The overall goals of our network are to contribute, to the benefit of the laboratories in members’ countries, to the development of international standard research activities in the fields of applied spectroscopy and spectral imaging. The strategy to achieve our overall goals is to organize annual workshops for the training of students and young scientists in the areas of optics, photonics and imaging techniques applied to medicine, agriculture and the environment. We therefore build instruments for realistic diagnostic tools related to tropical diseases such as malaria, pollution monitoring or natural disasters affecting agriculture and environment, and to use optical diagnostics for quality control and improved crop yield. Significant effort is currently devoted to training program.
The network was created after a workshop organized in 2008 in Cape Coast (Ghana) on the design and implementation of a multispectral and multimodal microscope, with an emphasis on staining-free, rapid and accurate malaria diagnosis; at the end of this workshop, the six participating countries, received a copy of the instrument as a gift from ISP. Because of the capabilities of the instrument, we then decided to continue working on this instrument and develop similar ones with application to medicine, agriculture and environment, through a network.
Spectral Imaging is a fast-merging area for interdisciplinary activities; it has the advantages to associate number of specialties such as optics, spectroscopy, image processing, statistical multivariate analysis, with applications from macroscopic to microscopic specimens, in life science and biodiversity. Spectral imaging is a promising instrument-based strategy to address numbers of African development issues. It is both an ideal scientific training support and a technology for sustainable development in African countries.