Competition Announcement: IMPRESSA Awards 2017



Recognizing outstanding university scientists making significant contribution in agricultural Research and Science for Development in Africa 

Download the French Version of this Call: Appel a nominations – IMPRESSA

Globally, about 700 million people are faced with inadequate food supplies, with more than 30% of the developing world’s populations living in extreme poverty. The need to enhance impact of agricultural research and development activities in Africa requires a new approach to old problems, or a ‘business unusual’. Where returns to investment in Africa and other parts of the world have been shown to be significant, there has not been adequate impact on reducing poverty in the poorer parts of the world. Almost 50% of the populations in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) survive on less than one US Dollar ($1) a day, reflecting the highest levels of poverty in the world. At the same time, there are new challenges, such as the impact of climate change on production, particularly rain-fed production; rural –urban migration and a multitude accompanying challenges; globalization; among others that need to be contended with. New approaches to research for development and ensuring enhanced impact on the lives of the rural poor are required. Higher education has a key role to play in training the next generation of Africa’s workforce, producing knowledge products and sharing these with farmers and wider agribusiness sector for impact. There are needs for incentives to ensure the integration and increased contribution of universities to development.

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is a consortium of 66 universities operating in 26 African countries across the African continent. Established in 2004, RUFORUM mandate is to facilitate graduate training and networks of specialization in African countries and has a cooperative agreement with the African Union Commission to support the implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA). Specifically RUFORUM strives to contribute to the wellbeing of small scale farmers and economic development of countries throughout Africa by supporting the integration of universities into national innovation systems. This contribution is made through training of quality graduates for the rural development workforce and the production and dissemination of demand-driven, development oriented research that is defined and applied through participatory processes linking researchers, farmers, and policymakers.

RUFORUM wishes to stimulate further the contribution of universities to bringing about rural change in Africa. Efforts are targeted at stimulating leadership through the recognition of individual professionals on the continent and based at African Universities who are dedicated to strengthening higher education in Africa, in terms of university leadership and management, teaching and carrying out research focused on improving rural livelihoods in Africa, and providing service to the wider community. RUFORUM wishes to recognize some of these achievers, and by so doing further grassroots oriented research that has impact on rural communities. RUFORUM, through the Impact Research and Science in Africa or IMPRESSA award, will award outstanding university scientists and leaders who have made significant contribution in the field of agricultural research and science for development in Africa, including human and institutional development. This is the fourth round of the IMPRESSA Award.

Objectives of the IMPRESSA Award


  • Recognizes outstanding university led contributions to development through agricultural research and science, human and institutional capacity building.
  • Promotes the awareness of challenges and prospects in agriculture, which remains the mainstay͛ of most economies of sub-Saharan Africa states.
  • Promotes the awareness of the unique social conditions of agricultural communities and the global dynamics affecting agriculture, food and nutrition security in Africa.
  • Promotes awareness of the potential contribution of African universities in Africa’s development through agriculture and related sciences, technology and innovations.
  • Promotes the awareness of gender issues in agricultural research and science, human and institutional capacity building.
  • Promote institutional building and leadership in African universities and beyond.

This year’s Awards (3) will be presented at the RUFORUM Annual General Meeting to be held 26-28 October 2017 in Lilongwe, Malawi. RUFORUM commits to work with partners in publicizing and promoting the work of the Award winners.

Eligibility, nomination, evaluation and selection procedure

The competition organizers invite nominations to the IMPRESSA Award. The IMPRESSA Award competition is open to all agricultural scientists/ researchers/ development workers from the RUFORUM member Universities. Both individuals and teams whose work, undertaken in Africa has contributed to the objectives of IMPRESSA Award are eligible for nomination. Nominations must be submitted in writing, in English or French. All nominations are confidential and the identities of nominators and nominees will be kept in confidence. Nominations should be sent to RUFORUM Secretariat. Self-nominations are not acceptable under this Call.

The Award can be made with reference to specific contribution or efforts and results, which could be recent or past, but judged as viable, having had impact, and sustainable. In its evaluation, the Award Committee will emphasize proven and tangible results from the nominee’s work in line with the objectives of IMPRESSA Award. The circumstances under which the work was undertaken, complexity of the problem and results achieved will be duly considered by the Awards committee.

Nominations will be structured as below:

Nominator / promoter:

Give full names, full contact details including email, professional and organizational affiliation.


Part A (Max. 500 words): The nominator will give full names, full contact details including email, professional and organizational affiliation, and biographical data.

Part B (Max 1000 words): A succinct factual summary outlining the nominator’s key arguments for the nomination.

Part C (Max 6000 words): A detailed background and factual argument for the nomination including direct measurable and non-measurable achievements and impacts; supporting documents including citations, honors, written works and other references.


All nominations should be sent by email to and indicate in the subject line ‘IMPRESSA Nomination’. Documentary evidence from nominees should be sent by registered / traceable courier to RUFORUM Secretariat, and clearly marked ‘IMPRESSA’ on the envelope.

RUFORUM Secretariat, Plot 151/155 Garden Hill, Makerere University Main Campus, P.O Box 16811 Wandegeya, Kampala, Uganda, Tel: +256-417-713-300 (Office). Attention: IMPRESSA Awards


Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of experts from diverse fields. The key criteria are;

  1. Contribution to agricultural knowledge and other development areas through research as evidenced by high quality publications in peer reviewed journals
  2. Development oriented scientific research with demonstrated impact
  3. University postgraduate teaching and student supervision, student and staff mentorship
  4. Demonstrated engagement with peer researchers, farmers, extension and policy
  5. Contribution towards human or institutional capacity building
  6. Sustained and demonstrated dissemination of research findings and outputs to diverse of consumers
  7. Contribution to community advancement


Nominees will be competing for three (3) prizes, overall winner ($15,000) and two runner ups each for US$10,000

Important dates    

  • Call Issue Date: 1st April, 2017
  • Deadline for nominations is 31 July , 2017
  • Presentation of IMPRESSA Awards during the RUFORUM AGM in Malawi: 28thOctober, 2017

Competition Organizers

The IMPRESSA Award competition is organized by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM: see for details)

Download the full call in English: Call for nominations_IMPRESA Awards 2017

View Previous Winners: RUFORUM press release_IMPRESSA

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