Water scarcity in Cote d’Ivoire attributed to Climate Change, Dr Yéfoungnigui Souleymane YEO’s research reveals

Climate change is a pressing issue impacting countries worldwide, and its effects are keenly felt across sub-Saharan Africa. In a pivotal study at Félix Houphouët-Boigny University, Côte d’Ivoire, Dr Yéfoungnigui Souleymane YEO, a recent Rsif PhD graduate (2024) from Cote d’Ivoire, highlights the impact of climate change on water resources availability.

Water scarcity is a growing threat in Côte d’Ivoire, with unpredictable rainfall patterns and rising temperatures leading to droughts and water shortages. Dr YEO analysed data on rainfall patterns, river flows, and groundwater levels across the country (Cote d’Ivoire).  This data helped him develop a clearer picture of how climate change is impacting these vital water resources.

Through the support of Rsif, Dr YEO has been able to access advanced research opportunities and collaborate with international experts at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development. This exposure not only enhances his academic journey but also equips him with the tools to make meaningful contributions to environmental policy and practice in Africa.

Dr. YEO’s work is a shining example of the impactful research being conducted by Rsif scholars across sub-Saharan Africa. The Rsif program empowers promising students like Dr. YEO to pursue advanced degrees in critical fields like climate science. This investment in higher education is crucial for equipping African scientists with the tools and knowledge needed to address the continent’s most pressing challenges.

The findings from Dr. YEO’s research will be instrumental in guiding future water management strategies in Côte d’Ivoire.  By understanding how climate change is impacting water resources, policymakers can develop more sustainable solutions to ensure a secure water future for the country.  This impactful research is a testament to the power of the Rsif program in nurturing a new generation of African scientists who are solving real-world problems and shaping a brighter future for their communities.

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories of how Rsif scholars are shaping the future of Africa through groundbreaking research and innovation.

Dr Mwende Mbilio, an Rsif PhD graduate, shines light on the future of solar energy

Imagine a world where capturing the sun’s energy is as easy as laying down a sheet. This isn’t science fiction – it’s the future our recent PhD graduate, Dr Mwende Mbilo, is helping to create with their groundbreaking research on Organic Solar Cells (OSCs). Her thesis, “Design of efficient and stable non-fullerene acceptor-based Organic solar cells by buffer layer modification,” tackles a critical challenge: Revolutionizing Solar Energy.

These innovative solar cells are lightweight, flexible, and potentially much cheaper to produce than traditional silicon panels. However, a major hurdle remains – their lifespan. Current OSCs degrade too quickly under sunlight and heat, limiting their practical use.

Mwende’s research tackles this challenge head-on. Her thesis focused on improving the efficiency and stability of OSCs by modifying a critical layer called the Electron Transport Layer (ETL). This layer plays a key role in collecting electricity generated by sunlight within the solar cell.

Here’s the ingenious part: De Mwende explored using commercially available ultraviolet resins to modify the ETL material. These resins act like a protective shield, achieving several crucial goals:

  • Enhanced Contact: The resins improve the connection between the ETL and the light-absorbing layer, leading to more efficient electricity flow.
  • Fine-Tuning Energy Levels: The resins adjust the energy levels within the cell, ensuring smooth electron movement.
  • Reduced Defects: The resins fill in tiny imperfections on the ETL surface, minimizing energy loss.
  • Improved Stability: The resins shield the ETL from sunlight damage and heat, extending the lifespan of the OSC.

The results are promising! By using these resins, Dr Mwende was able to significantly improve the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of OSCs, meaning they convert more sunlight into electricity. Additionally, the modified OSCs demonstrated better resistance to light and heat, paving the way for a more durable and long-lasting solar technology.

This research aligns perfectly with the African Union’s 2024 Year of Education theme. By tackling energy challenges through innovative research, [Student Name] is not only contributing to a brighter future for their home country but for all of sub-Saharan Africa. Stay tuned for more stories about our exceptional graduates and the ground breaking research that’s shaping a more sustainable tomorrow!

PASET Forum Concludes: A Call to Action for Africa’s Skills Revolution

The 6th PASET Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, concluded on a high note, forging a path towards a more skilled and industrialized Africa. Hosted in Kenya, the forum brought together delegates from across the continent, united in a common goal: leveraging Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to fuel Africa’s industrial revolution.

The forum celebrated a decade of PASET’s impressive journey, highlighting its success in creating a generation of PhD scholars tackling Africa’s challenges. However, ambitions stretched beyond past achievements. With 11 member countries already on board, the forum urged even wider participation, calling for more African nations to join this transformative initiative.

While acknowledging the importance of doctoral programs spearheaded by the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (Rsif), discussions emphasized the crucial role of TVET. Building on PASET’s original charter, the focus shifted towards practical skills training that empowers Africa’s future workforce.

The forum also acknowledged the need for sustainable financing to take PASET to the next level. A call for increased resource mobilization from various countries and partners was a key takeaway, emphasizing the importance of shared investment in Africa’s future.

Discussions then pivoted towards harnessing technology for the future. The need for PASET to promote TVET that leverages emerging technologies like AI and data science was highlighted. The forum recognized the importance of preparing Africa’s workforce for the 4th Industrial Revolution, advocating for strategic partnerships and investment in digital training infrastructure to bridge the technological gap.

Cutting-edge topics surrounding the green economy, the future of work, and their implications for African stakeholders dominated the forum. Discussions centered around PASET’s five thematic focus areas, which offered exciting opportunities for research, innovation, and collaboration: Food Security & Agribusiness, Climate Change, Energy & Renewables, and Mining, Minerals & Material Science.

The forum concluded with a powerful message: Africa’s prosperity hinges on investing in its people. The need to train skilled professionals who can conduct research relevant to both public and private sectors was emphasized. This investment in human capital will be the bedrock of a thriving African future.

The 6th PASET Forum was a catalyst for change, igniting a spirit of collaboration and determination, leaving delegates with a shared mission: to build a more skilled, prosperous Africa for generations to come. Now is the time to translate these aspirations into action. Let’s join forces, mobilize resources, and empower Africa’s workforce to usher in a new era of industrialization and innovation.

Shielding Africa’s Mobile Future: Dr Sawadogo’s Fight Against Android Malware

In line with the African Union’s 2024 focus on Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation (ESTI), our recent PhD graduate, Dr Zakaria Sawadogo, has made significant contributions to mobile security in Africa. His thesis, “Continuous evaluation of detection features of Android malware using machine learning,” tackles a critical challenge: safeguarding Android devices from malicious applications. This research is pivotal in safeguarding mobile devices, ensuring safer and more secure technology for users.

Understanding the Objective

The primary goal of this research was to explore how different parameters affect the performance of machine learning models in detecting malicious Android applications. This included analysing the quality and quantity of training data and the metrics used to evaluate model performance. Additionally, the study proposed new methods to improve the detection process, aiming to develop an efficient, large-scale detector.

Key Areas of Focus

One significant aspect of the research was understanding how imbalanced datasets influence the results of machine learning models. Imbalanced datasets, where some classes are underrepresented, can skew the performance of models. Dr Swaadogo found that balanced precision and geometric mean metrics were more effective in these scenarios. His paper on this topic was presented at the 24th International Conference on Advanced Communication Technologies (ICACT) in 2022 and published in the “Transactions on Advanced Communications Technology (TACT).”

Dr Sawadogo  introduced several ground-breaking methods for improving Android malware detection. These include Zero-Vuln, which uses supervised deep learning to detect new malware with 83% accuracy, and DeepMalOb, which identifies obfuscated malicious apps via memory dumping and neural networks, achieving up to 99% accuracy. Enhanced DeepMalOb combines security risk analysis with Multilayer Perceptrons for hidden malware detection, while a behavior-based analysis method uses AI to uncover obscured threats. Additionally, the UFILA approach improves detection through incremental learning, achieving 99% accuracy and earning the Best Paper Award at ICACT.

The Mid@ndro architecture was developed to enhance the detection of malicious software on Android devices. This middleware solution coordinates effectively between the Android operating system and the end-user, optimizing malware detection. A specific middleware, AndroSafe, was implemented to detect malicious software on Android devices effectively. This work was also presented at the 6th International Conference on Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence (CloudTech) and published in IEEE Xplore.

Conclusion

This thesis has made significant strides in understanding the impact of evaluation metrics and data balance on machine learning models, introduced innovative methods for malware detection, and implemented these approaches in a practical software solution. These achievements contribute substantially to the field of computer security and the fight against mobile threats. Throughout the course of this research, nine scientific publications in esteemed international journals were produced.

 

Our PhD scholars have demonstrated exceptional dedication and expertise, paving the way for more secure mobile technologies. Their work is a testament to the importance of continuous research and innovation in protecting our digital world.

Celebrating Women in Science: Inspiring Sustainability and Impact in Africa

Opinion

By Julius Ecuru

Today, as the world commemorates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we also celebrate the remarkable achievements of women scientists in our PASET Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (Rsif). Of the 282 doctoral scholars in the PASET Rsif initiative, 37% are women from more than 24 countries in Africa. This is a positive development considering that less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) data (2023). Getting more women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is widely regarded as critical to growth and development of sustainable economies.

Despite the numerous efforts aimed at achieving gender equality in STEM, several studies highlight that women in STEM fields have lower publication rates, unequal compensation, and limited career progression compared to their male counterparts. The challenges leading to this inequality are multifaceted and express differently in different contexts. But the common ones appear to be unequal opportunities for women to get in STEM, and perceptions about gender roles that overwhelm women with domestic responsibilities.

At Rsif, we intentionally work to address the imbalances in the number of women in STEM through outreach, sustained mentorship, and gender responsive programming. We have learnt that deliberate efforts in providing a gender responsive educational and research environment helps women scientists to achieve their full potential.

Recently, two of our distinguished female scholars, Christelle Arielle Mbouteu, a 28-year-old Cameroonian national pursuing a PhD in renewable energy, and Rehema Mrutu, a 33-year-old Tanzanian national pursuing a PhD in Natural Resource Management and Climate Change, were recognized for their ground-breaking research during the COP28 in Dubai.

Rehema’s innovative work focuses on developing a CRISPR engineered strain to reduce methane emissions in cows, thereby enhancing meat and milk production sustainably. Her award-winning research aims to optimize methane production to acetic acid conversion, a by-product beneficial for livestock, in efforts to ensure food security in Africa.

Christelle received acclaim for her outstanding contribution at the 12th Asia-Pacific Forum on Renewable Energy (AFORE) in Jeju, South Korea. Her research delved into the techno-economic analysis of various renewable energy systems, providing valuable insights for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Explore further details here.

Furthermore, Faith Njeru and Mwende Mbilo, both Kenyan citizens, received recognition at the 14th award ceremony in Kasane, Botswana for the L’Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science Young Talents Sub Saharan Africa Awards. Faith’s research endeavours to develop an affordable, efficient, and user-friendly paper strip test for plant disease detection utilizing novel molecules extracted from camel serum. Meanwhile, Mwende’s research focuses on enhancing the design of efficient and stable non-fullerene acceptor-based organic solar cells through buffer layer modification. Delve deeper into their remarkable work here.

We maintain that women play a crucial role in advancing science and innovation. It is imperative that we proactively cultivate female talent in STEM fields. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is certainly a moment for us to reflect on our commitment to increase women’s participation in and contribution to STEM for our socioeconomic transformation.

Julius Ecuru is a Principal Scientist and Manager, Research Innovation Coordination Units, icipe.

Jonas Bayuo, an Rsif PhD scholar, sets a new record for academic publishing at NM-AIST

In the realm of academia, the journey of Jonas Bayuo, an Rsif PhD scholar at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), stands as a testament to exceptional achievement, dedication, and innovative contributions. Within the short span of just two and a half years into his PhD journey, Bayuo has not only achieved a remarkable milestone but has also left an indelible mark on the scientific community.

Bayuo’s prolific academic journey is marked by an impressive list of accomplishments. He has authored 10 first-authored articles in reputable peer-reviewed journals, predominantly in Springer Nature and Elsevier. Notably, this is an unprecedented feat in the history of the NM-AIST and Sub-Saharan Africa, showcasing the extraordinary impact of his scholarly contributions.

Adding to his list of accolades, Bayuo has two accepted book chapters with Springer Nature and Elsevier, scheduled to be published in April and November 2024, respectively. His commitment to advancing knowledge is evident in these forthcoming publications, contributing valuable insights to the academic community.

Bayuo’s scholarly works have garnered over 445 citations from world-renowned scientists, reflecting the significant impact of his research. His h-index of 10 underscores the influence of his contributions in the academic sphere.

Pursuing his PhD under the sponsorship of Rsif at NM-AIST has elevated Bayuo’s visibility. He is now a member of the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and serves as a reviewer for numerous international reputable peer-reviewed journals. With over 56 peer-review records in 19 publications recognized and verified by the Web of Science, Bayuo actively contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Bayuo’s paper was adjudged as the best at the 2nd International Maji Scientific Conference 2023, organized by the Ministry of Water-Water Institute, Dar es Salaam. His outstanding presentation earned him the title of Best Young Oral Presenter, along with a well-deserved medal.

Bayuo extends his heartfelt gratitude to the management of Rsif RCU for the unwavering support throughout his PhD journey. The support rendered has played a pivotal role in his success, emphasizing the collaborative nature of the Rsif community.

Jonas Bayuo’s journey exemplifies the transformative impact of Rsif on the academic landscape. His achievements not only contribute to the advancement of science but also inspire the next generation of scholars to reach new heights in their pursuit of knowledge. The Rsif community takes pride in Bayuo’s accomplishments and looks forward to witnessing the continued brilliance of scholars under its wings.

Rsif PhD scholar explores groundbreaking solution for climate change mitigation.

Rsif PhD student, Mr. Ishaq Kaarim, is exploring a groundbreaking solution that uses agricultural residues to mitigate climate change. In a paper recently published in the Journal of Bioresource Technology of Impact Factor of 11.4, Ishaq describes a method of producing biocrude, an essential feedstock in ethanol production, from orange peels. The paper explores the synergetic effects of sub/supercritical conditions of ethanol and acetone to achieve a higher heating value (HHV) of biocrude efficiently. While previous studies have focused on the temperature and residence time effects, the comprehensive exploration of the organic solvents’ influence on biocrude properties remains a novel endeavor.

Ishaq is pursuing a PhD in Material Science and Engineering at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania. NM-AIST is one of the 15 Rsif African Host Universities.

In Muheza district, Tanga region of Tanzania, orange cultivation stands out as a significant contributor to both household income and revenue for the district. However, processing of oranges into fruit juice generates a substantial byproduct – orange peels. These peels, rich in cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose, emerge as an untapped resource for biofuel production. Beyond the economic value of citrus fruits, the need to convert orange peels into viable products becomes imperative to curb indiscriminate burning of solid waste and presents a new avenue for economic growth, while mitigating climate change. Biocrude production from orange peels promotes sustainable agricultural practices, turning agricultural residues into a source of renewable energy.

Ishaq’s study opens new frontiers and future research on the feasibility of biofuel production from agricultural residues. It widens opportunities for developing alternative sources of energy apart from fossil fuels, which account for large carbon emissions globally. It potentially also provides solutions for reducing environmental pollution from solid waste, which are often damped in landfills.

Ishaq’s work underscores the pivotal role played by Rsif in fostering a culture of innovation and scientific inquiry. Rsif scholars like Ishaq benefit from science paper writing courses delivered by icipe, which enables them to publish important work in high impact scientific journals. To date, 191 scientific articles are on record by Rsif PhD students published in highly reputable journals and available through the Digital Repository on the Rsif website.


The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (Rsif) is a flagship initiative of the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) that bridges the skills gap needed for a science, technology and innovation-led growth and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Current funders include nine African governments contributing between USD 1-6 million each (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Senegal); World Bank, Government of Korea, Samsung Dream Foundation, Government of France, the ACP Innovation Fund financed by the European Union through the Organisation for African, Caribbean

and Pacific States (OACPS) and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Rsif is open to new partners across industry, government and academia.

Why Rsif matters:

  • High quality PhD training: Combining intra-Africa academic exchange and international partnerships for world-class doctoral training.
  • Wider academic and research network: Research placement at an advanced institution for exposure to cutting-edge technologies and connecting with global research networks.
  • Regional integration within Africa: Strengthening centers of excellence and innovation ecosystems for benefit of the whole region.
  • Better economies of scale: A pan-African partnership, and a jointly pooled science fund professionally managed by the Rsif Regional Coordination Unit at icipe.

Rsif scholars recognized for their research contribution to a sustainable future

During global talks on climate change mitigation and adaptation at the recently concluded COP28 in Dubai, Rsif scholars Christelle Arielle Mbouteu Megaptche and Rehema Mrutu were recognized for their research contribution to a sustainable future. Christelle (28 years) is a Cameroonian national pursuing a PhD in renewable energy at the Department of Physics, University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya with research placement to the Korea Institute of Energy Research in Korea and Rehema (33 years) is a Tanzanian national pursuing a PhD in Natural Resource Management and Climate Change at the Centre of Dryland Agriculture at Bayero University Kano, Nigeria with research placement at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in USA. Rehema was selected as a winning candidate at the Climate, Food and Farming Global Research Alliance Development (CLIFF-GRADS) award at the COP28 in Dubai.  CLIFF-GRADS is a joint initiative of the Mitigate+: Research for Low Emissions Food Systems of the CGIAR and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).

Rehema is developing a CRISPR engineered strain to cut down methane emissions in cows and improve meat and milk production.  The award aims to advance one of her research objectives on developing cheap and efficient means to divert the key substrate “hydrogen” in methane production to acetic acid, which is a by-product that can be used by the cow to improve meat and milk production. Rehema believes these data are urgently needed for researchers to decide on which microorganisms in the rumen needs manipulation to both develop long term methane mitigations measures and ensure food security. The CLIFF-GRADS award comes with a grant of USD 14,000 for a 4-6 months research stay at The University of Connecticut, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology in USA.

Christelle on the other hand received a Best Paper Award for outstanding contribution to the 12th Asia-Pacific Forum on Renewable Energy (AFORE), held in Jeju, South Korea from 7-11 November 2023 with Theme: Pathways to Carbon Neutrality 2050. Her presentation was on Techno-Economic Comparative Analysis of Photovoltaic Panel/Wind Turbine/ Hydrogen Storage, Photovoltaic Panel/Wind Turbine/Battery Systems for Powering a Simulated House including Hydrogen Vehicle Load at Jeju Island (published in MDPI’s Energies journal here). Christelle is financed by the Government of Korea through a PASET-Rsif scholarship, and her research placement is at the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) in South Korea.

Christelle’s PhD research work has also been published in the Journal Energy Conversion and Management (Impact factor of 10:4) here. One of the causes of frequent power outages in developing countries is the global mismatch between supply and demand, which can have devastating effects. The study highlights the techno-economic and environmental significance of using a supercapacitor (SC) as a backup in contrast to a diesel generator (DG), as well as the validation of its compatibility with storage batteries because of the provision of a robust energy management approach.

Christelle hopes that her research will provide insights into reducing frequent load shedding in Cameroon, which often leads to power surges that destroy equipment, cause fires, disrupt education services and the proper functioning of health care services.

“In Africa, our journey towards clean energy is not just a possibility; it’s an imperative. Our rich natural resources are the key to sustainable, accessible energy for all, shaping a greener, brighter future. I believe we can do it. Christelle Arielle Mbouteu Megaptche, Rsif scholar in Energy including renewables.

Christelle’s PhD supervisory team includes Prof. Bernard Aduda (UoN), Dr. Hanki Kim (KIER), Prof. Sebastian Waita (UoN) and Dr. Peter Moses Musau (South Eastern Kenya University).

Korea contributes to the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (Rsif) of the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET), since 2018. Its contribution of USD 9 million is to train Sub-Saharan African PhD students and to provide grants for research and innovation projects in strategic high potential sectors. Through PASET-Rsif Korea builds strong institutions and future science leaders to drive a science and technology-led growth and development to the mutual benefit of Africa, Korea and the world. The strong partnership between the Government of Korea, universities and PASET-Rsif contributes to boost exchange between African and Korean universities, researchers and faculties in the science and technology area.

Rsif combines intra-Africa academic exchange and international partnerships for world-class doctoral training. Research placement at an advanced institution gives exposure to cutting-edge technologies and nurtures connections with global research networks.  Moreover, Rsif promotes Africa regional integration, strengthening centers of excellence and innovation ecosystems. The design of Rsif as a Pan-African partnership and a jointly pooled science fund gives better economies of scale and is professionally managed by the Rsif Regional Coordination Unit at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe).

Best paper award ceremony

Photos: (1) Rsif scholar Christelle Arielle Mbouteu Megaptche (on the right) received a Best Paper Award at the 12th Asia-Pacific Forum on Renewable Energy (AFORE) in Jeju, South Korea; (2) Rsif scholar Rehema Mrutu (in the lab) received a CLIFF-GRADS award during COP28 in Dubai. PhD student in the lab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Rsif female PhD scholars receive the 2023 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa Award


Each year, the L’Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science Young Talents Sub Saharan Africa Awards recognize and support African women scientists for the excellence of their scientific research. Two Rsif cohort 2 students, Faith Njeru and Mwende Mbilo, who are both Kenyan citizens, were honored at the 14th award ceremony in Kasene, Botswana in the presence of His Excellency Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana, and aired on CNBC Africa on 9 November 2023.  Their remarkable accomplishment sets them apart from a formidable pool of 632 applicants, making them beacons of inspiration and achievement in the field of science.

Faith Njeru (33) is an Rsif PhD student in the food security and agribusiness thematic area at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania, one of Rsif’s African Host Universities (AHUs). Her international research placement is at Ghent University in Belgium. She was rewarded for her work on developing novel diagnostics to conserve Kenya’s maize crops.

“Early detection leads to less food loss, leading to food security and increased earnings for the farmers and the seed companies,” Faith told University World News. She explained that her research is aimed at developing a cheap, effective, easy-to-use paper strip test for plant disease detection based on novel molecules obtained from the serum of camels. The test will be used by farmers, seed companies and plant protection agencies to detect diseases early and initiate early-warning campaigns to help reduce crop loss. Her published scientific works are available through the Rsif digital repository.

Mwende Mbilo (30) is an Rsif PhD student in the energy including renewables thematic area at University of Nairobi with research placement to the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT). She was rewarded for Iinnovating science to improve solar energy solutions in Kenya.

Her PhD research is on the Design of efficient and stable non-fullerene acceptor-based organic solar cells by buffer layer modification. Under the guidance of Prof. Robinson J. Musembi, she is a member of the research team implementing an Rsif funded research project on a Self-cleaning solar module for enhanced output and she also contributed to the UoN Department of Physics’ Research and development of photovoltaics based on lead-free perovskite solar cell technology. She has published 7 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Rsif is a flagship initiative of the African government-led Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) that bridges the skills gap needed for a science, technology and innovation-led growth and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa.  An integrated objective is addressing imbalances in the number of women and nurturing Africa’s next generation of female scientists. Icipe, the Rsif Regional Coordination Unit, emphasize high quality science.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Young Talents programs aim to empower women scientists to pursue their career, and more broadly to promote and highlight the crucial importance of women in science. Along with the other winners, Faith Njeru and Mwende Mbilo had a chance to engage with the First Lady of Botswana, H.E. Mrs Neo Jane Masisi, and more than 150 school students in an intergenerational conversation and knowledge exchange. Women role models are important to inspire the younger generation.

The PhD candidate winners will receive a grant of Euro 10,000 to conduct their research projects and also benefit from leadership training by Fondation L’Oréal.

Read more in the Press Release on the event by L’Oréal Foundation.

World Bank and icipe to conduct a Technical Implementation and Review Mission for Rsif

The World Bank, icipe and members of the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (PASET) Executive Board will conduct a technical Implementation Support Mission (ISM) from 25-26 October 2023 at icipe Duduville Campus (and online) in Nairobi, Kenya, to review implementation progress of the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (Rsif).

The ISM aims to i) Review the progress of each Rsif component including Rsif PhD scholarships, research and innovation grants, and other crosscutting capacity building and implementation issues and identify any emerging challenges; ii) Review fiduciary and safeguards aspects of the project; and iii) Review progress towards achieving each indicator in the results framework.

Rsif, the flagship program of the PASET, which aims at fostering competencies and skills to support the growth of key economic sectors and drive Africa’s socio-economic transformation. The Rsif program focuses on building high-quality training, research, and innovation environments, as well as developing institutional capacity in SSA to benefit the entire region. It also supports PhD students, post-doctoral scientists, and universities in SSA, with the goal of advancing research and innovation in priority economic sectors.

Through the support of African governments, the World Bank, the Government of Korea, and the European Union through the ACP Innovation Fund, Rsif has 253 active PhD scholars, 29 international partner institutes (IPIs) and 15 African Host Universities (AHUs), which host Rsif-sponsored PhD scholars in designated PhD programs within the universities in the areas of data science and artificial intelligence, food security and agribusiness, energy including renewables, mining, minerals and materials science and climate change. Rsif has supported 31 research projects and 18 innovation projects in the various AHUs as well as 9 digital innovation projects for agriculture through the EU funded AGriDi project.

The World Bank, icipe and its partners will also conduct visits to selected African host Universities (AHUs) in November 2023, to meet with students, staff and the private sector to review research and innovation grant projects financed through Rsif and pay courtesy calls to the Vice-Chancellors of these universities.

The visit is a significant step towards achieving PASET’s goal of promoting socio-economic transformation in sub-Saharan Africa through the strengthening of applied sciences, engineering, and technology; and also serves as an opportunity for stakeholders to interact and discuss the progress and challenges of implementing the program.

The Rsif program is currently funded by African governments, the World Bank, the Government of Korea, and the European Union through the ACP Innovation Fund. It is managed by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya, serving as the Rsif Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU). With the aim of establishing the first Africa-led Pan-African science fund, Rsif invites additional funders and partners to join this important initiative.

For additional information on Rsif and PASET, please visit www.rsif-paset.org| Kindly sign up for our newsletter for Rsif news.

Contact: Rsif Regional Coordination Unit Emailrsif@icipe.org Phone: 254 (20) 8632000