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The Association of African Universities (AAU) to implement PASET Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund: Launching Call for University Selection
The Association of African Universities (AAU) has entered into an agreement with PASET to serve as the implementing unit for its flagship initiative, the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF). AAU is now inviting universities that are part of the Africa Centers of Excellence (ACE) program to apply to join the RSIF.
The RSIF is being designed according to the highest standards of scholarship administration and governance, and the AAU was selected to administer the program according to these standards. The first round of RSIF will fund PhD scholarships and focus on degree programs within four thematic areas: Energy; Information & Communications Technology; Food security; and Mining, Minerals and Materials Engineering. The call for proposals will be formally launched on June 27.
The RSIF is a PASET initiative seeded by African governments to train a critical mass of PhD scholars in select scientific fields that are crucial for the development of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and to build the capacity of SSA universities to provide high quality PhD programs at international standards.
It plans to contribute towards training 10,000 PhDs in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology for priority sectors in 10 years, and building the capacity of a core of African universities to train these PhDs. RSIF will also build the region’s capacity to sustainably support those PhDs beyond their training as they go into academia, industry, or become entrepreneurs.
Eighty percent of the government-financed scholarships will be reserved for African countries contributing to the Fund (currently Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal). The remaining 20 percent will be open to students from other SSA countries. Due to the dearth of qualified faculty in many SSA universities, scholarship preference will be given to current faculty members who are not PhD holders. Female candidates will also be encouraged to apply.
How will RSIF be implemented?
The RSIF will be implemented through competitively selected African Centers of Excellence that have capacity to offer PhD programs in one of the selected thematic areas. Four to six Centers will be selected to be RSIF hosts in the first round with the goal of adding additional host institutions (not limited to ACEs) in future years.
The selected host institution will invite PhD applications using their own admission criteria and additional RSIF criteria (starting September 2016). The program will be advertised in advance so students can apply for PhD courses in September 2016 for January admission.
RSIF scholarships will support full-time PhD study for a maximum of three to four years, depending on the course of study. Tuition and fees will be paid directly to host universities, while stipends for food and housing will be distributed directly to the scholars.
RSIF host institutions will be selected based on the merit of their proposal. Applications will be reviewed by an advisory panel comprised of experts in the four designated thematic areas, and other individuals with broad knowledge of the four thematic areas and capacity in the SSA region. If selected, universities are expected to carry out their responsibilities consistent with their proposal and not substitute other degree programs for the awarded program. Key dates in the selection process include:
- Request for Proposal launch: June 27, 2016
- Proposal Submission Deadline: August 1, 2016
- Host University Selection Announcement: September 2016
- Student Selection: September – December, 2016
- Enrollment in PhD Program: January 2017
Who can apply?
- The institution should be an Africa Center of Excellence (ACE) selected for financing by the World Bank
- The institution should have run a PhD program in the concerned discipline (Energy; Information and Communication Technology; Food Security; or Mining, Minerals and Materials Engineering) for at least 5 years
Proposal submission by the eligible ACEs can begin after the launch of the Request for Proposals by AAU on June 27, 2016.
Why become an RSIF host institution?
Some benefits for RSIF host institutions include:
- Recognition across the continent as a premier institution for PhD programs in select thematic areas, having been selected through a highly competitive process.
- Access to collaboration with world-class institutions partnering with PASET, and to improving the quality of PhD programs through curriculum design, faculty training and exchange visits of students and faculty.
- Eligibility to participate in joint research and development and innovation networks through the research and innovation grant windows of the RSIF when they are set up.
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The Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) was launched in 2013 to support Africa’s socioeconomic transformation, by promoting the building of technical/scientific skills from upper secondary Technical/Vocational education and training to postgraduate education. It aims to achieve this through collaboration among sub-Saharan African countries, African business leaders, and countries in other regions, including new investment partners – READ MORE HERE