Kampala 03 juillet 2019 Le Forum Régional des Universités pour le renforcement des capacités en agriculture (RUFORUM; www.ruforum.org), un réseau de 114 universités dans 38 pays africains, a le plaisir d’annoncer l’appel à proposition d’innovations dans le cadre du concours des Jeunes Entrepreneurs Africains. L’objectif global de cette compétition est de promouvoir l’entrepreneuriat à travers le financement des innovations d’entreprise des jeunes entrepreneurs Africains ayant des idées créatives et innovantes. A travers le système d’application, RUFORUM invite donc tout jeune entrepreneur âgé de 35ans au plus à la date de clôture, à participer et concourir pour l’un des 20 prix, à travers leurs innovations, entreprises, concepts et propositions.
La troisième édition du concours est destiné à l’Afrique de l’Ouest (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Cap Vert, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambie, Ghana, Guinée, Guinée-Bissau, Libéria, Mali, Niger, Nigéria, Sénégal et Sierra Leone et Togo). Les prix seront remis à Cape Coast, au Ghana, lors de l’Assemblée Générale Annuelle du RUFORUM, qui se tiendra du 2 au 6 Décembre 2019.
RUFORUM vise à attribuer 20 prix dans les domaines suivants: Alimentation et agroalimentaire, Incubations, TIC, Santé, Ingénierie, Ressources naturelles et Météorologie, entre autres. Les lauréats des éditions passées de 2016 et 2018 NE SONT PAS admissibles.
Le concours est fondé sur l’une des valeurs et principes de créativité du RUFORUM, qui cherche à offrir des possibilités de développement de solutions innovantes, à la fois pour résoudre les problèmes auxquels sont confrontés les petits exploitants et pour gérer des projets de recherche dans des régions éloignées.
Nous avons le plaisir de lancer officiellement l’appel à propositions d’innovations par les Jeunes Entrepreneurs et Innovateurs Africains. Veuillez visiter le site web et postuler directement en ligne.
Date limite de soumission des projets: 30 septembre 2019; Heure: 23h59 (GMT)
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is a network of 114 Universities in 38 African Countries. RUFORUM will be holding its 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) from 2nd to 6th December 2019 at University of Cape Coast, Ghana. As part of the AGM series, RUFORUM invites researchers, opinion leaders, and development experts to submit review papers, technical/research articles and opinion papers under the listed thematic areas. High quality papers will be published in either RUFORUM Working Document Series or the African Journal of Rural Development
- Livestock and Livestock Production Systems
The global livestock sector is rapidly evolving in part in response to globalization and growing demand for animal-source foods, driven by population growth and increasing wealth in much of the developing world. Livestock systems in developing countries are extremely dynamic with dynamic drivers of change. Population and dramatic urbanization patterns taking place on a global scale and more importantly in the global South are shifting people’s food preferences towards greater convenience and higher standards of safety and more meat based diets. This is putting increased pressure on livestock production systems to meet the increased demand. Lately, there is a strong appreciation that the livestock sector needs to operate in a carbon-constrained economy, resulting in increasing competition for land and water resources, and growing pressure for the sector to be managed cleanly, safely and sustainably. This is particularly important because livestock production systems are now known as one of the major causes of human-induced global N and P cycles. Considerable differences though exist in how livestock is produced on a global scale. But a sound appreciation of the differences in the production systems-extensive-indigenous versus intensive, animal genetic resources as the primary biological capital for livestock development, environmental coupling of livestock production, feed and feed resources among others is critical if advances to helping resource poor livestock keepers take advantage of the rising demand for animal source foods and provide adequate protein provisioning in the global south. This thematic area calls for papers that explore the highlighted issues in review papers, research papers and/or opinion articles. Papers related to indigenous chicken production are especially encouraged. This side event will be organised within the broad framework of African Union Research on Indigenous Chicken production led by University of Eduardo Mondlane and its partners
- Soil Fertility and Soil Health Systems in Africa
Land remains one of the most important resource base for many people in Africa owing to the agrarian based economies. Further, the continent has an estimated 60% of the global arable land. However, 65% of the arable land, 30% of the grazing land and 20% of the forests in the continent is degraded with more than 80% of soils in the continent having chemical or physical limitations. In spite of this, the continent has potential to position itself as a champion in terms of increasing food production and security, achieving land restoration, and increasing agricultural resilience to climate change. As the continent positions itself in the global competition as a frontier for global food production healthy soils are the foundation for realising high productivity and thus is foundation for the global and regional food system. Sustainable soil (and water) management has been greatly recommended as the pathway for realising healthy soils and achieving agricultural growth, ensuring food security and adapting to climate change. The continent continues to grapple with a number of constraints that are limiting the achievement of soil health; capacity, perceptions, poor logistics arrangements, high fertilizer costs, financing and weak linkages between researchers with farmers, extensionists and a simple lack of soil testing facilities in many parts of the continent. This thematic area calls for scientific, opinion and review articles that explore innovations and advances in soil fertility and soil health systems, integrated soil and water resource management practices and smart and long-term solutions that increase soil productivity while safeguarding ecosystem services, and preventing pollution (including water resources) and degradation.
- Natural Hazards, Disasters and Environmental Crises
The earth has entered a period of hydrological, climatological, and biological change that differs from previous episodes of global change in the extent to which it is human in origin. Accordingly, hazards, disasters, crisis and emergencies are key issues threating sustainable development and sustainability in the present day. Disasters impact individuals, families, institutions, communities, and societies, not only physically, but also socially. They may cause infrastructure damage, and economic and human life loss. Thus, the wish and processes of sustainable development are always disrupted by various kinds of disasters. To explain or predict the course of the present global environmental changes, one must therefore understand the human sources, consequences, and responses, some of which can alter the course of global change. To understand global environmental change, it is necessary to focus on the interactions of environmental systems, including the atmosphere, the biosphere, the geosphere, and the hydrosphere, and human systems, including economic, political, cultural, and sociotechnical systems. In this regard, the interactions between and within systems is critical and so is the link between recovery after disasters and sustainable development. In order to revitalize disaster-impacted families and communities, mitigation and resilience should be integrated into the recovery process to reduce the vulnerability of communities and the rates of global environmental change. This thematic area seeks articles that are examining these intricate interfaces with hazards, disasters, emergencies and the global environmental change. In particular, interest is sought from articles that seek to examine; i) how disasters, hazards, crisis, and emergencies affect the continuity and sustainability of families, communities, institutions, or even countries; and ii) how to integrate mitigation or resilience into the recovery process to build back better or to achieve sustainable development context and place.
- Biosafety, Biosecurity and Biorisk Management
Biosafety has paralleled the development of the science of microbiology and its extension into new and related areas of tissue culture, recombinant DNA, animal studies, molecular biology, synthetic biology and biotechnology. Biosafety aims at protecting public health and environment from accidental exposure to biological agents. This is because as microbiologists gained significant advances to isolate, manipulate, and propagate pathogenic microorganisms, the development of containment principles, facility designs and practices and procedures that help prevent occupational infections in the workplace and/or the release of such organisms into the environment became a necessity. On the other hand, biosecurity concerns with the prevention of misuse through loss, theft, diversion or intentional release of pathogens, toxins and any other biological materials. In the global South, the rapid appreciation of biotechnology as one of the most critical approaches to closing the production and productivity gaps has generated a lot of debate with several for and against in equal measure. This thematic area seeks to provide opportunity to researchers in Africa to submit articles that examine issues relating to molecular biological positions to those covering biochemical, chemical or bioprocess engineering aspects as well as those addressing issues such as nucleic acids, molecular biology physiology, biochemistry, biochemical engineering, bioprocess engineering, industrial processes, and agro and food biotechnology, genomics and bioinformatics.
- Agrifood Systems
Globalisation of agrifood systems is a mega-trend with potentially profound nutritional implications. Dynamics in national, regional to global trade and technological change in agriculture have substantially improved food security in recent decades, although intensified production systems have also contributed to environmental problems in some regions. New agricultural technologies and policies need to place more emphasis on promoting dietary diversity and reducing environmental externalities. Globalising agrifood systems also involve changing supply-chain structures, with a rapid rise of modern retailing, new food safety and food quality standards, and higher levels of vertical integration. Available evidence indicates that emerging high-value supply chains can contribute to income growth in the small farm sector and improved access to food for rural and urban populations. However, there is also evidence that the retail revolution in developing countries, with its growing role of supermarkets and processed foods, can contribute to overweight and obesity among consumers. The multi-faceted linkages between changing agrifood systems and nutrition are a new field of interdisciplinary research, combining agricultural, nutritional, economics and social sciences perspectives. Further, owing to the complexity of food systems, it is often had to solve one problem without making another one worse. A policy that lowers food prices and makes staples more affordable, for example, could depress farmers’ incomes and cause hardship for smallholder farms. These dimensions in agrifood systems calls for research with interdisciplinary perspectives. Accordingly, this thematic area invites research articles, opinion and review papers that examine agronomy, environment, economics, sociology and health and nutrition aspects of the agri-food systems. Articles particularly with interdisciplinary dimensions will be prioritised for publication in the African Journal of Rural Development.
- Digital Innovations, Economics and Policy Analysis
Global connectivity has dramatically increased over the last decade arising from the evolution of the ‘digital age’ that is now giving significant access to information at greater and greater volumes as well as greater access to significant volumes of data. Some recent estimates suggest that there will a 4,300% increase in annual data generation by 2020, thus indicating that data production will be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009. This unprecedented growth in the digital content and tools is already changing how we create, consume and distribute knowledge – data science. However, there remains a digital divide on a global scale, which calls for increased digital innovations especially in the area of data science. Projections show that over the next 15 years, the developing countries will experience sweeping changes in how States and societies engage with digital data. These changes hold the potential to improve people’s lives by making information more available through data science and digital innovations, increasing avenues for political and economic engagement, and making government more transparent and responsive. New digital technologies that have emerged have created the possibility for data science and need for more innovations to support effective information use for development. However, coping with data has become increasingly challenging with exponential growth in data generation. These new digital innovations therefore bring many opportunities for empirical research, data analysis and decision support, making it clear that the data science is thus part and partial of the development required in Africa. On the other hand, in order to have a better appreciation of data science, there is need to examine how new digital technologies can be effectively used to explore data science and they must be taken within the context of our society. Specifically, economic and policy environment play a great role in determining which innovations strive to cause the development we desire for Africa. This sub-theme therefore looks at various topical issues within economic and policy environments for development in Africa.
Interested persons are invited to submit their papers NOT later than 30 September 2019 through online submission to http://www.afjrd.org/jos/index.php/afjrd under SECTION: “Extended abstracts RUFORUM” and Sample papers can be accessed at https://repository.ruforum.org/ .
Download the complete call here
Kampala 01 July 2019 The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is pleased to release the draft programme for the fifteenth Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is scheduled for 27th, November – 09 December, 2019 at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana. The theme of the Annual General Meeting is
Delivering on Africa’s Universities Agenda for Higher Agricultural Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (AHESTI): What will it take?
RUFORUM holds the AGM annually on a rotational basis with this year’s being the first AGM that will be hosted in West Africa following RUFORUM’s strategic geographical expansion in 2014 to include Universities in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Togo, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
This AGM is anticipated will be attended by a wide range of delegates including Ministers of Agriculture and Education and their respective Permanent Secretaries, Vice Chancellors, Principals and Deans, partners and Heads of development institutions, private sector leaders, farmers and farmer representatives, emerging and early career researchers and young entrepreneurs from especially Ghana and other West African countries. Universities, private sector actors and young entrepreneurs shall have the opportunity to showcase their innovations, products and services, network and broker partnerships with one another.
RUFORUM shall recognise farmers that have made significant contribution to agricultural transformation in Ghana as part of supporting national efforts for the advancement and transformation of agriculture. RUFORUM shall also recognise scientists and other actors that have made significant contribution and supported the advancement of excellence in research and higher education for the development of Africa. Young Innovators and Entrepreneurs from West Africa will be recognised as part of promoting the contribution of youth to economic growth and development of Africa.
A number of Pre-AGM Side events will take place and will include; Post-Doctoral fellows training, targeted skill enhancement training for University Principals and Deans, Leadership and management training for the Forum for Women Vice Chancellors in Africa, Social media training for students from RUFORUM member universities in Ghana among many others.
In a meeting held on Sunday 23rd June 2019, the Senate of University of Gezira (Sudan), awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). Prof Adipala was recognised for his outstanding scientific achievements as a university professor, his strong belief in Africa driving its agenda and in higher education being key to the development in Africa. The University Senate also appreciated Prof. Adipala’s leadership to the RUFORUM Network and his continuous and unlimited support to the member universities in general and to Sudanese universities in particular.
Among his many career achievements, Prof Adipala has overseen the growth of RUFORUM, an Africa owned and driven network grow from 10 member universities in five African countries in 2004, to 114 universities in 38 countries across Africa at present. He has also mobilised over US$ 600 million n dollars to support research and innovation, scholarships and higher education reform in Africa, enabled training of 2, 525 graduates in Africa (master’s and PhD), and published over 200 research and policy publications.
On receiving the news of the award, Prof. Adipala expressed his humility at the gesture by the University of Gezira, “I am deeply humbled by this award and receiving it from an African university makes it all the more meaningful.” He dedicated the award to all universities in Africa that are working to make a difference on the continent and achieve “the Africa we want” as stipulated in Agenda 2063. He further urged other stakeholders in Africa’s higher education, particularly the youth, to join in this mission saying;
“For now, my honour is to steer the ship, but I invite more sailors, especially young sailors to get on board and make sure the ship stays on course.
The University of Gezira has been a member of RUFORUM since 2009. It was one of the first two universities from Sudan to join the Network and has been instrumental in expanding the Network to the rest of the country and developing partnerships in North Africa and the Middle East Region. Together with the University of Kordofan, the two universities hosted the RUFORUM Principals and Deans Meeting in Khartoum in 2015.
Congratulations to Prof. Adipala Ekwamu.
Read more about University of Gezira here
Bishop Stuart University (BSU) in Uganda has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PUM Netherlands senior experts to gain from PUM’s expertise in setting up business incubators. In this two-year agreement, signed in February 2019, BSU staff and students will benefit from capacity building activities offered by PUM. The two organisations will also jointly engage with small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), the wider business community in the region as well as government agencies. Bishop Stuart University is currently running an Agribusiness Incubation Hub (AIH) established with a grant from the TAGDev Programme, a partnership between the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the Mastercard Foundation. The incubation hub at Bishop Stuart University aims to enhance entrepreneurial skills and employment opportunities of young university graduates. Specifically, it seeks to nurture innovative enterprises from students and ensure that they can succeed in an open and competitive market environment. In this regard, it collaborates with partners to mentor the young entrepreneurs while still at the university as well as build BSU’s capacity to achieve this mission. PUM is one such partner organisation.
Established in 1978, PUM senior experts is a Netherlands-based volunteer organization, committed to the sustainable development of small and medium-size enterprises in developing countries and emerging markets. The PUM senior experts work with entrepreneurs around the world to share their knowledge and coaching on a one-on-one basis, through short-term advisory missions. The first activity in the collaboration between Bishop Stuart University and PUM was a Professional Business Coach Training conducted at the university by Mr. Fred de Boer, a PUM senior expert. In total, 16 members of staff participated.
The first activity in the collaboration between Bishop Stuart University and PUM was a Professional Business Coach Training conducted at the university by Mr. Fred de Boer, a PUM senior expert. In total, 16 members of staff participate.
Note:The Agricultural Innovation Hub at Bishop Stuart University is one of several agribusiness incubation hubs being established across Africa with support of the Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev) Programme. Through the RUFORUM Agricultural Enterprises Challenge Program (RECAP), TAGDev awards competitive grants to universities to support development of a critical mass of young business leaders by providing a supporting environment where startups, innovations and disruptive ideas are fast tracked to service communities and nurture enterprises driven and led by the youth in Africa.
- University World News
Understanding the impact of grants at universities (Africa)
Since Africa’s earliest modern public universities were established on the continent in the 1940s, these institutions have struggled to generate adequate and sustainable funding. For the most part, universities on the continent depend on money from national governments; grants; donations from international donor communities and industries to fund their learning, teaching and research activities. But most lack proper institutional evaluation to record and track the outcomes of various grants after projects or programmes are completed. Usually, evaluations entail nothing more than a financial audit report and main outcome of the project. This approach does little to show how a particular tranche of funding has contributed to a university achieving its mission, vision and short- to long-term plans. But universities favour it because they pride themselves on being autonomous and self-regulating. For instance, in recent times some African universities have received grants to train PhD candidates in various fields. When the grants end, there’s only one key indicator: how many beneficiaries have graduated. This doesn’t take into account whether the project followed proper systems of accountability. It also doesn’t identify the various lessons learned from implementing the project. That means there’s no learning platform for future projects. I set out to study how universities in Africa evaluate funding once programmes or projects are completed. I also offered some ideas about improving this evaluation, and why it is so important. I argue that evaluation is a critical tool for decisions on improving performance. It also ensures that African universities are getting value for money from grants, donations and the like. For starters, it’s useful to identify where university funding is coming from in Africa. Grants are popular. So is financial support from national governments, Northern and Western universities. The international donor community is involved, too, and so are philanthropic organisations. Some examples from across the continent show just how varied and valuable grants are. In the 2015-16 academic year, the Office of Research, Innovation and Development at the University of Ghana received US$32 million from nine international donor agencies. In 2010, a grant profiling on the University of Ibadan in Nigeria’s website revealed that the university had 106 grants worth more than US$17 million – and that 101 of those providing the grants were international. The University of Nairobi in Kenya is not clear on the amount it receives from donors. But, of the 16 donors it mentions on its website, only one is Kenyan. So how are these grants and donations assessed? In the last 15 years many of the continent’s universities have established grant offices. Their role is to strategise and attract funds from external sources. But in most cases these offices don’t have clear ‘grant policies’ to guide their operations and the use of grants received. This lack of clear policy also means that programmes implemented under external grants can’t be properly evaluated by the universities when those grants expire. This isn’t always a problem. International donors almost always have systems in place to evaluate the use and impact of their grants. But industry donors and governments tend not to. So there really isn’t any way for universities to know if these grants are worthwhile, effective and add value.
Read more here
University World News
- When TVET fails to provide the answers (Ethiopia)
The Ethiopian technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system has well-organised components: an outcome-based system, cooperative training that involves industries and training institutions, and an assessment scheme that operates on the basis of nationally defined occupational standards. In addition to the development of a revised national TVET Strategy (2008) that accommodates most of the changes, a National TVET Council was set up to shoulder the responsibility of overseeing and coordinating the overall function and effectiveness of TVET at a national level. TVET as a sector is led by a state minister accountable to the minister of science and higher education. While a Federal TVET Agency has been set up to oversee the implementation of the TVET strategy, a Federal TVET Institute has also been established to assist in the upgrading of the skill levels of trainers. Despite carrying a long history behind it, the system appears to have made fundamental reforms in the areas mentioned only in the last two decades. As a result, the number of TVET institutions built across the country has substantially increased. Access has similarly improved, especially for women who now represent more than 50% of enrolment in the sector, though still in areas which are considered to be the traditional domains for females. However, the question remains as to how much these numerical and structural changes have been translated into significant quality outcomes expected of the sector. TVET is assumed to fulfil a variety of national goals. It is conceived as a primary tool not only to facilitate technology transfer but also to produce the middle-level skilled manpower the country needs to spur its industry-led growth strategy aimed at transforming Ethiopia into a middle-income country. As set out in the 2008 national strategy, TVET aims at creating a competent and adaptable workforce that would serve as the backbone of economic and social development. This objective is echoed in other country-wide strategies and development plans set by the government. In terms of operational plans the policy directions further indicate that 80% of those who complete secondary education are expected to be absorbed into the TVET stream. While this target has not been met for many years now, a more worrying trend that is surfacing is related to the output of TVET institutions. Counter to the aims for which it was created and the many expectations it raised, TVET appears to be failing in terms of delivering on its promises. One of the most common observations is related to the poor output of TVET institutions as regards addressing the demands of the economy and the low quality of graduates. The failure has been exhibited particularly in the mismatch between the skills needed in the job market and the training given at TVET institutions. This has led to a situation in which many TVET graduates are unemployed, even in areas where there is a particularly high demand for skilled manpower.
Read more here
- University World News
Predatory journals in the firing line (South Africa)
South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has begun clamping down on academics publishing in predatory journals, withholding at least ZAR62 million (US$4.2 million) in subsidies during the 2016-17 academic year, with further action on the cards once a study is completed, according to Mahlubi ‘Chief’ Mabizela, a senior department official. “Predatory publishing is a threat to the credibility of academic publishing worldwide. We withheld 574.86 units and the Rand value for 2016-17 was ZAR108,693 (574.86 units x ZAR108,693 = ZAR62,483,257). However, as much as this is the total amount withheld, it is immediately put in the same budget of the funding distributed to institutions, making the Rand value slightly higher,” said Mabizela, the chief director for university education policy and development in the department. That means, if an institution was affected by a predatory journal publication, it would not receive the units and the money for those units would be redistributed to the entire budget, Mabizela told University World News. He said the department has commissioned the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at Stellenbosch University to conduct a study on the quality of South Africa’s research publications, which includes predatory publishing. “CREST is finalising the report for submission to the department. The findings and recommendations of the report would be useful to devise strategies for dealing with the journals suspected of being predatory,” according to Mabizela. In their article – the first study to analyse the extent of predatory publishing in South Africa – published in the South African Journal of Science in 2017, Johann Mouton and Astrid Valentine found that 4,246 South African papers published in 48 journals were either probably or possibly predatory. “A few South African studies and reports have appeared in recent years which have suggested that predatory publishing is not only present but is in fact becoming more pervasive – at least in some disciplines. There has been a surge of interest in predatory publishing and its effects in recent years,” the academics wrote.
Read more here
- University World News
Regional incubators to tap research potential of academics (Africa)
Four of the 24 university-based World Bank Africa Centres of Excellence (ACEs) have been selected as sites for the establishment of regional incubation centres for East and Southern Africa aimed at fostering university-industry links and providing graduate students and faculty with a platform from which to commercialise their research. The centres, based in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, will each receive a US$250,000 from the World Bank as seed funding geared towards turning research findings and innovations into tangible and impactful products and services for the socio-economic development of society in the key areas of industry, agriculture, health, and education/applied statistics. Their establishment is intended to bring academia and industry closer together. The Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), a regional facilitation unit for the World Bank-supported Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE II) Project, selected the four centres from among the 15 that applied. They include the Africa Centre of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development (ACEESD) at the University of Rwanda; the Africa Centre for Research, Agricultural Advancement, Teaching Excellence and Sustainability (CREATES) at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Tanzania; the Centre for Pharm-Biotechnology and Traditional Medicine (PHARMBIOTRAC) at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda; and the Centre of Excellence in Phytochemicals, Textiles and Renewable Energy (PTRE) based at Moi University, Kenya. Over the five-year duration of the ACE II Project, the centres collectively aim to publish almost 1,500 journal articles, launch more than 300 research collaborations with private sector and other institutions, and produce other academic and research outputs such as patents. “The World Bank believes strongly in the innovation potential of African research, as a key lever in the continued economic development of the continent, and these incubations centres will serve as important hubs where the impact of research can be transformed to commercial opportunities. We hope these centres will be the first among many to follow,” said Dr Roberta Malee Bassett, senior education specialist at the World Bank and task team leader for the ACE II Project. The IUCEA and the World Bank believe that such incubation centres will also help to build important linkages between academia and industry to help galvanise business growth in priority areas. IUCEA received 15 proposals which were evaluated by an international team of experts with extensive experience in business incubation, start-up creation and successful commercialisation of innovations.
Read more here
- University World News
Universities urged to pursue their own research agendas (Africa)
The time has come for African institutions of higher education to pursue Africa-focused research with real-life impact rather than follow research agendas set by foreign funders. This was the view expressed by Professor James Gashumba, vice-chancellor of Rwanda Polytechnic, who said a lack of research by African institutions was a serious challenge that needed concerted efforts to be addressed. Speaking on the final day of the fifth regional forum for the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) held in Kigali, Rwanda, Gashumba said: “It is a serious challenge that Africa still lags behind in research; most research that is carried out also has the challenge of being dictated by foreign researchers who partner with Africans, and if they don’t understand the topic, they will not support it.” He said the time has come for Africa to stand up and do its own research which would require political will to invest in the sector and in closer partnerships with industry to ensure that more practical skills are acquired. “There is a need for Africa to revolutionise the way courses are delivered in our universities (both technical and higher learning institutions); we need technology and innovations to drive our education and we need to carry out more applied research which addresses our own issues,” he said. The PASET forum, which brought together experts from different fields including academia, focused on the fourth industrial revolution and its opportunities and risks for Africa. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s research report, Africa’s share of global research was 2.6% in 2014. This poor performance is the result of factors such as limited capacity and finance as African Union governments remain slow to deliver on their pledge to increase funding for research. “The research in most of the African countries is quite low; the scientific output is low. Second, there is the issue of lack of sufficient funding,” said Moses Osiru, manager of the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF), the PASET flagship programme aimed at increasing the number of African PhD holders.“Africa has set a target for at least 1% of countries’ GDP to go to research in science and technology but at present this is not happening; very few countries are meeting this target,” he said. Africa is also faced with the challenge of pursuing research that does not respond to the needs and priorities of the continent. Osiru said many types of research projects are short-term, like three years, whereas what was needed were more long-term projects of up to 20 years or so which have greater impact. He said Africa needed to think about differentiation of higher education. “We need research-intensive universities that can focus on research,” he said.
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- Morocco World News
Morocco Working Towards University Scholarships for All Students (Morocco)
The Government is working towards ensuring 100% of Moroccan students receive a university scholarship, the Moroccan Minister of Education Said Amzazi told Parliament on Monday. In response to a question about broadening scholarship eligibility in Morocco, Amzazi noted that 95% of students attending university currently receive a scholarship. Maghreb Press Agency (MAP) reported that, according to Amzazi, 382 000 students received a university scholarship during the 2018-2019 academic year. The number of scholarship recipients increased by 4% from 2017-2018; an extra 27 000 scholarships per year, he added. The Ministry’s scholarship budget has increased from MAD 540 000 in 2012 to over MAD 1.8 million in 2019 Each province of Morocco has a quota of scholarships to allocate to students who have completed their high school baccalaureate certificate. They can award scholarships to 80% of applicants, which means 20% of applicants currently miss out. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, Amzazi clarified. University education is seen by many as a ticket to a better life, in Morocco, or overseas. However, figures released by the Moroccan statistics agency (HCP) in April show the difficulties that Moroccan university graduates then face when finding employment. On average 17.2% of Moroccan university graduates were unemployed last year, with figures rising to 25.9% for students with postgraduate qualifications.
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- Daily Nation
Universities must brace themselves for major reforms (Kenya)
Kenya’s universities face a serious crisis and require painful reforms to survive. Issues of funding, quality, management and manpower deficit are threatening to cripple these institutions. It is momentous that the Commission for University Education (CUE) has been given up to the end of July to conduct an audit and turn in a report to guide reforms in the sector. If the tough-talking Cabinet secretary for Education George Magoha pursues this line, then we should prepare for painful tectonic transformations that will redefine the higher education landscape for the better. Cosmetic and platonic changes will not help. The changes should be far-reaching and define the sector for the 21st Century while aligning it to the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) that has been rolled out in lower primary school. Arguably, the university education sector has gone through enormous vicissitudes over the years. The past three decades have seen a major expansion of university education, growing from one public university in 1984 to 31 public universities and six constituent colleges in 2019. An additional 36 private universities have been licensed. It is the era of uncontrolled expansion between 2009 to 2016,that created the most serious challenges. With massive expansion, individual universities went ballistic in admitting privately sponsored students. To enhance their competitiveness, they also opened outposts all over the country, some across the borders. This market-competitive model stimulated useless competition across universities. What mattered most in this rat-race was the numbers of students admitted. There are indications that we drastically compromised quality. There is also evidence that not much of the money generated was ploughed back into the development of infrastructure to support learning. But universities are not to blame entirely for everything that went wrong. The thinking within government was that in the era of decreased State funding for universities, the policy would help generate revenue for public universities through privately sponsored students. This model introduced what I want to call academic capitalism. Universities moved to prioritise marketisation of their programmes and services. The results were disastrous. Public universities found themselves, unfortunately, adopting private values that are not in line with the age-old principles that govern knowledge generation, dissemination and social responsibility. Repercussions of commercialisation of education include the obvious quality problems. This has made it possible for issuance of fake degrees. The opening of substandard outposts and unethical practices has cheapened university education. If the CS is serious then, these are some of the issues to address. Universities did not anticipate and mitigate against possible risks.
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- The Mast
Towards a proposal to fund public universities in Zambia (Zambia)
Zambians should understand that the University of Zambia (UNZA) is an important institutional physician to help heal Zambia’s current economic infirmity. This is the main reason that UNZA must be at the centre of economic life in Zambia. Sadly, UNZA is a widow. UNZA itself is seriously sick. UNZA is in intensive care, in a coma. True to its new title of a widow (twenze bantu) UNZA is but the short last line of a paragraph hanging at the top of a page in our nation’s undesirable history. Therefore, we should begin at the beginning, which in this case is, physician heal yourself. I am saying this because despite assurances from government that salaries will now be paid on time, I am disgusted and flabbergasted thatsalaries to academic and support staff at UNZA are constantly delayed. Not long ago, I had sounded warning bells that professors will soon be reduced to council workers. That being said, without timely payment of salaries, professors are now academically castrated to the extent that they can no longer muster the missionary zeal to speak about the ailing economy. So, I am not surprised that UNZA is not at the epicentre of public economic policy discourse in Zambia. If there are any secret illuminati advising government on economic policy, they are probably thinking from their bellies, not their heads; hence the weird economic policies we see. A public university is a sine qua non for national development. UNZA is a public good. Its importance is even more compelling now as the world enters the 4IR, the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Countries that value economic development should also value public university education. Such countries accord their highest national accolades and honours to highly skilled individuals who constitute the professoriate. There are countries where professors are senior to cabinet ministers and are even issued with diplomatic passports. In such countries, universities are now hiring rarely skilled, multi-talented, multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary professors to prepare and lead national 4IR programmes. In Africa, these efforts are in line with the African Union’s new scientific dream that seeks to use our public universities as catalysts to re-establish a new Wakanda in our lifetime. Governments are creating pools of their most talented and rarely skilled individuals to lead national economic reconstruction efforts. Alas, due to ill-funding from government, what is happening in the public university sector in Zambia is against the grain. Our public universities can seriously interrogate our ailing economy. Instead of speaking truth to power so that we adequately fund our public universities, the country is superfluously fixated on hare-brained political teletubbies quick to leap to ad hominem attacks about their political opponents. If you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance. But, let me warn you, panga-wielding political nincompoops have never developed any nation.
Read more here
Le Partenariat pour les compétences en sciences appliquées, ingénierie et technologies (PASET) est une initiative pilotée par le continent africain avec l’objectif de renforcer les compétences en sciences appliquées, en ingénierie et en technologies afin de poursuivre la transformation socio-économique de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Le Fonds Régional de Bourses d’études et d’Innovation (RSIF) est le programme phare du PASET. L’objectif principal du RSIF est de former des doctorants et postdoctorants de haut niveau afin de pallier la pénurie en personnel spécialisé et qualifié dans les universités dans les domaines des sciences appliquées, de l’ingénierie et des technologies (SAIT) et de contribuer à l’amélioration des capacités de recherche et d’innovation dans ces domaines en Afrique subsaharienne. Le RSIF aide les doctorants, les scientifiques postdoctoraux et les universités d’Afrique subsaharienne à établir un environnement de qualité pour la formation, la recherche et l’innovation et à développer leurs capacités institutionnelles au profit de l’ensemble de la région.
Le RSIF est financé par des contributions des gouvernements africains, de la Banque mondiale et du gouvernement coréen; et mis en œuvre par le Centre international de physiologie et d’écologie des insectes (icipe) à Nairobi au Kenya en tant qu’Unité de Coordination Régionale du RSIF ( RCU-icipe).
Les domaines thématiques prioritaires du PASET sont les suivants : les TIC, notamment les métadonnées et l’intelligence artificielle; la sécurité alimentaire et l’agro-industrie; les ressources minières, l’exploitation minière et le génie des matériaux; l’énergie, notamment les énergies renouvelables ainsi que le changement climatique.
À propos de la Bourse de doctorat PASET-RSIF Les dossiers de candidats souhaitant bénéficier d’une formation doctorale de niveau international et d’un accès aux écosystèmes de recherche et d’innovation dans une université d’accueil africaine de PASET RSIF sont attendus :
• 45 bourses de doctorat RSIF sont disponibles pour les ressortissants de pays d’Afrique subsaharienne qui n’ont pas de doctorat et qui ne sont actuellement inscrits à aucun programme de doctorat.
• Les bourses couvrent les coûts du programme de doctorat, y compris les frais de déplacement, les frais de subsistance, l’assurance maladie, les frais universitaires, ainsi que le soutien des superviseurs et de la recherche.
• Les boursiers passeront de 6 à 24 mois en alternance dans une université, un institut de recherche ou une entreprise privée partenaire internationale ou régionale sélectionnée. • Les bourses RSIF seront attribuées en septembre 2019 et les études débuteront en octobre 2019.
• La priorité sera donnée aux ressortissants des pays d’Afrique subsaharienne qui souhaitent s’inscrire à temps plein dans un programme de doctorat dans une université d’accueil africaine de PASET RSIF;
• La priorité sera donnée aux femmes et aux jeunes professeurs des universités africaines
• Démontrer le potentiel de leadership, tel que le service communautaire dans des domaines liés aux domaines d’études du PASET RSIF
• Pour plus d’informations sur les exigences spécifiques du programme de doctorat et les critères d’admission pour les Universités Hôtes Partenaires (UHP) du RSIF, veuillez cliquer sont disponibles ici : Liste des UHP et programmes de doctorats
Modalités Pour le Dossier de Candidature Les formulaires de demande remplis et les documents justificatifs les accompagnant doivent être reçus EN LIGNE via le site Web suivant :LINK
Délai Date limite d’inscription : 22 Juillet 2019 5:00pm (GMT)
Veuillez adresser vos questions à: Sagal Abdulle, responsable des bourses de doctorat, Unité de Coordination Régionale (URC), icipe firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pour assister à une séance d’information sur la bourse de doctorat RSIF, veuillez Inscrivez-vous ici
The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) is an African-led initiative with the objective of strengthening skills in the Applied Science, engineering and Technology to further socio-economic transformation in sub- Saharan Africa (SSA). The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) is the flagship program of PASET. The primary objective of RSIF is to train high quality PhD and post-doctoral students to address the human resource gap of highly qualified specialists in the fields of applied sciences, engineering, and technology (ASET) and to contribute to improving research and innovation capacities in those fields in sub-Saharan Africa. RSIF supports PhD students, post-doctoral scientists and universities in SSA to establish a high-quality training, research and innovation environment and to develop their institutional capacity for the benefit of the whole region.
RSIF is currently funded by contributions from African governments, the World Bank and the Government of Korea; and implemented by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Nairobi, Kenya, as the RSIF Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU-icipe).
The PASET priority thematic areas are: ICTs including big data and artificial intelligence; food security and agribusiness; minerals, mining and materials engineering; energy including renewables; and climate change.
About the PASET-RSIF PhD Scholarship
Applications are invited from candidates interested in receiving international-quality PhD training, and access to research and innovation ecosystems at a PASET RSIF African Host University:
• 45 RSIF PhD scholarships are available for nationals of sub-Saharan countries who do not have a PhD degree, and who are not currently enrolled in any PhD Program
• The scholarships cover costs of the PhD Program, including travel, living expenses, medical insurance, university fees, and supervisor and research support.
• Scholars will spend 6-24 months ‘sandwich’ training at a selected international or regional partner university, research institute or private company.
• The RSIF scholarships will be awarded in September 2019 to begin studies in October 2019
• Master’s degree holders in a relevant field of study
• Citizens of a sub-Saharan African country willing to enroll full-time in a PhD program at an RSIF African Host University
• Priority will be given to women and existing young academic faculty at African Universities
• Demonstrate leadership potential, such as community service in areas related to PASET RSIF fields of study
• Further information on the PhD program specific requirements and RSIF AHU admissions criteria can be found here: RSIF African Host Universities and available PhD programs.
Completed application forms and accompanying supporting documents must be received ONLINE through the following website LINK.
Deadline Deadline for applications: 22nd July 2019 at 5:00pm (GMT)
Please address any questions to : Sagal Abdulle, Doctoral Scholarships Officer, Regional Coordination Unit (RCU), icipe email@example.com
To attend an information session about RSIF PhD Scholarship please, REGISTER HERE
Prof. Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo of the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin, has won the 2019 Young African Researchers Award. He was selected for “authenticity and quality of scientific research in the field of Agriculture and Food Sciences. The award was given to him by the Academy of Scientific research and Technology (ASRT) of Egypt.
The 2019 award was announced by the ASRT Council of the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology at its 173rd session in April. Funded by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, the award is given to young, non- Egyptian researchers from Africa to support scientific cooperation between Egypt and the rest of the continent. Two other researchers from Algeria and South Africa received awards in the fields of medicine and environmental science.
Prof. Achille is an agronomist and forester with a special interest in non-timber forest products, wild edible plants, orphan crops and crop wild relative species. He holds a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences and is a full Professor of Conservation genetics, Forest ecology and Ethnobotany at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin, a RUFORUM member University. He doubles as a visiting Professor at Université Félix Houphouët Boigny in Côte d’Ivoire, University of Costa Rica in Costa Rica and University of Florianopolis in Brasil. He is experienced in population genetics, ethnobotany, conservation and domestication of forest genetic resources.
Prof. Achille has been awarded more than 21 research grants and 9 at regional or international levels, including from RUFORUM where he is the Principal Investigator for a Community Action Research Programme Plus (CARP+) focused baobab value chain. The research is exploring the use of this iconic tree to address human nutrition and fodder needs of communities in Benin. Watch Video here.
The overall goal of his current CARP+ project is to combine both participatory research and capacity building activities to set a long lasting valorization scheme for the African baobab at a national scale in Benin. With a target group of Youth, Women and farmer Organisations, the project envisages to directly impact 300 farmers, 60 small and medium-sized enterprises involved in baobab leaves and fruit pulp and derived-products value chains, and 36 students through a better organization of the value chains while contributing to food security and conservation of the species. Read more about it here
Prof. Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo is a talented and well established scientist, consistently motivated by the need to produce innovative research and technologies for positive change in the society. He is currently the permanent Secretary of the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Agronomic Sciences at the University of Abomey-Calavi, and also the vice coordinator of the Doctoral Training in Natural Resources at the University. To- date, Prof. Achille has (co)authored at total of 162 scientific articles published in international peer review journals, 26 books and/or book chapters; 11 proceedings and 9 technical reports. He won 11 international prizes some of which include: the Ebi Kimanani Memorial Fellowship Award in 2008 (Peru), the Heinz and Johannes Prize for the best scientific research paper on ecology in Africa in 2009 (Germany), and a prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation in 2010 and now the 2019 Young African Researchers Award.
Asked how he felt about this award, he had this to say…
I am confident that doing a very good research will surely lead to the development and independence of African continent and this should be a must. As young scientists from Africa, we can do a lot for our continent and this should be also considered by my institution as a reality.
For Prof. Achille, commitment, rigor, perseverance and hard work are what define him and he believes that he has been to achieve all he has because of those principles
The RUFORUM Family Congratulates Prof. Achille for winning the 2019 Young African Researchers Award for the Authenticity and Quality of his scientific research in the field of Agriculture and Food Sciences.
- Original news article: http://www.asrt.sci.eg/index.php/all-news/item/387-3-prizes-for-young-african-researchers-from-south-africa-algeria-and-benin
- Professor Achille’s profile: http://labef-uac.org/en/team/achille-ephrem-assogbadjo/
- 2017 recognition by the Africa Science Report: https://blog.ruforum.org/2017/10/13/prof-achille-assogbadjo-recognized-for-his-outstanding-research-contribution
- Vidoe about Boabab https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy9rd1T2pok
- Prof. Achille’s Profile https://ruforum.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/achillie-a-e.pdf
Read more about University of Abbomey Calavi on their website
The Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev) Programme at Egerton University held its second National Forum from 12th to 13th March 2019 in Naivasha, Kenya. With the key objective of creating and promoting linkages between agricultural education, training, labour markets and policy makers, the National Forum brought together participants from several universities, Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions (TVETs), development partners, agricultural industry players in the private and public sectors and other stakeholders.
The meeting was graced by the Permanent Secretary in the State Department for Irrigation, Prof Fred Segor who was the Guest of Honour. Also present were the Vice Chancellor Egerton University, a representative from the Nakuru County Executive Committee on Agriculture, deans from faculties of agriculture in seven other universities in Kenya, and Senior Programme Manager at the Mastercard Foundation, Dr. Codou Diaw.
Under the theme “Sustainable Development through Innovative Agricultural Training”, the two-day meeting discussed various topical issues including university-TVET collaboration, enhancing agricultural productivity, institutional transformation, as well as improving the quality of education and employability of graduates.
An exhibition was held parallel to the meeting and attracted participation from TVETs such as the Dairy Training Institute, Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology, Baraka Agricultural College; the private sector and government institutions who exhibited their innovations and technologies.
National Forums (or RUFORUM chapters) are national mechanisms to ensure wide stakeholder participation in RUFORUM programmes. They are composed of representatives of RUFORUM member universities and other actors such as policy makers, national farmer organisations, national agricultural research and extension systems, and members of the Technical Committee for that country. Through these forums, the TAGDev Programme engages with stakeholders; particularly policy makers, at national level to influence Higher Agricultural Education policies and receive feedback from stakeholders on university and TVET programmes.
Speaking during the opening of the meeting, the Vice Chancellor of Egerton University, Prof. Rose Mwonya acknowledged the support given by the Mastercard Foundation to the university through the TAGDev Programme. She urged entrepreneurs to give back to the community adding that so far, TAGDev has reached 10,000 farmers through extension and industrial attachment.
The Guest of Honour, Prof Fred Segor, noted that such forums are important for bringing together agriculture players to achieve sustainable development. He emphasized that training, research and extension services are important in transforming lives and recognized the effort of institutions in collaborating with farmers and training them on new technologies.
On the side of the local government, Dr Amuyunzu who represented the Nakuru County Executive Committee for Agriculture, said that the theme of the National Forum was in line with the County Integrated Development Plan 2018-2022 and pledged that the county government will support TAGDev to enhance agricultural productivity in the county and the country as a whole. He pointed out that county governments are keen to collaborate with universities, however, they are interested in ready-to-use technologies that can be scaled out within a short time.
In response to calls for closer engagement between the private sector and institutions of higher learning, Mrs. Jane Kagiri, the Kenya Private Sector Association (KEPSA) representative promised to collaborate more with academic institutions by ensuring that KEPSA member organizations understand the key role internship plays in training of students.
Dr. Codou Diaw of the Mastercard Foundation, in her remarks, acknowledged that TAGDev has done a great job in bringing together innovation, research and community development and was particularly encouraged to see students reaching out to farmers in the communities. She urged the institutions to train students to be entrepreneurs and support them to scale up their innovations.
Participants at the National Forum concurred that the platform is an important medium for bringing together key stakeholders in agricultural training especially industry players and policy makers. The Forum highlighted successes in the agricultural training and innovation ecosystem in Kenya and made it clear that stakeholders in the food security continuum should carry out their roles diligently in order to achieve agricultural transformation.
Some key recommendations made were:
- Development of innovative ways to engage with industry, since key players may not be willing to spend time in topical discussions that do not directly impact their businesses;
- Design of a legal framework and restructuring of staff workloads for effective generation and commercialization of innovations by universities;
- Outlining transformation indices for agricultural universities and their graduates
- Integration of TVETs in achieving Kenya’s development agenda (the Big Four Agenda)
- Industrial attachment for students to put into practice the knowledge and skills learned
- Scale up and scale out of innovations to ensure greater impact.
The TAGDev Programme at Egerton University will engage key stakeholders to address these and other issues raised during the National Forum.