Twenty African PhD research scholarships awarded under the Sentinel project

Blog by Beth Downe, Senior Coordinator, IIED

Sentinel partner RUFORUM (The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture), has awarded 20 research scholarships to PhD candidates in sub-Saharan Africa through its second call for PhD proposals under Sentinel. A total of 27 research grants have now been awarded from the project.

The awards were made through RUFORUM’s successful Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) programme, which facilitates doctoral training for academic staff at African universities.

Launched in 2014, the GTA programme aims to increase the pool of PhD-level academic staff in African universities, provide opportunities for doctoral research to contribute directly to African development, strengthen inter-university collaboration in Africa, and promote staff mobility among RUFORUM member universities across Africa.

Proposals for research taking place in Sentinel’s three African focal countries were prioritised for funding; the 20 awards were given to 9 projects in Ethiopia, 4 in Ghana,6 in Zambia, and 1 in Uganda.

The doctoral research will focus on issues aligned to Sentinel’s research themes. As part of Sentinel’s capacity development programme, which aims to build the capacity of African and UK research organisations to design and deliver high quality, relevant and state-of-the-art research, the aim is to integrate the PhD candidates into the Sentinel project team and provide them with additional mentorship and/or training opportunities.

Dr Anthony Egeru, Sentinel Co-Investigator and Acting Deputy Executive Secretary for RUFORUM, said “this is a perfect opportunity for strengthening both the research culture in African universities as well as building a requisite cadre of PhD qualified academic staff in African universities that is urgently required”.