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                        Suzanne Kerbavcic: ICGEB Aims to Promote International Sci-tech Cooperation with IUSTC

                        Source: Science and Technology Daily| 2021-12-22 14:19:59| Author: Suzanne?Kerbavcic

                        Suzanne Kerbavcic, Head, Communications, Public Information & Outreach,ICGEB

                        I am delighted and honored to take part in the Annual Meeting, on behalf of our Director-General, Dr. Lawrence Banks, and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

                        I would like to thank the organisers of this Annual Meeting for this invitation and opportunity, and extend greetings to all distinguished speakers, guests and participants.

                        Our Organisation, the ICGEB, has been running biotechnology laboratories for almost 30 years and comprises over 45 labs in different fields of the Life Sciences located in Italy, India and South Africa.

                        We also have more than 65 Member States in every Region of the world with whom we collaborate at the Governmental and at the scientific level. I would like to explain how we work to promote international sci-tech cooperation,through:

                        ? Digital media platforms

                        ? Public engagement

                        ? Media relations.

                        The ICGEB Web site, which reaches 1 million people per year, has a truly international audience. We monitor the data of our posts and our interactions with the international community on this platform.

                        This includes free scientific resources, such as podcasts of seminars and meetings that are available on three platforms.

                        Regarding Communications, the Organisation has been working with Science & Technology Daily since early 2019 with whom it holds a Memorandum of Understanding.

                        Thanks to this collaboration, several articles have been published both in the Chinese media and on the ICGEB platforms (the Website, the eNewsletter and social media),finding common ground and areas of interest, including:

                        - An article on the historical relationship between ICGEB and China on the occasion of China’s 70th anniversary;

                        - on the BRICS working Group meeting held in Brazil in 2019 (all 5 countries are Member States of the ICGEB);

                        - on the pandemic outlining the work of the Molecular Virology laboratory at ICGEB on SARS-CoV-2, and, importantly

                        - to announce the opening of the ICGEB Regional Research Centre in Taizhou, Jiangsu province. A wonderful research centre that is expanding interactions between the international communities, in particular Italy, and China (focusing on vaccines, antibody drugs and in-vitro diagnostics).

                        This has incorporated ICGEB’s collaboration with the China National Center for Biotechnology Development (CNCBD), and with the China Medical City, reflecting strong relations between our Organisations.

                        The RRC also developed a similarly designed website and shares the newsletterspublished every two months (in Chinese and English).

                        An important example of international collaboration is represented by Dr. Alessandro Marcello’s work on COVID-19 (the Molecular Virology laboratory at ICGEB Italy); his lab tested the diagnostic kit from a Taizhou company. The result showed that the kit has excellent sensitivity and specificity, which helped the export of the product to Europe.

                        More recently, the RRC, Directed by Dr. Yili Yang, is working to ship a novel diagnostic kit for Omicron to ICGEB Cape Town for collaboration.

                        To better promote international sci-tech cooperation through the efforts of media organisations involves:

                        ? Building trust through collaboration and through solid media representation

                        ? It takes time

                        ? partnerships

                        ? Collaborations

                        ? Joint projects and exchanges

                        ? Using different platforms

                        ? appearing in high-impact, high profile publications – such as Nature Public engagement, or citizen science, is a major element of ICGEB’s communications and media programme.

                        Science & the City is a model that involves free scientific events that take place in the city, in the local language, involving experts who discuss a hot topic in science. We have held these events since 2013 and they include Media partnership with the local,regional and national media television and radio stations. This is very popular and is also being proposed in South Africa and in Eastern Europe this year.

                        Thank you!

                        (Speech at the 2021 IUSTC Meeting by Suzanne Kerbavcic, Head, Communications, Public Information & Outreach,ICGEB)


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