was very concerned.

From professional nurse…

“Francis is a nurse by profession. He wanted to do a degree in epidemiology. That’s why he applied for the Afrique One-ASPIRE programme. He was disconnected from research for quite a while, but the most difficult thing was that Francis wanted to do work in mental health, while he was in a research group focusing on foodborne diseases,” said Dr Katharina Kreppel, Training coordinator at Afrique One from 2016 to 2023.

“It was not easy but I was encouraged by the idea of the programme to bring different disciplinary perspectives together to address important health issue at the human-animal-environment interface. Also, I was very curious to learn from the experiences of the people in the research group. I was reassured that I would not struggle to meet the goal of my specific project when the strategy, coaching and mentoring plan was presented to us.”, said Francis.

It wasn’t easy for him, but in the end, he succeeded in designing his research project.

“With the coaching we gave him, Francis was able to formulate his research project. He decided to work on factors leading to livestock losses and its influence on the psychosocial wellbeing of livestock armers in two districts in Ghana. We are proud of the work he has done”, said Prof Bassirou Bonfoh, Director of Afrique One.

…to promising scientist

Francis Sena Nuvey Kwaku Afrique One

In six years (2017 – 2023), Francis defended his Master’s degree in Ghana and his PhD thesis in Switzerland. In 2024, he was recruited as a postdoc under the new phase of Afrique One called Afrique One-Research Excellence for African Challenge in Health (REACH) along a postdoc in Germany.

“Afrique One and other DELTAS consortia have been invaluable to me. Afrique One has made me a fulfilled researcher. Afrique One provided me with high-quality scientific support, hard and soft skills, advice and funding to do high-quality research and have a good family and professional balance. I got married in 2020 and have 2 children.”

12, is the number of publications Francis obtained during the period of his grant. He also obtained additional funding worth over €75,000. “I also won 4 awards. The one at the One Health Congress in 2022 is the one I’m most proud of.”

“The courage of Francis is to be commended. It shows how important investment in research and the promotion of young researchers is in bridging the knowledge gap in Africa. We are grateful to the Science for Africa Foundation and the Wellcome Trust for their funding, which has enabled us to produce quality young African researchers in one Health like Francis,” said Prof Bonfoh.

From 2009 to 2023, Afrique One trained more than one hundred researchers (Masters, PhD and Postdoc). Some are working in institutions and making a major contribution to improving healthcare systems. Others, like Francis, are pursuing a career in research.

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