By Obinna Osigwe
The Executive Coordinator, Virus Outbreak Data Network Africa, and Asia (VODANA), Prof. Francisca Oladipo, was on Thursday 25th March 2021, appointed the Pioneer Director of Quality Assurance, Federal University Lokoja (FUL) Nigeria.
She was a member of the University’s Governing Council – the first female elected to the Council, and the first female Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University.
Prof. Oladipo who started her University career in the Department of Computer Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Nigeria, is a Consultant at the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences of Tilburg University, Netherlands and a member of the Globalization, Accessibility, Innovation and Care (GAIC) Research Network that includes Leiden University, Tilburg University, Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), Leiden University medical Center (LUMC), Addis Ababa University, Mekelle University, Admas University, University de Sousse, Great Zimbabwe University and nine other universities in Africa.
She had served previously at Kampala International University (KIU), Uganda as the pioneer Director of Research, Innovations, and International relations.
Prof. Oladipo serves as the Chief Technical Advisor (Kogi) on the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), and, Facilitator, Africa Centre of Excellence in Technology and Learning (ACETEL), National Open University of Nigeria.
Presently, she functions as the International Projects Synergy and Support Lead, for the NUFFIC Regional and Ethiopia Projects for KIU, and Dutch Partners. The two-part project is sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of foreign Affairs and, is facilitated by e-learning and data sharing in the Horn of Africa to develop and implement eLearning Systems to strengthen Security and Rule of Law; Food and Nutrition, specifically in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, and Northern Ethiopia under the Dutch Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) Initiative.
Prof. Oladipo is bringing her wealth of experience and international exposure to this position and will be working with the management of the University at all levels to deliver high quality learning system.
As the Executive Coordinator of VODANA, the Initiative has given Africa a place in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through the deployment of 10 machine-actionable COVID-19 FAIR Data Points across Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and the Netherlands. She is currently leading the expansion of the initiative into Liberia, Tanzania, Somalia, China, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan.
Prof. Francisca is one of the inaugural Fellows of the Pan-Africa Scientific Research Council, a Grace Hopper Faculty Scholar and a fellowship alumna of the Heidelberg Laureate Foundation Germany, United States Department of State Exchange Program (TechWomen), Internet Engineering Task Force, the Women of Color in Computing, Widening Natural Language Processing, Women in Machine Learning, Black in Artificial Intelligence, etc. She is a two-time recipient of the PyCon USA Grant, the ACM FAT Fellowship in 2019 and 2020, and the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship of the ICML. She is an alumna of the prestigious Machine Learning Summer School and has been trained in Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics and Data Science at the Institute of Analytics and Data Science, University of Essex, UK, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain and the University of Oxford.
Prof. Francisca has won many grants and co-authored several award winning proposals for donor founded projects including the Philip’s Foundation Grants, Google Rapid COVID-19 Grant, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs Orange Knowledge Program, Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship, Dutch Development Bank Grant for capacity Strengthening in Africa, etc.
In addition to developing innovative curriculum for multidisciplinary research, Francisca is bridging the gaps between research and practice in the areas of Theoretical Computer Science and she has published numerous papers detailing her research experiences in both local and international journals and presented research papers in several international conferences. She is also a reviewer and editorial board member of many international scientific publications.
The VODANA Team congratulates Prof. Oladipo on her appointment.