GBC Annual Meeting

Workshops and Special Events:


1. Sharing Your Science with Digital Storytelling

Nana Baah Pepra-Ameyaw (Correspondence:

Abstract: For many scientists, communicating research is limited to publishing in research journals and presenting at conferences. Although this approach suffices to reach the scientific community, to showcase the full potential and impact of your research and to generate interest among an even larger audience, other options for communication can be considered in the 21st century. Researchers can take advantage of the developments in technology and social networking to share ideas and promote their science. Digital storytelling employs multimedia tools to communicate to a target audience. This workshop will introduce participants to simple and effective tools for science communication. It is aimed at anyone interested in employing digital storytelling to reach a wider audience for their science.

Participants will view demonstrations of how researchers use digital storytelling to pique interest in their work in emotionally compelling ways. Participants will receive a mini-course in the processes for planning, producing and sharing their research digitally. This will involve the use of simple, freeware tools to integrate audio, video and text in innovative ways to tell a story. Selecting appropriate distribution channels to responsibly share digital stories for intended outcomes will also be a focus for the workshop. Interested participants will be encouraged to develop compelling stories from their own work that will be reviewed by other participants. As a group, there will also be an opportunity for participants to produce a promotional video for the CoBReG. The workshop will empower African researchers to take full advantage of digital technology to effect positive change.

To see an example digital story about my own research, please go to the Food Fix blog at the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation at Michigan State University.

 Intended audience: Anyone interested in learning about or using digital storytelling to share or promote their research. No experience in using any multimedia software or devices will be required.

 Presenter Biography: Nana Baah Pepra-Ameyaw is a PhD candidate at Michigan State University, USA and currently the student representative to the CoBReG Board of Directors. If you attended GBC 2015, you will recall he contested for the Board in abstentia with a video he produced to describe his goals.

Materials provided: Each participant will receive both a paper and electronic copies of the following (1) presentation slides and handouts to be used during the lecture portions of the workshop, (2) samples of abstracts and story boards developed prior to digital production and (3) links to sample videos and resources for further development of digital storytelling skills

Rough Agenda:

The workshop is estimated to take 3 hours. It will be divided into the following sessions:

  • Session 1: Presentation on the importance of digital storytelling and scientific communication
    • Demonstration of digital story telling
    • Review of video material
  • Session 2: Planning, producing and sharing a digital presentation
    • Writing an abstract and developing a storyboard
    • Introduction to available tools and hands on demonstrations
    • Introduction to free on-line tools to share digital material
  • Session 3: (only for interested participants)
    • Planning and production of promotional video for GBC

Sessions 1 and 2 will be offered on Monday, August 1, with the final session conducted throughout the week. The promotional video will be shown at the GBC 2016 closing ceremony.

 Audio/Visual and Computer requirements: Participants will be encouraged to bring along charged laptops with internet connection and cell phones or digital cameras, although none of these will be a requirement for enrollment in the workshop. The workshop can proceed without these devices.

 Space and Enrollment restrictions: Prior registration or demonstration of interest will be required for entry into the workshop and no more than 25 participants will be enrolled. Please email to register. Registered participants will be emailed the specific times and location.

2. Basic Statistical Computing for Biologists with R

Richard Oppong (Correspondence:

Introduction: R is a free and yet powerful software for performing a myriad of data analysis tasks, which makes it a very useful statistics package especially for students who will not be able to purchase the license for sold statistics software. Thus, R is now the most widely used statistical package in biological research, and being able to use it is a core skill.

Workshop Content: This is a full day workshop aimed at introducing participants to R. We will start by looking at how to effectively organise your workflow in R (setting up the R work space; importing, exploring and graphing data). This will be followed by learning simple R codes used to perform simple statistical tests like t-tests, chi-square tests, ANOVA and simple linear regressions. We will explore the statistical thoughts behind these tests and the circumstances under which they are appropriate to use. Participants are strongly urged to bring their own data if they have.

Workshop Requirements: The workshop is primarily aimed at students, but we are keen for anyone that may have an interest to attend. Basic understanding of t-tests, chi-square tests, simple linear regression and ANOVA is a plus but not a necessity. No previous experience or familiarity with R is necessary. Bring a laptop and a laptop charger, and (if you’re feeling super organised) an extension board (not all will be able to sit close enough to a power plug to reach).

Facilitator: Richard F. Oppong graduated with a BSc. in Biochemistry from KNUST in 2011 and is currently a PhD student in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh, UK. His PhD work is in human genetics, where he looks at the genetic control of complex human traits. This involves using statistical models to attempt to quantify the genetic contribution to the phenotypic variation among human populations.

Cost: The workshop is FREE for all attendees. There will only be 25 places on this workshop so undergraduate students, graduate students, scientists and all GBC associates who think they might benefit from this workshop are encouraged to sign up as soon as they possibly can. Please email in order to register for this workshop.

Workshop Outcome: The workshop will be more like a primer to R and the organisers can’t possibly hope to turn participants into profound R programmers. But we hope to turn participants into keen R-lovers who will look to R with all their data analysis problems. So at the end of the day participants should know how to load data into R, how to write R codes, how to make plots and analyse data in R.

Date: Monday August 1st, 2016 (9AM to 5PM).  Please email to register. Registered participants will be emailed the location of the workshop.

3. Food Security Mini-Practicum

Facilitator: Mary Adjepong (Correspondence:

Abstract: Ghana’s accelerated economic growth over the past decade has helped the country achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) by halving poverty, although there is evidence of growing disparities in development and income inequality across regions. These inequalities can be seen in the rural populations with higher illiteracy rates, lack of access to improved sanitation, lower access to electricity and larger household sizes. Some of these populations are also plagued with severe land degradation coupled with limited rainfall seasons for crop cultivation. The main effect of this is food insecurity and malnutrition, clearly contributing to poor health and greater burden on Ghana’s health care system. This is because most people in these populations rely on very poor diets that comprise mainly staple foods. There is usually a vast land area that can be utilized for agriculture in these areas as well as young people who can be part of development, however, poverty and lack of intellectual assistance has been a major problem.

This workshop is aimed to get participants thinking about food security and good nutrition in Ghana using a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving. The participants (student and mentor pair, the mentor must have more experience than the student, but an undergrad paired with a PhD student would be acceptable) will be coached to identify a community in Ghana with major challenges of food insecurity. They will then plan a short project that will enhance food security in a community. The nature of the project is flexible, determined by the pair. This may not be just research, a small intervention or outreach program is also fine.

Intended Audience: Anyone with an interest in learning about food security and will like to be trained in its multidisciplinary approach in problem solving is invited to participate.

Presenter Biography: Mary Adjepong is a graduate of KNUST with a BSc in Biochemistry and an MPhil in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is currently a PhD candidate at Michigan State University, USA and a graduate of the Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security at Purdue University, on which she has modeled this mini-practicum. She has had various exposures to food security issues through conference discussions, among these is the renowned World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue. She is currently a BHEARD scholar and Borlaug LEAP fellow.

Materials Provided: Each participant will receive the following 1) Presentation slides on lecture on Global Food security with Ghana in perspective. 2) A document that gives highlights about food security in Ghana (URLs on how to get pertinent information about food security).

Rough Agenda

The workshop is estimated to take 4 hours

Session 1: Presentation: Global Food Security with Ghana in Perspective (~1 hour minutes)

Session 2: Brainstorming (~2 hours)

  • Identifying communities that face food insecurity
  • Proposing feasible, innovative solutions to food security in specific communities

Participants (mentor and student) are encouraged to hold conversations after the main discussion to put together their project in the final remaining hour.

Sessions 1 and 2 will be held on Monday, August 1, beginning at 10AM.

Other Requirements:  Participants are encouraged to bring along laptops with internet connection but it is not a requirement for participation.

Space and Enrollment Restrictions: Interested participants are required to register prior to entry into the workshop. A maximum of 24 participants will be allowed. Interested participants are encouraged to identify a partner and sign up as a pair, although this is not required. Please email to register. Registered participants will be emailed the specific location for the practicum.


4. Writing Research Proposals and Competing for Grants

Facilitator: Elvis Tiburu (Correspondence:

Workshop Objectives: This workshop will take a practical approach to teaching the craft of proposal writing and the art of competing for research grants. There will be presentations followed by one-on-one sessions with participants to help them develop their proposals.  Participants will be expected to bring their draft proposals for discussion, critiques and suggestions for improvement. Resource person will share personal experiences with writing grant-winning proposals and discuss the keys to improving chances of success. Topics to be covered: key considerations before writing a grant proposal, major sections of a grant proposal, tips for preparing budgets, handling rejection/failure, building international collaborations etc

Target audience: Graduate students and faculty members who are planning to apply for research grants or who have tried unsuccessfully to obtain grants

Materials to bring: To derive maximum benefit from the workshop, participants should bring a printed summary of a draft proposal (1-2 pages long) and  a laptop to use during the workshop for developing the proposal.

Number of participants: Due to the hands-on approach to this workshop, a maximum of 20 participants will be allowed.

Resource Persons:

Elvis Tiburu, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Ghana; Gordon Awandare, West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), and Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Ghana; Other  senior members of GBC may be available, TBD

Date and Time: Friday, August 5th, 2016, (10AM to 4PM). Please email to register. Registered participants will be emailed the location of the workshop.

5. Successful Writing- Writing Research Findings for Publication

Facilitator: Dr Elvis E. Tarkang (Correspondence:

Workshop Objectives: Publication serves many purposes, which include exchange of information, documentation of being first with new ideas, evidence of productive use of research funds, record by which researchers are judged, etc. These lead to significant pressure to publish. This workshop will take a practical approach to the tips of writing a good research paper for publication, starting from the title to the reference list. There will be presentations followed by one-on-one sessions with participants to help them develop their manuscripts for publication.  Participants will be expected to bring their draft manuscripts for discussion, critiques and suggestions for improvement. Resource persons will share personal experiences with writing a good research paper for publication and discuss the keys to improving chances of success.

Rough Agenda

The presentation is estimated to take 4 hours, and it will be divided into the following topics and subtopics:

  1. Structure: the most crucial element- (TA-IMRAD-ARA)- 1 hour
  • The Title
  • Abstract-writing tips
  • Introduction-writing tips
  • Methods-writing tips
  • Ethical considerations
  • Results-writing tips
  • Discussion-In-depth, solving the problem of a long rambling discussion section
  • Extras
  1. Every scientist’s dream is to publish
  1. Submitting, Revising and Responding to Reviewers’ Comments- 2 hours
  • The First Step: Editorial Triage
  • The review process
  • What reviewers are required to comment on
  • Criteria in the review process often overlooked by authors
  • The Reviewer
  • Editorial decision
  • Reviewers Request Revisions
  • How to respond to Reviewer Requests/Comments
  • How to Avoid a Rejection Letter from an Editor
  • Setting aside time to write
  • Helps available to write and publish
  1. Reviewing the draft manuscripts brought by participants, following a reviewer checklist- 1 hour.

Target audience: Students, faculty members, scientists and researchers who are interested in publishing their studies in peer-reviewed journals

Materials to bring: To derive maximum benefit from the workshop, participants should bring a printed summary of a draft manuscript and a laptop to use during the workshop for developing the manuscript.

Number of participants: Due to the hands-on approach to this workshop, a maximum of 30 participants will be allowed. Two sessions may be run depending on registered participants

Resource Persons: Elvis Tarkang, Department of Population and Behavioural Sciences, School of Public Health,  University of Health and Allied Sciences; Francis B. Zotor, African Nutrition Society and Department of Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences; K.O Duedu, School of Basic and Biomedical Sciences, University of Health and Allied Sciences. Other senior members of GBC may be available, TBD

Date and Time: Friday, August 5th, 2016, (10AM to 4PM). Please email to register. Registered participants will be emailed the location of the workshop.

Presenter Biography: Dr Elvis E. Tarkang is a lecturer in the school of public health, University of health and allied sciences, Ho, Ghana. He holds a Ph.D. in the social aspects of HIV/AIDS and research in public health and social sciences from the University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa. He is the director/founder of the HIV/AIDS prevention research network, Cameroon (HIVPREC). He is currently the Editor-in-Chief and founder of the Central African Journal of Public Health (CAJPH) and the International Journal of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Education and Behavioural Sciences (IJHPEBS). He is also a consultant for International Labour Organization (HIV/AIDS and the world of work)