The 7th workshop of the EU-funded Sci-GaIA project will be held on the 8th of February 2017 at the Conference Centre of the Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop is hosted by the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology of the Kenyatta University, which is also one of the co-organisers. The other co-organisers of the workshop are the Sci-GaIA project, the Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital and the African Population and Health Research Centre. Other schools of the Kenyatta University are also involved in the workshop such as the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health.
The overarching theme of the Nairobi workshop is Science Gateways(1), with a special focus on public health. Participants will discuss, debate and view demonstrations on e-Infrastructures(2) for building Open Science(3) health portals that can help preventing accidents and diseases, prolonging life and promoting health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, public and private organizations, communities and single individuals.
The workshop will bring together stakeholders in/representatives of:
- Healthcare Practice and Research (general physicians and surgeons);
- Transport and Security (ministry officials, transport police, motorbike riders’ associations, passenger service vehicle operators, etc.);
- Computer Science and Engineering (both from Europe and Kenya national universities);
- Higher and Tertiary Education (teachers, professors and students);
- E-Infrastructure Providers and Operators (including the Kenya National Research & Education Network);
- Education, Health and ICT Ministries;
- The EU Delegation to Kenya.
The workshop will build upon past work carried out during the e-Research Summer Hackfest and showcased at a recent Sci-GaIA event held in Dar es Salaam. The key aims are creating awareness of open science gateways and promoting the exploitation of e-infrastructures to build solutions and services that can tackle societal challenges through a multi-disciplinary approach. For this reason, the workshop will take both an applied research & technology angle and a software & service development angle.
Concrete examples will include publication, by physicians of useful knowledge that motorbike riders and passengers can consider to take greater caution in avoiding road accidents. Clinicians tend to have information that is not accessible to the public. With a public health gateway (PHG), we hope such information can be disseminated to various stakeholders, using different channels to inform decision making in road use. There are other applications of PHG, even in maternal child health, including immunisation of children, and we look forward to rigorous discussions of these issues.
Crucially, participating local universities can consider sharing the extent to which approaches for open science repositories, the use of cloud computing and e-infrastructures are reflected in their Computer Science and Software Engineering curricula.
This is a unique event of its kind in Kenya and we welcome a wide participation of researchers, content developers, educators, policy makers and executioners, as well as healthcare practitioners, both from inside and outside the country.
The participation to the workshop is free of charge but interested people are invited to register at their earliest convenience to let the local organisers better define the logistics of the event.
(1) A Science Gateway (also known as Virtual Research Environment or Virtual Laboratory) is a "community-development set of tools, applications, and data that is integrated via a portal or a suite of applications, usually in a graphical user interface, that is further customized to meet the needs of a specific community“. [TeraGrid/XSEDE]
(2) e-Infrastructure refers to a "combination and interworking of digitally-based technology (hardware and software), resources (data, services, digital libraries), communications (protocols, access rights and networks), and the people and organisational structures needed to support modern, internationally leading collaborative research be in the arts and humanities or the sciences". [ref.]
(3) “Open science is a means and not an end in itself and it is much more than just open access to publications or data; it includes many aspects and stages of research processes thus enabling full reproducibility and re-usability of scientific results.” [ref.]