CREATING EQUAL ACCESS TO ADVANCES IN COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABLE HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT
To tackle intractable global challenges of African developing countries by means of both inter- and multi-disciplinary research that leads to the development and deployment of innovative sustainable and scalable computational solutions to these problems.
The Institute capitalises on a decade long partnership between UCL Computer Science and the College of Medicine of the University of Ibadan (COMUI) with a joint vision to positively impinge on areas related to social well-being, educational advancement, capacity building and economic growth in the African region. The University of Ibadan is the oldest and most prestigious academic institution in the region established in 1948 as a College of the University of London, becoming independent in 1962. It consists of 11 Faculties and the College of Medicine (COMUI) which has its own Provost (the Provost acting on behalf of the VC of UI). Historical and current strong academic links between UI and UCL emphasise the importance of the scope and breadth of the Centre evidenced, over the last decade, by peer-reviewed academic outputs between UCL and COMUI.
Currently, low- and low-to-middle income African countries face critical developmental challenges ranging from poor child and maternal health (the largest and more vulnerable populations); poor adult health and well being (as life-expectancy has increased in large urban centres); rampant extreme poverty and inequality; nutritional and educational attainment stagnation; lack of access to financial services; among others as highlighted by the UN Global Goals.
Over the last few decades, computational science in developed regions of the World has been playing a prominent role on improving and sustaining healthcare and wellbeing, biomedical research, education, social inclusion among other examples. Computational approaches have proven to be well-suited to provide solutions across different domains that have a direct impact on societal challenges. Examples such as: computer-based intelligent systems for clinical diagnosis (e.g. malaria diagnosis ), improving clinical decision support (e.g. epilepsy ), adaptable and cost-effective computing solutions to increase children school attendance and attainment; intelligent assistive mobile-phone based solutions (e.g. to tackle hearing impairment ), smart-cities, data-driven policy making , distributed ledger blockchain systems to enable banking of populations under extreme poverty , digital identities and access to the digital economy , among many others are thought to be critical to achieve sustainability in developing nations. The remit of the Institute is to bring these advances, and their positive transformative potential, into the constrained scenarios that hinder the development of large African populations. Conversely, innovative interdisciplinary solutions to these intractable challenges have significant potential to impact directly or indirectly on the health and wellbeing of people Worldwide.
Crossing Disciplines and Boundaries
UCL-CS has a strong inter-disciplinary and ground-breaking research portfolio with co-Investigators at COMUI. UCL-CS and COMUI have recently secured two priming (£100K each) and two large three-years long EPSRC GCRF awards (£2.5 millions) expected to run to 2021. The ongoing research breadth and depth is evidence of academic critical mass and regional footprint to attract further funding to realise the vision of the proposed Institute. Its location, academic excellence and current engagement with UCL makes the University of Ibadan (UI) an extraordinary choice to host such a regional centre of excellence that will underpin the success of south-to-south partnerships with other academic institutions, industry, NGOs, charities and Governments across the African region. Similarly, the centre will further UCL’s international leadership in cutting-edge computational science and engineering to tackle global health intractable challenges and it is aligned with UCL Human Global Development strategies and ethos.