Mpala is jointly operated by Princeton University, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the National Museums of Kenya and the Wildlife Research and Training Institute. Mpala provides interdisciplinary research and training programmes in ecology, evolution, geology, and resource management to scientists from Kenya and around the world. Researchers, representing all our partners, are drawn to Mpala to study the centre’s remarkable ecosystem, making Mpala a hub for collaborative research.
Princeton University serves as the managing partner for Mpala. Through Princeton University, Mpala has been awarded several National Science Foundation grants to improve facilities and completely rebuild the campsite. Most recently the grants were used to construct a cutting-edge genomics and stable isotope laboratory. Throughout the year, Princeton faculty, researchers, and graduate and undergraduate students visit the property to expand on their knowledge of the African landscape and to undertake research.
The Smithsonian Institution is a Trust Instrumentality of the United States that administers a group of museums and research centres. Mpala is the Smithsonian Institution’s first permanent research facility in Africa. The Smithsonian Institution offers multiple fellowship opportunities with Mpala to promote the study of biology, anthropology, geology, hydrology, material science, social science, soil science and related areas.
Kenya Wildlife Services
Kenya Wildlife Service is a state corporation that was established by an Act of Parliament (Cap 376), with the mandate to conserve and manage wildlife in Kenya, and to enforce related laws and regulations. KWS undertakes conservation and management of wildlife resources across all protected areas systems in collaboration with stakeholders. Mpala collaborates with the KWS in various aspects of research, such as capturing and collaring of wildlife, treatment of sick animals, and security enforcement. KWS also undertakes and coordinates biodiversity research and monitoring. Multiple research projects collaborate with the KWS when scheduling collaring of wildlife. More recently, the Smithsonian-Mpala Veterinary Fellow has been working with KWS veterinarians to treat injured or sick wildlife on Mpala and surrounding conservancies.
National Museums of Kenya
The National Museums of Kenya is a state organisation that manages museums, museums sites and monuments in Kenya. It carries out heritage research, and has expertise in subjects ranging from paleontology, ethnography and biodiversity research to conservation. Multiple researchers at Mpala are officially affiliated with NMK and collaborate with NMK scientists, making extensive use of their facilities, materials, and expertise.
The Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI) is a Kenyan state Corporation established under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013. WRTI is involved with development, coordination and execution of wildlife research programs and policies, as well as training and capacity development. Mpala is partnering with WRTI on implementation and dissemination of research as specified in the National Wildlife Research Agenda 2023-2027.