Date of release: Friday, November 28, 2014

Pictured from left: Jack Dee, Professor Andrew Westby (Director of NRI), Professor Kolawole Adebayo the Project Manager, Smita Jamdar (Partner & Head of Education, SGH Martineau).A project which has transformed lives in Africa has won the University of Greenwich a prestigious Times Higher Education Award.

The prize, for International Collaboration of the Year, was presented to the university at a gala awards ceremony in London last night (27 November).

The award was for the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA) project, led by the university’s Natural Resources Institute and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project has strengthened the capacity of national and local organisations and individuals to transform perishable roots of the cassava crop into a high-quality flour that has multiple uses, and can replace imported wheat flour or cornstarch. Involving a partnership of more than 200 organisations in Africa, C:AVA is helping to boost the livelihoods of tens of thousands of smallholder farming families.

Joanna Newman, vice-principal (international) of King’s College, London, and among the awards judges, said Greenwich had given a “very clear lead” to a “complex web” of international partners. “This project was very impressive for its scale, transforming the livelihoods of 90,000 subsistence farmers,” she said. “It was truly an international collaboration.”

With its latest win, the university now has nine Times Higher Education Awards, as well as three Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher & Further Education. Earlier this year Greenwich also won a Guardian University Award for Research Impact.

Professor Tom Barnes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research & Enterprise at Greenwich, congratulated all those involved in the prize-winning project. “At Greenwich we are proud of the fact that our research not only has a big impact in the UK, but also extends to many other parts of the world. It helps to bring together significant partnerships which change lives, bringing clear and long-term benefits for all,” he says.

“Our latest award is also a tremendous tribute to the hard work, dedication and world-class expertise of our staff at the Natural Resources Institute.”

C:AVA is a collaboration between the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and a wide range of organisations in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi. These include leading universities and research institutes, private sector companies, non-governmental organisations, financial institutions and government departments.

The initiative has so far supported over 90,000 farming families, 90 village processing groups and more than 50 enterprises, who last year contributed to the production of 24,000 tonnes of high quality flour.

The full list of winners can be seen on the Times Higher Education awards website:

Story by Public Relations