The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) is an African-led initiative with the objective of strengthening science, technology and engineering capability in sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) to further its socio-economic transformation. PASET established a Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) to contribute towards the training of a critical mass of PhD and post-doctoral candidates, and support research and innovation in priority thematic areas: ICTs including big data and artificial intelligence; food security and agribusiness; minerals, mining and materials engineering; energy including renewables; and climate change. RSIF focuses on transformative technologies that have a far-reaching positive impact on society. It is currently funded partly 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 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 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.
icipe (www.icipe.org) is a non-profit research and development organization that was established in 1970 and is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with country offices in Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia. In 2018, icipe was competitively selected by the World Bank and PASET to serve as the Regional Coordination Unit (RCU) of RSIF with a mandate that includes overall coordination planning, monitoring and evaluation of RSIF activities including management of PhD scholarships, and research and innovation grants.
About the PASET-RSIF PhD Scholarship
The PASET- RSIF initiative is a competitive PhD scholarship program providing 3-4-year training for citizens of SSA countries at an RSIF African Host University (AHU) including, 6-24 months ‘sandwich’ training at a selected university, research institute or private company. Applications are invited from candidates interested in receiving international-quality PhD training. and access to research and innovation ecosystems at an AHU.
- 45 RSIF PhD scholarships are available to nationals of sub-Saharan African 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, 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 November 2019
Opportunity to participate in a competitive PhD scholarship program providing 3-4 year training for citizens of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries at Host Universities in Africa, and ‘sandwich’ training at selected international Partner Organizations.
- The scholarships cover all major costs of the PhD Program including; university tuition and fees, competitive stipend to cover living expenses, travel between to African Host University and home, medical insurance, supervisor and research support.
- Opportunity to travel abroad to work with global researchers at premier regional and international institutions as part of the RSIF sandwich program.
- Access to mentorship, leadership and capacity building opportunities.
- RSIF scholars will have access to competitive research grant awards by submitting proposals in collaboration with their faculty and international partners.
- Receive international-quality PhD training, and access to research and innovation ecosystems at an RSIF African Host University.
- Be a part of an expanding network of emerging leaders in ASET fields in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Applicants must meet the admissions and eligibility requirements of the RSIF African Host University in which are submitting an application;
- Candidates must hold a Master’s degree in a relevant field, and must be willing to enroll into a full-time PhD program at an RSIF AHU;
- Citizens of a sub-Saharan African country who do not have a PhD degree and are willing to enroll full-time in a PhD program;
- Priority will be given to women and existing young academic faculty at African Universities;
- Additional specific entrance requirements will be considered for admission depending on the eligible PhD program at the RSIF AHU selected by the candidate. 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
ICTs including Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
This involves use of information and communication technologies in a wide range of economic sectors, including big data analytics and artificial intelligence systems, computer programming, software development and their applications in manufacturing and service delivery.
University of Gaston Berger
Africa Centre of Excellence for Mathematics, Computer Science, and ICT (MITIC)
PhD in Computer Science
St. Louis, Senegal
University of Rwanda
Africa Center of Excellence in Internet of Things (ACEIoT)
PhD in Internet of Things: Embedded Computing Systems (PhD in IoT: ECS)
Food Security and Agribusiness
This includes sustainable food production systems, pest and disease control strategies, management of post-harvest losses of crops and new opportunities for agribusiness development. Other areas include new ways to improve soil fertility, conserve water for food and agricultural production, and enhancing nutrition for humans and livestock.
Sokoine University of Agriculture
Africa Center of Excellence for Infectious Diseases of Humans & Animals in Southern & Eastern Africa (SACIDS)
University of Ghana
PhD in Applied Agricultural Economics and Policy/Agribusiness
Minerals, Mining and Materials Engineering
This includes mineral processing and benefication, mining and materials engineering. Other important areas include new materials for construction, transportation, consumer goods, health care delivery and production equipment. Work involving nanomaterials and exploring novel biomaterials and related climate-smart materials would be of much interest as well.
Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST)
PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (MaSE)
PhD in Materials Science
Energy including Renewables
This involves new forms of energy as well as more efficient ways of using energy. Developing renewable energy sources, e.g. biomass, wind, solar, and geothermal are highly encouraged.
University of Port Harcourt
PhD in Petroleum and Gas Engineering / Energy Economics
Port Harcourt, Nigeria
University of Nairobi
PhD in Physics
This involves developing strategies for mitigating or adapting to climate change, including, for example, early warning systems for natural disasters and strategies for disaster management, modelling for climate change, and building climate smart or resilient systems for urban and rural communities and disaster-prone populations in Africa.
University Felix Houphouet-Boigny
The Africa Center of Excellence for Climate Change, Biodiversity and Agriculture (CEA-CCBAD)
PhD in Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Africa Centre of Excellence in Dryland Agriculture (CDA)
PhD in Natural Resources Management and Climate Change
Who is eligible to apply for an RSIF scholarship?
Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the scholarship program:
- Applicants must be citizens of a sub-Saharan African country who do not have a PhD degree
- Preference will be given to university academic staff who do not have a PhD. Women are especially encouraged to
- Applicants must be willing to enroll full-time in the PhD program
- Applicants must be willing to participate in the “Sandwich” training component of the program whereby students would complete part of their training at a regional or international partner university/ institution.
- Applicants must be admitted to one of the ten RSIF African Host Universities for the 2019/2020 cohort.
- Applicants must hold a Master’s degree in a relevant field of study in that is relevant to at least one of the five PASET-RSIF thematic areas: Information Communications Technology (ICTs) including big data and artificial intelligence; Food security and agribusiness; Climate change and Minerals mining and materials engineering
Are all RSIF scholars required to participate in a sandwich program away from the African Host University in which they are registered?
All RSIF scholars are required to participate in a “sandwich” training for up to 24 months at a regional or international partner institution/university. Students will be supported by the RCU to ensure that they are matched with a suitable institution that will allow them to continue their research pursuing solutions to African problems.
What characteristics should an ideal RSIF Scholar possess
Apart from the eligibility criteria, priority will be given to the following applicants:
- Junior African faculty/academic staff with 1-5 years of teaching/research experience but no PhD
- Have a compelling life history and academic trajectory
- Demonstrate a commitment to pursuing an academic career beyond the scholarship period
- Demonstrate leadership potential, such as community service in areas related to PASET
How many scholarships will be awarded this round (2019/2020)?
Up to 45 scholarships will be awarded in this second round.
I would like to apply for the RSIF scholarship. Which universities can I apply to?
The RSIF Scholarship is tenable at the 10 RSIF African Host Universities and within PhD Programs in the universities. Visit the websites below to learn more about each of the RSIF African Host Universities and eligible PhD programs:
- University of Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cote d’Ivoire/ Africa Center of Excellence for Climate Change Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture (CCBAD), http://www.wascal-ci.org/
- University of Gaston Berger, Senegal/ Africa Center of Excellence for Mathematics, Informatics, and ICT (MITIC), http://www.ceamitic.sn/index.php
- Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania/ Africa Center of Excellence for Infectious Diseases of Humans and Animals in Southern and Eastern Africa (SACIDS) http://www.sacids.org/
- The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Tanzania, https://www.nm-aist.ac.tz/
- University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, PhD Program in Petroleum and Gas Engineering / Energy Economics, http://www.aceuniport.org/index.php?lang=en
- University of Nairobi, Kenya , PhD Program in Physics, http://physics.uonbi.ac.ke//uon_degrees_details/1014
- University of Ghana, PhD. Applied Agricultural Economics and Policy/Agribusiness, https://www.ug.edu.gh/aea/
- University of Rwanda, PhD in Internet of Things: Embedded Computing Systems https://aceiot.ur.ac.rw/?q=content/phd-studies
- Bayero University, Nigeria, PhD Program in Natural Resource Management and Climate Change, http://www.cda-buk.edu.ng/
- Kenyatta University, Kenya PhD Program in Materials Science, http://spas.ku.ac.ke/index.php/departments/department-of-physics
Can I apply to more than one RSIF African Host University?
Yes, but you will need to complete an application for each RSIF AHU you are applying to.
In addition to the RSIF PhD scholarship application, should I also make an application for admission directly to the university of my choice?
No, you will be required to submit only one application through the RSIF online application system. Once the RCU completes the pre-assessment process, including checking for application completeness, all application materials will be shared with the relevant RSIF African Host University.
Can I apply to any PhD program at an RSIF African Host University?
No, RSIF Scholarships are restricted to a specific PhD program at each African Host University.
Are there any age restrictions for applicants?
No. There is no age restriction for applicants for the RSIF program, however priority is given to young faculty without PhDs.
Are sub-Saharan African citizens who reside abroad eligible to apply?
Yes, any citizen of a sub-Saharan African country may apply for the scholarship program.
Can I apply to study on a part-time basis?
No. Only students who are willing to enroll in a full-time PhD program are eligible for the RSIF scholarship program.
What are the financial benefits of the RSIF scholarship?
The program provides financial support for up to 4 years. Students admitted to the program will receive a stipend to cover expenses such as travel to/from home country, health insurance, living expenses, etc. The scholarship will also cover tuition, and some research expenses. Moreover, RSIF scholars will have access to competitive research grant awards by submitting proposals in collaboration with their faculty and international partners.
As an RSIF Scholar, would I be able to receive additional awards/funding/scholarships to supplement my learning?
Yes, you can receive other awards. If you existing scholarship award covers your tuition, you will only receive a stipend from the RSIF. If you award covers only a portion of your tuition, the university will adjust your unmet financial need accordingly and RSIF will cover the remaining balance. All other forms of award must be disclosed to icipe and the university.
Does the scholarship provide benefits for families?
The RSIF scholarship provides a generous stipend sufficient to support a small family. Current scholars include families with children.
Do I need to be proficient in both French and English to be eligible for the program?
Proficiency in at least one of the languages is mandatory. Please note that some universities offer courses in only one language. For this round, two of the universities selected are Francophone and the other are Anglophone
What kind of housing is available to RSIF students?
Please refer to the Host University website or contact a Host University representative for more details.
How will I receive my scholarship?
Tuition fees are paid directly to the university in advance, and the stipend will be sent directly to scholars personal account on a quarterly basis (every 3 months). These responsibilities are outlined in a Scholar Agreement, which each selected scholar is required to sign before the disbursement of the award.
How do I apply for the RSIF scholarship program?
Applicants should submit an online application and supporting documents to the RSIF Scholarship program available at this link: https://app.rsif-paset.org/rsif-applications-2019/index.php
How many references do I need for my application?
We require you to submit the names and email addresses of at least two referees who are willing to provide information on your qualifications and experience (professional and academic). We will request references if you are shortlisted for the scholarship.
How are RSIF scholars selected?
The RSIF scholarship is a highly competitive program that seeks to recruit students with an excellent academic track record, proven leadership skills and ambitious goals to participate in the long-term development of ASET fields in sub-Saharan Africa. RSIF scholarship applications will undergo a rigorous review and selection process including; eligibility screening, African Host University screening using university criteria; interview and final selection by a panel of thematic area experts and final endorsement by the Executive Board of PASET. An applicant will be successfully accepted into the RSIF program once the he/she has successfully made it through all rounds if selected.
Do I need to apply for admission to my chosen RSIF African Host University before I apply for the RSIF scholarship?
No, candidates are first required to apply for an RSIF scholarship. If you are awarded an RSIF scholarship, then you will be instructed to make an official application for admission to the university. You must meet the eligibility requirements of the university you are applying to.
When is the deadline to submit my application?
The deadline to submit applications is July 22, 2019, 5:00 PM (GMT). Late applications will not be considered.
How will I be notified of my application decision?
All applicants will receive final notification from PASET-RSIF via email correspondence by September 2019.
I am having trouble with my online application. Who can I contact?
For any technical issues, please contact Wilberforce Wanjala at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can I contact if I have more questions about the RSIF program?
Please send any questions via email to Sagal Abdulle, Doctoral Scholarships Officer at email@example.com.