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Press Release

Merck Foundation Announced Winners of Best African Women Researchers and Young African Researchers Awards of Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit– (MARS Awards) 2021

​Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, conducted the Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit – MARS 2021 Awards ceremony, in partnership with the African Union, through videoconference to felicitate the 13 winners from 8 African countries, for their valuable research work and contribution to empowering women and youth in STEM.
On the occasion, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chairperson of MARS Summit expressed “I am very proud of all 13 winners who have been recognized under the 3 categories of ‘Best African Women Researchers Award’, ‘Best Young African Researcher Award’, ‘Best Young African Researcher Special Awards’ for their valuable contribution, especially by African Female Scientists who are under presented in this field. Through Merck Foundation African Research Summit – MARS Awards, we aim to empower African young researchers & women researchers, advancing their research capacity and promote their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).”
The award ceremony was also attended by Dr. Ahmed Hamdy, Executive Director, African Union – Scientific, Technical and Research Commission; Prof. Andrew Kambugu, The Sande-McKinnell Executive Director at the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda, and Prof. Elijah Songkok, Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases College of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Kenya.Dr. Ahmed Hamdy, Executive Director, African Union – Scientific, Technical and Research Commission, emphasized, “I congratulate all the worthy winners of MARS Awards 2021. This is a very valuable platform for African women and young African researchers who are engaged and interested in health research.”
The winners of ‘Best African women Researchers Award’ and ‘Best Young African Researcher Award’ category will be enrolled into research training at a premier research institute in India.
“I am also excited to announce the Call for Applications for our prestigious Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit (MARS) Awards 2022. ‘The Role of Scientific Research in responding to Cancer and Vaccines Development – Two emerging challenges in Africa’ will be the key focus of this year. Eventually, through this contest, Merck Foundation aims to empower young African researchers & women researchers to strengthen the important role research plays towards contributing to public health thus improving healthcare capacity in Africa,” added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

The MARS 2021 Award Winners are;

Winners of “MARS Best African Women Researchers Awards”


Regina Wachuka Mbugua, KENYA
Temitope Adeyemo, NIGERIA
Ebele Onuigbo, NIGERIA
Beatrice Mukami Muriuki, KENYA
Njua Clarisse, CAMEROON

 Winners of “MARS Best Young African Researchers Awards”


Touwendpoulimde Isabelle Kiendrebeogo, BURKINA FASO
Jude Ogechukwu Okoye, NIGERIA

 Winners of “MARS Best Young African Researchers Special Awards”


Jean Claude Djontu, CAMEROON
Okedi Francis Xaviour, UGANDA
Marceline Djuidje Ngounoue, CAMEROON
Oppah Kuguyo, ZIMBABWE

 Details for MARS AWARDS 2022Abstracts are invited from final year African PhD students and young investigators involved in research related to either of the following topics: 1) Cancer (specially in women) & 2) Vaccines Development. The applicants should be primarily based at African Research Institutes and Universities, although collaboration within Africa as well as outside is encouraged.

Last Date of Submission:
Applications can be submitted till 31st July 2022
 How to apply:
Applications can be submitted via email to [email protected] along with a CV (including Name, Gender, Country, University/Hospital Name, Email address, Mobile Number) and the abstract document as an attachment.
 Other Details:

All Abstracts will be peer reviewed, and 15 winners will be eligible for a sponsorship to attend MARS Summit
Best three Abstracts will be eligible for Research Awards
Research Awards will be also dedicated for Best African Women Researchers


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