Vacancy at the AAU Secretariat: RSIF Project Administrator
Terms of Reference
Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF)
Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET)

Deadline 16th August 2016

  1. Background

The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) was launched in 2013 with the objective of strengthening the science, technology and engineering capability on the continent to further the socio-economic transformation of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). PASET’s flagship initiative is the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF). Currently three countries (Ethiopia, Senegal and Rwanda) are pioneering the initiative. Other SSA governments and the partners from the private sector, and other regions are expected to join the Partnership.

PASET_logo_smallThe objective of the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund is to contribute to creating an additional 10,000 PhDs in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (ASET) for priority sectors in 10 years and building the capacity of a core of African universities to train these PhDs.  The RSIF will also build capacity in the region to sustainably support those PhDs beyond their training as they go into academia, industry, or become entrepreneurs. The RSIF operates through three windows: Window 1, which will offer scholarships for PhD students; Window 2 which will offer research grants and Window 3 which will offer innovation grants.  Students from SSA countries, primarily faculty of SSA universities lacking PhD degrees, are the target beneficiary group of the RSIF scholarships.

The RSIF will be implemented through competitively selected Universities (RSIF host Universities) in sub-Saharan Africa, which have the capacity to offer PhD programs in the selected thematic areas. Strengthening the quality of these PhD programs in the RSIF host Universities in SSA countries through collaboration and partnership with Universities outside the region is an additional objective of RSIF.

The PASET is governed by a Steering Committee (SC) comprised of the Ministers of Education/ Higher Education of the contributing countries, which takes strategic guidance and key decision, and a Technical Executive Committee (TEXCO) comprised of representatives of these countries, which oversees the implementation of the decisions of the SC.

As a flagship regional initiative, led by African governments, the RSIF is expected to be implemented according to the highest standards of program and fiduciary management. An internationally recognized firm has been selected to provide technical assistance for the administration of the RSIF, including but not limited to, the procedures for application, and selection of students.

The Association of African Universities has been selected by the PASET SC to serve as the implementation agency to implement the RSIF in an efficient and cost-effective manner.  The RSIF’s first year target, as agreed by the SC, are as follows:

  • Create the implementation arrangements of the RSIF, including transparent governance and financial management mechanisms and strong monitoring and evaluation;
  • Select RSIF host universities in SSA countries to increase the number of students in ASET programs from baseline in 2015; and
  • Select and begin training PhD students in ASET programs.

RSIF plans to accept its first scholars in January 2017. A merit-based transparent competition to selected RSIF host universities will be carried out from August-September, 2016, and student selection by the host universities expected to be completed by December 2016.  The criteria and procedures for selection of universities and students are agreed with the PASET TEXCO, or where appropriate by the PASET SC.

RSIF will be managed by an Implementation Unit at the AAU. The RSIF Implementation Unit will be led by AAU’s Secretary General, who will act as the RSIF Executive Director and has overall responsibility to implement, monitor and report on the RSIF to the PASET TEXCO and SC. The RSIF Implementation Unit will be comprised of a small team including the RSIF Project Administrator.

The RSIF Project Administrator will report to the RSIF Executive Director (AAU’s Secretary General).

The AAU is looking for a talented, committed and energetic professional to take up the position of RSIF Project Administrator.

  1. Deliverables/Tasks of the RSIF Project Administrator
  2. Overall RSIF management
  • Develop the RSIF operational manual
  • Annual work plan and budget for the RSIF
  • Monthly financial statement
  • Detailed plan to advertise RSIF in Africa
  1. Expression of Interest to long-listed universities to host RSIF scholars (long list will be approved by PASET’s Technical Executive Committee -TEXCO and Steering Committee-SC)
  • EoI announcement
  • List of EoI’s submitted
  • Reviews & rankings of EoI’s
  1. Request for Application (RFA) from universities to host RSIF scholars
  • Request for Application announcement
  • List of applications submitted
  • Reviews, rankings of Applications by independent expert committee
  • Selection of universities for recommendation to TEXCO
  1. Timely disbursement of funds to universities and scholars and monitoring of student progress
  • Tuition fee payment to universities
  • Living expenses, allowances, travel expenses to students
  • Receive and monitor student academic progress and eligibility to receive scholarships
  • Key Duties and Responsibilities
  1. Implementation of the RSIF administration procedures, in line with inputs from the technical assistance firm, including preparing scholarship application documents and managing the scholarship application process. Under the guidance of the RSIF Executive Director (AAU’s Secretary-General), the RSIF Project Administrator:
  • Develops an operational manual for RSIF
  • Develops an annual work plan and budget that will be validated by PASET TEXCO.
  • Prepares monthly financial statements and coordinates an annual audit of the RSIF account together with AAU Accountant
  • Assists with the scholarship application documents (Phase I: Expression of Interest, and Phase II: Request for Applications) and coordinates the scholarship application process with host universities
  • Provides support in selecting the RSIF host universities, including the process for identifying the independent selection committee and ensuring the host university is selected through a transparent and merit based competition involving written assessments by multiple expert reviewers and on-site visits to finalist universities
  • Prepares an agreement for host universities and facilitates the signing process
  • Develops a database of RSIF scholars and liaise with alumni
  • Organizes and holds an annual RSIF stakeholders meeting to discuss progress and highlight success stories, and make presentations
  • Develops procedures and coordinates the scholarship web presence in partnership with the IT & Communication Officers and with inputs from the technical assistance firm
  • Assists in the coordination of visits of stakeholders to host universities and other events as planned
  • Supports the PASET stakeholders in planning and conducting events, including events to announce the competition
  • Prioritize work based on analysis of strategic importance, tasks outstanding, obstacles or barriers, budgets, resources, and deadlines
  1. Prepares agreements with universities, maintenance and monitoring of scholarship agreements, maintaining regular contact with RSIF host universities, students and alumni
  2. Acts as liaison and administrative point of contact between host universities, students and the public to provide information and resources regarding RSIF. Work with the PASET community to advertise the program in targeted countries
    • Serves as an administrative point of contact
    • Serves as the project subject-matter expert for RSIF
  3. Collaborate with the technical assistance firm on operationalizing the RSIF application and other procedures
  4. Maintains a monitoring and evaluation system and prepares regular reports for PASET TEXCO
  5. Maintains ongoing relationships with the PASET Steering Committee (SC)
  6. Performs any other duties on RSIF as assigned by the RSIF Executive Director (AAU’s Secretary-General).
  7. Qualifications, Skills and Experience
  8. Advanced degree, preferably PhD, in Management, Communications, Marketing, Business, or related field. Directly related experience performing similar duties will be an asset.
  9. At least five years’ experience in a development environment or other related business function in Africa
  10. Experience working with other funded higher education and/or human capacity building programs in Africa
  11. Experience in project management and project management tools
  12. Demonstrated knowledge of international scholarships, procedures and programs
  13. Demonstrated ability to maintain effective working relationships
  14. Excellent written and oral communication skills (both English and French required)
  15. Strong commitment to deliver on time
  16. Experience managing multiple tasks and complex projects with multiple partners and invested parties
  17. Experience living and/or working in another African country preferred
  18. Ability to maintain the highest degree of composure and confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times.
  19. Reporting Lines and Location

The RSIF Project Administrator will report to the Executive Director (AAU’s Secretary-General) and will be based at AAU office in Accra, Ghana.

  1. Terms of Appointment

Period:  The contract will be for a period of two (2) years, subject to a probationary period of one (1) year.   The appointment may be extended beyond two years, subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

  • Grade

Salary Grade: P1 – depending on qualifications and experience.

  • Selection Criteria

Required

The successful candidate is likely to have at least 5 years of experience working for a university, international organization, and/or local organization managing higher education programs in Africa.  The candidate will possess strong analytical skills, with experience in financial management; and a strong commitment, with openness to feedback and new ideas.

  • Experience working with multiple stakeholders, other RIU members to effectively implement multiple program tasks;
  • Proficiency in English and French;
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, demonstrated ability to work cooperatively with multiple stakeholders, and ability to liaise tactfully as a member of a RIU team;
  • Drive for results while working with limited supervision and under tight timelines;
  • Demonstrates the ability to take the initiative on developing creative and innovative methods to achieve RSIF’s goals;
  • Ability to solve problems rather than merely identify them; and
  • Ability to think innovatively and negotiate effectively.

Desired

She/he will have a good knowledge of fellowship/scholarship administration and a deep understanding of, and practical experience in student selection; and managing and maintaining an alumni database.

How to Apply

The AAU is an equal opportunity employer. As part of a conscious effort of the Association to always reflect the diversity of the African academy, women and non-Anglophone candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications should comprise:

  1. A statement of interest and fitness for the position
  2. An indication of the date of availability to assume duty. A detailed curriculum vitae describing applicant’s professional experience and qualification for the position.
  3. Three (3) reference letters, one of which should be outside the candidate’s home country

The application letters and supporting documents of candidates should be submitted by (i) e-mail, or (ii) hard copy in a sealed envelope marked “Application Documents”. Each of the three reference letters should be sent directly by the referee, by (i) e-mail, or (ii) in a sealed envelope and marked “Confidential Reference”.

Both sets of documents should be sent before close of business on Tuesday, 16th August 2016 addressed to:

The Secretary General
Association of African Universities,
African Universities House,
Aviation Road Extension,
P.O. Box AN 5744, Accra-North, Ghana
Tel: (233) 21 774495/761588
Fax: (233) 21 774821
Email: secgen@aau.org