In spite of the current industrial action by lecturers in public universities in Nigeria, aspiring scientists from University of Port Harcourt, Bayero University and select African universities will jostle for 116 PhD scholarships slots from Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF).
The doctoral scholarships under the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) will be offered in selected African priority areas in the applied sciences, engineering and technology, and are tenable at leading African universities across Africa.
Moses Osiru, regional coordination, Unit manager. RSIF notes that this is one of the greatest numbers of PhD scholarships offered by a Sub-Saharan Africa programme that fully covers costs for PhD training.
Aside from candidates from the University of Port Harcourt and Bayero University, candidates from universities of Nairobi and Kenyatta in Kenya, Sokoine University of Agriculture and Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Tanzania, University of Rwanda, the University of Ghana, Senegal’s Gaston Berger University, and Côte d’Ivoire’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny University will also be participating.
Osiru notes that the scholarship will cover costs of research, a stipend for up to four years, internship at an advanced research institution anywhere in the world, and tuition fees. Successful candidates will also benefit from RSIF research grants.
According to Osiru, “The competitive scholarships will contribute to strengthening teaching and research capacity in universities since the programme will prioritise teaching staff in institutions.
“The scholarships highlight the commitment of the founding members of PASET – the governments of Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire – to support the building of science capacity on the continent,” he said.
The organisers announced that 15 June is set as the final date for application, but the proper awards will take place in September.
“The selection process is expected to proceed smoothly online despite the COVID-19 emergency. The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), which hosts the programme, have in place measures to ensure safety of programme staff for continuous implementation during the crisis, Osiru said.
Since the establishment of the PASET-RSIF initiative, Ghana and Burkina Faso have also joined, while Nigeria, Benin, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Mauritius and Uganda have all expressed interest.
Each government makes a minimum contribution of US$2 million to the programme used for supporting PhD scholarships. Key external partners to the programme include the government of South Korea and the World Bank.
While students from across the continent are eligible to apply, the majority of scholarships will go to contributing member countries. Priority will be given to women and young academic faculty who do not have a PhD.
The scholarships cover a period of three to four years, including up to 24 months ‘sandwich’ placement at an international partner university, research institution or private company.