ACCRA, Ghana, May 16, 2018 – The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) announced today that the first cohort of 15 young African scholars – funded by its Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) – has officially embarked on ambitious PhD research programs at four renowned universities across the region.
The 15 researchers, four of whom are women, were selected to be in the first cohort. They will study at some of Africa’s most competitive programs in applied sciences, engineering and technology, focusing their research on some of the biggest challenges facing the African continent, including food security, information & communication technology, and materials, minerals and mining engineering. The young researchers will attend one of the RSIF’s four host universities: Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, University Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Cote d’Ivoire, African University of Science and Technology in Nigeria, and University of Gaston Berger in Senegal.
Hon. Minister Mary Teuw Niane, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation of Senegal and Chairperson of the PASET Board of Directors, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first cohort of the RSIF scholars after an extremely rigorous and selective process. We are confident that they will lead the way for African science, research and innovation and will be strong ambassadors for the program. We wish them the best for the journey ahead and look forward to hearing of their success.”
The scholars are being funded by several African governments who have come together to seed the pan-African RSIF, demonstrating their willingness to pool efforts to build the technical-scientific capability of Africa. In addition, the Africa Center of Excellence, SACIDS, at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania also joined forces to fund the 16th scholar under this cohort. The scholarship not only covers tuition and living expenses for up to four years, but will also offer scholars the opportunity to participate in a “sandwich” program, allowing them to conduct part of their research alongside global researchers at a leading international partner institution such as the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. Upon completion of their PhD program, scholars will also be eligible to receive further support for ongoing research and innovation initiatives.
More than 1,000 candidates applied to the scholarship program, and underwent a rigorous two-stage selection process that included an assessment by the host universities as well as subsequent interviews by an independent international evaluation committee.
The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) was launched in 2013 in recognition of the critical need to strengthen science and technology capacity for the socio-economic development of sub-Saharan Africa. The Partnership, which is facilitated by the World Bank, functions as a convening platform by bringing together African governments and the private sector as well as new partner countries who have been investing heavily in Africa. To learn more, visit www.worldbank.org/paset
The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) was established in 2015 by African governments to help create a highly skilled, technical-scientific labor force to meet the national development agenda and accelerate sub-Saharan Africa’s socio-economic transformation. The RSIF aims to create a strong pipeline of researchers in applied sciences, engineering and technology fields who can engage with development challenges and foster greater collaboration between African universities and local and foreign industries. The scholarship program was designed taking into account best practices of other scholarship programs, including technical assistance from the Institute of International Education (which administers the Fulbright scholars program). The countries that have currently made firm commitments to the RSIF and who are represented on the PASET Board are Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal and others have expressed strong interest in participating in this initiative. To learn more, visit https://www.rsif-paset.org/
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For more information about the PASET program visit: http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/paset