CRSN – Lwiro

Project Leads:

Don Waller, PhD
Professor of Botany and Environmental Science
UW Madison

Aliko Songolo, PhD
Professor of French and African Cultural Studies
UW Madison

Prince Kaleme, PhD
Scientific Director


The Centre de Recherches en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN) was established in 1947 in Lwiro under the colonial powers of Belgium as the Institute for Scientific Research in Central Africa (IRSAC). Upon independence, CRSN became an institution regulated by the Congolese state and was renamed the Institute for Scientific Research (IRS). The IRS was headquartered in Kinshasa and the scope of its activities were reduced to the DRC (called Zaire during that period). In 1984, the research station received its current name, CRSN, and the headquarters were returned to Lwiro. Despite the decades of conflict that have occurred throughout the eastern DRC, CRSN has remained a regional center of biological, environmental, and health research. In addition, its historic facilities provide an important hub for training and educational outreach.

The southern Albertine Rift is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and the CRSN’s main foci are the study of its flora, fauna, and human inhabitants. Today, CRSN’s team is led by Scientific Director Dr. Prince Kaleme and conducts field and laboratory research in five departments: Biology, Geophysics, Nutrition, Environment, and Documentation.


In November 2015, Professors Don Waller and Aliko Songolo traveled to south Kivu region to visit CRSN in Lwiro and other universities in Bukavu. While visiting CRSN, Dr. Waller, Dr. Songolo, Dr. Kaleme, and other administrators agreed upon shared goals of research collaboration, knowledge sharing, and expanding the research station’s capacities through increased funding and awareness about its activities.

The South Kivu province, where CRSN is located