CBI plans to expand its existing campus to provide more facilities for researchers

CBI is building a Research and Education Park that will be a regional hub of research, innovation, and capacity building in the Congo Basin.

Our existing campus includes:

  • Accommodations
  • Research Facilities, including a GIS research and training facility, molecular genetics lab, plant, soil, and water analytical lab, plant tissue culture laboratory, and entomology and pathology laboratories.
  • Field Sites: CBI maintains two field sites – one in a pristine forest site in the Dja Reserve, and another in a mixed secondary forest/agricultural site.

CBI plans to expand its Research and Education Park in Yaoundé, Cameroon. It is strategically positioned to bring together researchers, students and educators from local, regional, and international institutions. The campus expansion will be housed on the campus of CBI co-founder the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and is located near a number of other local and regional universities and research campuses.

The Research and Education Park will create a space for collaborative problem solving with the following components:

Distance Learning Center

The Distance Learning Center is one of three state of the art buildings designed pro bono for CBI by Gensler.

This center will use virtual/distance learning and hands-on, experiential platforms to provide technological and educational capacity that is lacking.  In coordination with local health and higher education institutions, the center will serve as a central resource for education, training, and professional development, using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-based tools, teacher-training methods, and emphasizing gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Microsoft will donate tens of thousands of dollars of software and training to the Digital Learning Center.  It will create a space for African and American instructors and teachers to learn together.

Digital Library & GIS Center

The Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) has donated five years of GIS software licenses and access to online training courses to CBI—an approximate value of $1.2 million.

CBI will build a new, larger home for its Digital Library and GIS Center, giving African and American students the ability to learn side by side and use geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing technology to directly addressing the critical needs of the Congo Basin.  Currently no other facilities in Central Africa provide GIS services on-site.  This facility will also serve as a digital data repository, increasing access to vital data generated by researchers.

Conference Center

The Gensler designed facilities will use passive cooling and other design features to provide location-appropriate temperature control.

The Conference Center will create a premier African location for collaboration.  Because there are limited appropriate venues in Africa the vast majority of science and policy conferences—even those about Africa—take place outside of the continent.  This makes it hard for African researchers to attend, and separates conversations about addressing African challenges from the context.  The Conference Center will host high caliber, international conferences on topics like biodiversity, forest conservation, and livelihoods, and foster strong connections between researchers and policy makers and communities and ecosystems they seek to serve.

Dormitories and Collaborative Space

UCLA currently operates a lodging and research support facility for visiting scholars that has hosted over 2,000 researchers from 30 countries.  The facility is self-sustaining through a fee-for-use system, but demand outstrips supply.

The expense of Western-style hotels can be a significant hurdle to collaborative research.  The price can either prevent researchers from coming, or significantly shorten their stay, which decreases the time they have available for teaching in country and collaborating with local scientists and students.  The dormitory will expand CBI’s existing capacity to host visiting scholars, and provide a collaborative space where colleagues can meet, providing a more informal avenue for cross-cultural exchange.  To inquire about using CBI’s existing lodging facility, please visit the Accommodations page.

Molecular Genetics and Analytics Laboratory

Expanding CBI’s existing Molecular Genetics and Analytics laboratory will support more advanced scientific research in the Congo Basin region


Effective surveillance and research of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases will require building local capabilities in contemporary genetics-based techniques for pest and pathogen detection and characterization.  CBI’s existing Molecular Genetics and Analytics Laboratory provides critical capacity, but more is needed.  The upgraded CBI laboratories will provide the technical capacity to study biodiversity, emerging diseases, crop pests and diseases, agricultural biotechnology and food safety to help address the critical needs of the region.

These buildings will represent the initial CBI campus.  The facilities are in high demand, and once built are designed to be revenue generating.  Revenue will be reinvested to support research and training to find solutions to the interconnected regional issues of climate change, human disease, food and water security, and loss of biodiversity.

Subsequently, the CBI can be expanded to include:

  • Technical Training and Equipment Repair Facility
  • Logistics and Administrative Offices

Tap here to support CBI and the creation of the Research and Education Park