The Helmholtz Center Hereon, Germany partners with the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (Rsif)

Sakina Kahindi
06 Oct 2023 0

The Helmholtz Center Hereon, Germany has joined the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (Rsif) as an International Partner Institution (IPI). Hereon joins 28 other Rsif IPIs to widen Rsif scholar-sandwich placements in advanced research facilities abroad. Rsif scholars visiting Hereon will study alongside world class experts the Department of Experimental Materials Mechanics, which home to the ultramodern electron microscopes and ex-situ/in-situ micromechanical testing devices, used for investigating structure-property relations in a wide variety of materials. Scholars will also experience the unique academic and research culture of Hereon and broaden their perspectives as young researchers.

Rsif IPIs are world class universities, research institutes/centres or companies (public or private) with advanced research and training facilities willing to offer research internship opportunities to Rsif PhD scholars registered at the Africa Host Universities (AHUs). See other Rsif IPIs here.

As an IPI, Hereon will contribute to strengthening institutional capacity for doctoral training, research, and innovation particularly in food systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Through sandwich placement in international training programs, Rsif scholars gain exposure to diverse research environments, collaborate with experts from different cultures, access specialized resources, and foster personal and professional growth. The importance of this “sandwich” training option lies in its ability to cultivate a global perspective, allowing the scholars to thrive in a competitive academic landscape. It also facilitates cross-cultural communication, enhances interdisciplinary collaborations, and broadens horizons through engagement with diverse research methodologies.

“Hereon specifically focuses on the generation of knowledge and new/sustainable technologies that facilitate the development of high-performance and environmentally friendly materials for mobility and biomedical applications. Rsif scholars will immensely benefit from Hereon through access to modern equipment for their research, consequently increasing possibilities for enhancing their research/findings and increasing their publication output/quality. They can also expect support, engagement and collaboration with expert scientists at Hereon”.

~ Dr. Henry Ovri, Head, Nanomechanical testing and Deputy Head, Experimental Materials Mechanics Department, Hereon, 2023.

Scholars benefit from advanced facilities, cutting-edge equipment, and unique resources available at partner universities, enriching their research projects. As they navigate international academic systems, the scholars develop adaptability, resilience, and a global outlook, positioning them as exceptional researchers with international recognition and credibility. This forward-thinking approach not only elevates the quality of research outcomes but also opens doors to global career prospects and prestigious fellowships or grants. Through this initiative, the academic community remains steadfast in its commitment to nurturing the next generation of exceptional scholars and advancing research excellence on a global scale.

Rsif aims to enhance research capacity in the region by prioritizing scholarships for African faculty members lacking a PhD. The program emphasizes collaboration with academic institutions, investors, governments, and other stakeholders in sub-Saharan Africa to integrate specialized knowledge and transfer it to future generations. Recent partnerships have considered the language diversity among Rsif doctoral students, with contributions from governments in Francophone Western Africa and Lusophone Southern Africa.

Rsif, launched in 2015, is the flagship program of the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (PASET). PASET is an African-led initiative aimed at fostering competencies and skills to support the growth of key economic sectors and drive Africa’s socio-economic transformation. Rsif focuses on building high-quality training, research, and innovation environments, as well as developing institutional capacity in SSA to benefit the entire region. The program supports PhD students, post-doctoral scientists, and universities in SSA, with the goal of advancing research and innovation in priority economic sectors.

Rsif utilizes scholarships and research grants to enhance the quality and relevance of PhD programs, ensuring the continuity and sustainability of research and innovation once scholars graduate. The 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.