RSIF is a unique and far-reaching initiative, driven by African governments to accelerate the creation of a skilled and high quality labor force to propel Africa’s socioeconomic transformation.
An Africa-led Solution for an African Challenge
Today, Africa is home to 13.4% of the world’s population, but contributes barely 1.1% of scientific researchers in the world, with just about one scientist or engineer per 10,000 inhabitants. The resulting shortage of qualified faculty in African universities, especially in the Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (ASET) fields, affects the quality of graduates entering the industry workforce. With 11 million new graduates entering the African job market annually, this generation of talented youth must be equipped with the skills to develop African solutions for African challenges.
In 2015, PASET introduced the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF), launched by Senegal’s President Macky Sall with initial commitments from Senegal, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.
How is RSIF Different?
- Many current scholarship programs in Africa provide funding for training abroad, and while a good start, they are unable to train the required number of highly skilled technical professionals. RSIF will address this gap by enhancing the research, teaching, and innovation capacity of competitive African universities with ASET programs in priority fields.
- Most African scholarship programs are driven by international development partners and tend to focus on health and agriculture. RSIF is more sustainable because it focuses on a broader range of disciplines and is Africa-driven.
- To build research capacity in African universities, RSIF aims to tap the experiences of fast-growing economies through partnerships with their universities that have excelled in applied sciences, engineering and technology. It will do so through “sandwich” training options with its partnering international universities, incorporating both international and home-country study.
- Merely training PhD students is not enough: RSIF will help graduates from its PhD programs continue high quality research if they enter or return to university faculties. It will also train them to start their own business ventures and facilitate their placement with firms to help their entry into the workforce.
Who Benefits from the RSIF?
- Academic staff of African universities who lack PhD training.
- Young African scientists and engineers entering academia, industry, or the business world.
- African universities which will train the PhD students and become internationally recognized in ASET fields.
For each Call for Applications, the target group may vary.
How Will it Work?
RSIF will operate with three grant windows:
1: PhD Training
Targets new students as well as existing junior faculty in priority ASET fields
Facilitates recipients to undertake applied research to support priority development sectors within Africa.
Provides support to help recipients innovate for businesses or establish their own enterprises.
As a culmination of the first window, RSIF’s first cohort of PhD scholars at selected African universities with competitive ASET programs, is scheduled to begin in October 2017.
See how you can apply to become an RSIF scholar.
To learn more about how RSIF will work, download the below factsheet (PDF).