Thomas R. Odhiambo

Thomas R. Odhiambo

Founder: African Academy of Sciences, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and the RANDFORUM for Science-led Development in Africa

Thomas R. Odhiambo Professor Thomas R. Odhiambo, an entomologist by training, is one of the world's leading scientists and a pioneer in establishing Africa's indigenous scientific capacity. As founding director of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), his research focused on developing sustainable solutions to the pressing need for increased food production and improved health in rural communities. Aware that scientific research needed to be a high priority if significant economic and social development were to be achieved, Professor Odhiambo in 1967 proposed the idea of international research institutes located in tropical zones of developing countries. At a time when some criticized such a development as premature, Professor Odhiambo personally garnered the necessary talent and resources from scientific academies and foundations worldwide to establish ICIPE, which focuses on developing low-cost technologies and improving traditional methods that can be adopted by Africa's small farmers. In 1985, Professor Odhiambo's efforts to develop and promote scientific expertise among Africans led to the establishment of the African Academy of Sciences. As its first president, he is working to achieve its objectives, which include: identifying outstanding scientific talent within the continent; promoting the utilization of this talent in national development; and advancing the partnership between scientific and political leaders in building Africa's future. In addition, he serves as vice president of the Third World Academy of Sciences, president of the Association of African Science Editors and president of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences. He was the first professor and head of the department of entomology at the University of Nairobi and was the first dean of the faculty of agriculture. Hundreds of young African scientists, inspired by Professor Odhiambo's leadership, have dedicated themselves to the solutions of Africa's problems. Among his many honors are the Albert Einstein Medal, 1979; the Gold Mercury International Award, 1982; the Gold Medal Award, International Congress of Plant Protection, 1983; and the Honorary Doctorate of Science of the University of Oslo, 1986. ICIPE was awarded the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Award of Brown University in 1986. The author of more than 130 papers and monographs, Professor Odhiambo has also written six children's books designed to educate, inspire and entertain the children of Africa.