By Abdi Ali
Published April 13, 2016
A scholarship to enable African researchers pursue doctoral studies in water, energy, agro-business and basic sciences has been created.
The initiative is the brainchild of a non-governmental organisation called Planet Earth Institute (PEI) and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to “create a new PhD grant programme for African students, and further the expansion of the Grand Challenges programme in Mauritius.”
The MoU, that was ratified during PEI’s Board of Trustees meeting on April 2, 2016, will see 10 PhD grants awarded in 2016.
Saying they “will deliver the programme with the assistance of private sector partners”, PEI and AAS say the arrangement “will help ensure that research is industrially-relevant and that researchers develop hands-on experience to ensure employment.”
The new partnership, PEI and AAS say, will also further the expansion of ‘the Grand Challenges programme’ in Mauritius. They describe ‘the Grand Challenges’ as “a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key problems in global health and many other fields of development for those most in need.”
The partners say the Grand Challenges programme “seeks to establish a portfolio of projects with complementary approaches that encompass multiple types of innovation, including innovation in life, natural and physical sciences and research, and extending to product development, and service delivery.”
Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chair of PEI, says of the programme, “Although Africa has experienced sustained economic growth over the past decade, scientific and technological output has not kept pace. If we want to ensure that our continent has the capacity to develop solutions to its greatest development challenges, we must dramatically increase investment in scientific research.”
“To ensure that all our citizens can share in the continent’s prosperity, we must not only invest in applied research that addresses current development challenges, but also basic sciences that focuses on long-term development,” says Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Vice Chair and Trustee of PEI and President of Mauritius.
PEI, that is headquartered in London (UK), with offices in Port Louis (Mauritius) and Luanda (Angola), says its “work is built around the three pathways we believe will help lead Africa to scientific independence: Higher Education, Technological Innovation, and Policy and Advocacy.”