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1st Research Management Workshop for Departmental Chairs

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On Friday 9th August 2019, the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-DVCAA in collaboration with the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) held the first workshop for Department Chairs under the theme “Building Institutional Capacity for Faculty Researcher Development, Funding and Management of Sponsored Research”. Held at the Grand Global Hotel in Makerere the workshop brought together Chairs from the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS), College of Education and External Studies, College of Health Sciences (CHS) and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS). This workshop was the second in the series of trainings supported by IREX's University Administration Support Program funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Welcoming participants to the workshop, the DVCAA Dr. Umar Kakumba shared that any university that thrives as a Centre of Excellence in Research must earmark the mechanisms that enhance the generation and dissemination of knowledge.

The DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (Standing) flanked by L-R: Dr. David Owiny, the Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and Director DRGT-Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi

“As we all know; research is not quick yielding. Returns can take upwards of two to three or even five years. Research is also competitive. We must compete for funding from various calls. We therefore need these interactions to evolve a symbiotic relationship, share experiences and mechanisms of building robust research practices and other academic endeavours,” remarked the DVCAA.

Dr. Kakumba further shared that effective management of funded research is no longer only about the science. He therefore urged academic leaders to build the requisite skills in budgeting for research, writing winning research proposals, grants management, among others.

Delivering the keynote address on The 21st Century Research University: Trends and Experiences, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked Dr. Kakumba for taking on the role of DVCAA with the energy and enthusiasm required to propel Makerere University to the top of the research-intensive Universities’ leaderboard.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe delivers the keynote address at the 1st Research Management Workshop for Department Chairs

“We have a goal of becoming the top research-intensive university in Africa. Malaysia has in its Vision 2020 the objective of becoming an industrialised and developed nation by 2020 courtesy of the five out of its twenty Public Universities designated as Research Universities,” noted the Vice Chancellor, outlining Makerere University’s crucial role in Uganda’s development pathway.

Prof. Nawangwe added that Makerere’s high quality staff is one of the reasons the University is able to compete favourably in terms of research output with other Universities that have more resources. This quality staff, he shared, has among other achievements attracted two World Bank funded African Centres of Excellence in Materials, Product Development and Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO) and Crop Improvement (MaRCCI).

Some of the Participants: L-R:  Dr. S.Nannyonga Tamusuza, Dr. Fredrick Muyodi, Dr. Eddy Walakira, Prof. Peter Atekyereza and Mr. Anguyo Dralega

“MaRCCI is already producing results in crop improvements of indigenous food crops such as cowpeas sorghum. The breeding programmes have so far developed a high yielding sorghum line capable of producing up to ten times the yield of indigenous lines” explained the Vice Chancellor.

This, he noted would go a long way in improving food security and increase household incomes as Uganda’s population continues to grow rapidly, which is in line with the National Development Agenda.

The Director DRGT, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi in his presentation on Research Governance & Organisational Capacity: Role of Central Research Office/Directorate expressed his conviction that Chairs of Departments are the epicenter of research activity in the University, by virtue of their being immediate supervisors and coordinators of all academic work in colleges.

The Director DRGT, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi presented on the Role of a Central Research Office/Directorate

“Heads of Department are therefore focal resource persons in building a sustainable research culture and research management systems to enhance the value proposition for quality and relevant research output at Makerere University” added Prof. Buyinza.

The Director further noted that there was a logical link between Research Governance and Research Output. As a way forward he proposed the need strengthen DRGT through the creation of additional divisions especially one in charge of Research Performance.

Dr. Sarah Ssali (Right) and other participants listen to proceedings during the 1st Research Management Workshop for Department Chairs

The presentations that followed were dedicated to: Effective Research Leadership; Research and Researcher Career Development; Funding Research; Managing Research Grants; and Knowledge Transfer Innovations. The Sessions were chaired by Dr. David Owiny, Dr. Sarah Ssali, Dr. Fredrick Muyodi, Prof. John Muyonga and Dr. Robert Wamala respectively.

Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) while delivering the presentation on Effective Research Leadership for a Research-led University noted that Chairs, by starting with the resources and structures they have now, could achieve a lot in terms of setting the pace for their Departments in the short, medium and long term.

“What goals do we have at Department, School and College level? Are these known by the people? What direction are we giving the staff we lead? Money is important and some people put money first, but I put people first. Invest in the people and good people will bring in the money” she both questioned and counseled.

The Dean MakSPH-Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze broke down Effective Research Leadership

She urged the Chairs to always be the leaders they desire to see. “Leadership is the key ingredient and it’s not at the top; it is at all levels. You cannot take people where you as a leader have not been. If it is writing, write; if it is putting in the extra time, do it; if it is winning grants, win them and then the people will be inspired to do the same.”

The online Oxford dictionary definition of an Incentive is a thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something or a payment or concession to stimulate greater output or investment. Presenting on Incentivising Research and Researcher Career Development, Prof. Tonny Oyana the Principal, College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) noted that whereas many African countries focus on the number of PhDs produced, in the case of research, they only make a difference if they are of high quality.

The Principal CoCIS, Prof. Tonny Oyana challenged Department Chairs to develop talent lists

He further noted that whereas Researcher Career Development in Africa mostly starts at Masters level, Universities top tier research universities start nurturing talent as early as Secondary level. “When we admit top talents, let us streamline them. We should grow and nurture those talents in line with research interests. The US and South Korea have done it; we should also do it.”

Prof. Oyana called for the need to teach research as an organizational skill at higher education institutions and challenged Department Chairs to come up with talent lists of their academic units. These, he noted, would help to profile each lecturer’s research interests and use the amalgamated results establish research priorities at Department, School and College level.

“Thanks to establishing an effective grants management system, the School of Public Health manages a throughput of between US$ 29 to 33million annually. Academic Units should deliberately grow their grants capacity” remarked Dr. Roy William Mayega as he began his presentation on Establishing and Managing Research Grants: Perspectives and Prospects.

MakSPH's Dr. Roy William Mayega took participants through the Grants Management Cycle

Dr. Mayega also shared that there has been a deliberate effort by MakSPH Leadership and Staff to search and apply for grants and funding opportunity announcement (FOA) notices as listed in GRANTS.gov; a U.S. Federal Government website that lets organisations from around the world apply for over 1,000 grants programs. He urged colleagues to also regularly look out for Annual Program Statement (APS) releases by USAID through the various country missions.

He tipped the Chairs on the need to incorporate monthly management meetings as good practice of the Grants Management Cycle, and urged his audience to always conduct due diligence on all collaborators to avoid bringing disrepute to the funding agency or host institution. Sustainability of the project after the funding cycle was another aspect that he emphasized ought to be included in the grant application. “Our funders like to see sustainability captured by the applicant.”

Dr. Charles Masembe from CoNAS shared his experience as Principal Investigator of the 3year ASF-RESIST AU-funded Project

Research Funding and Building Functional Research Networks was the next presentation to the Chairs by Dr. Charles Masembe from the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), and Principal Investigator of a three year US$1.2m African Union (AU) Grant to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Africa. Walking Chairs through his grant application and award process, he noted that academics ought to look at research as a business whose growth thrives on networking.

He urged colleagues who were starting out to opt for associate partner positions in grants so as to gain experience. Touching on the writing process, he admitted that it was hard for academics to subject their applications to scrutiny by a third party but noted that this was very important. “Get a neutral person to read through your application and trust them to point out areas of improvement. This will be important in improving your line of thought.”

Dr. Maureen Mayanja made the final presentation of the day on Knowledge Transfer, Innovations Development and Partnerships: Lessons from Leading Universities. She touched on the importance of establishing a one-stop centre for Knowledge Transfer at Makerere University because “structured systems ensure that information is shared university wide and immediate feedback on the data collected is disseminated to the communities that participated in the project.”

Dr. Maureen Mayanja from CoVAB discussed the importance of a one-stop centre for Knowledge Transfer and university-based partnerships for multidisciplinary research

Presenting lessons on evaluating knowledge sharing from Michigan State University (MSU), Dr. Mayanja noted that the institution had come up with two vehicles; MSU Extension and MSU Technologies, to take their vast knowledge resources directly to the community and support commercialization of academic research respectively.  

Using MSU Extension’s various positions and ranks, Dr. Mayanja emphasized the need to introduce Parallel Growth Structures, that allow staff to invest their efforts where their passions belong, without fear of being penalized. “A member of staff who is passionate about the extension system can grow from the rank of Program leader to Senior Program Leader, Extension specialist, Senior Extension Specialist, Extension Educator, Senior Extension Educator, Associate Program Leader and all the way to District Director Extension”

She also called for the need to Makerere to establish university-based partnerships for multidisciplinary research as vehicles that can attract funding from development partners and the industry.

Article by Public Relations Office

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted.   President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.

President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims. 

Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.

By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.  

The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.

Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.

Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.

Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.

The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.

The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.  

At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.

“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.

On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.

“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.

Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.  

She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.   

Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.

She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.  

On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”

At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.

She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.

“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.

Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.

Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.

He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”

Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.

Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”

Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.

“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.

The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”

She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.   

The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25.  For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.

Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.

Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY

Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG

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