IBM has announced the opening of its first IBM Research lab on the African continent in Nairobi, Kenya. The initiative is a collaboration between the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) through the Kenya ICT Board.
The lab will conduct basic and applied research focused on solving problems relevant to Africa and contribute to the building of a science and technology base for the continent.
“IBM’s commitment to undertake the proposed research agenda will contribute greatly to our national priorities as part of Kenya’s Vision 2030,” said His Excellency Honorable Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya.
“We look forward to delivering world-class research and innovation as part of IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative and playing an important role as an IT leader on the African continent.”
“IBM continues to expand its operations in key growth markets and we plan to lead the way by bringing Africa into our global network of IBM Research laboratories,” said Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president and director of IBM Research.
“We plan to work closely with leading African scientists and engineers from academia, government and industry to address some of their most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities.”
Operations at IBM Research – Africa will commence immediately. Expansion into other parts of Africa may be considered in a second phase.
“In today’s world, innovation is the main lever for a competitive national economy, is a source of employment, and has the potential to improve lives,” said Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology. “The IBM research lab, will not only rubber stamp Kenya as Africa’s leader in ICT, but will help the country to transform into a knowledge based economy.”
The new lab will establish a Resident Scientist Program, an international recruitment program to reach Kenyan and other African applicants. The program will aim to attract top R&D talent to work side-by-side with IBM researchers in the lab.
The Resident Scientist candidates will be pre- and post-doctoral researchers including scientists and researchers from academia, government and industry. The Resident Scientists will begin with a one-year tenure with options for this to be extended.
Resident Scientists will be integrated into the IBM Research – Africa lab as well as IBM’s global network of labs. Each Resident Scientist can collaborate with IBM researchers throughout IBM’s global network of laboratories as they carry out their research.