UG: ORID hosts maiden OR Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative

Adwubi Wiafe
Adwubi Wiafe
4 Min Read

The University of Ghana through the Office of Research, Innovation and Development has launched its maiden project under the OR Tambo Africa Research Chair for Food Science and Technology, awarded to Professor Firibu K. Saalia of the Department of Food Process Engineering and the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. The project launch which occurred at the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) Conference Centre, was graced by several dignitaries including the Pro VC- ORID, MESTI, Faculty Members among others.

The project seeks to equalize technological advances in agricultural production and the agro-processing industry in Ghana and the West African sub-region at region at large, due to the dominance of informal processing activities, leading to an estimated 40% of food losses occurring post-harvest and during processing. The initiative will reduce food losses through the adoption of cost-effective innovations, contribute to food and nutrition security, and also impact sustainable national development. It will also focus on innovations in three distinct areas: including food process engineering, food safety and quality management.

What is the OR Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative?

The O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative (ORTARCh) is an initiative of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

This is in partnership with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation (OATF), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (ORC), and seven councils of the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SCI) in Sub – Saharan Africa. It was first announced in 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of O.R. Tambo. It builds on the work of Oliver Tambo, a prominent South African and pan-Africanist with a science education background, who believed in creating change through education and in cooperation and solidarity among African nations.

The ORTARCh is an opportunity to promote the values for which O.R. Tambo stood, including integrity, courage of conviction, diplomacy, and humility. The initiative also recognises African excellence in the fields of study about which he was so passionate. OR Tambo not only believed in Africa as a centre for excellence, but also that it was and would continue to be the home of innovation and brilliance.


Professor Firibu Kwesi Saalia graduated with a PhD in Food Science and Technology from the University of Georgia (UGA) in 2001. He previously obtained his MPhil in Food Science and BS in Biochemistry and Food Science from the University of Ghana.


  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Food Science, University of Georgia, 2001 – 2005.
  • Professor (2016 – Date), Associate Professor (2013 – 2016), Senior Lecturer

(2009-2013), Lecturer (2005- 2009), Department of Nutrition and Food Science/Department of Food Process Engineering, University of Ghana.

  • Head, Department of Food Process Engineering; 2016 – 2021

Research interests:

– Food processing (thermal and non-thermal), chemical and physical properties of foods, food chemistry and toxicology, dehydration of foods and nutraceutical properties of foods.

-Supervised 15 PhD, 50 MPhil and 50+ undergraduate students

  • Over 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals

-Assessor for National and International Universities (PhD thesis and Faculty promotions)

  • Active member of many Boards and Committees at the University of Ghana
  • Extension service with several government agencies
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