Future scientists: Participants at the RUFORUM training in Scientific Data Management. Second left is RUFORUM’s Training and Quality Assurance Manager, Dr. Solange Uwituze

RUFORUM in collaboration with the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI) – USAID Feed the Future Programme, organised a training on Scientific Data Management (SDM) from 30th  March to  4th  April 2015 at Hilux Hotelin  in Morogoro, Tanzania. The training is one of the core activities under iAGRI’s capacity building component. It targeted the third cohort of iAGRI sponsored students who are currently at the stage of data collection and analysis stage of their research.

The SDM course aimed at equipping postgraduate students with skills and knowledge in software use (GenStat & SPSS) in data analysis, and presentation of results in a format that would ensure their wide dissemination as peer reviewed publications and for policy formulation. Specific objectives of the course were to provide participants with:

  1. statistical knowledge in design, analysis and result interpretation of experiments/surveys to agricultural, socio-economics and other biophysical studies;
  2. ability to manage complex data, analyse data using statistical software and interpret results objectively;
  3. skills to manage every component of their theses in order to complete studies within the specified timeframe;
  1. skills to produce manuscripts for publication that contain sound statistical facts.

A total of 18 participants attended the 5-day training facilitated by Dr Suzan Balaba Tumwebaze from Makerere University and Dr Vincent Oeba from Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI). The training took a demand-driven approach. It focused on the students’ needs and key gaps in SDM identified in a training needs assessment done three days earlier. Overall, students appreciated the course deeply. They recommended that it be organised immediately after they leave their host universities to start data collection. This would enable them to design their data collections tools and techniques properly

Scientific Data Management trainings are part of RUFORUM’s Postgraduate Training and Quality Assurance portfolio to enable scientists develop, gain, maintain and advance necessary skills in their respective areas of expertise. The multiplier effects realized through these trainings have improved the overall quality of the final RUFORUM product we want to see – the graduate student who fits in well in every niche of the economy.

About iAGRI: The Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI) is a partnership between the Ohio State University Consortium, Tanzania’s Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Tanzania’s National Agricultural Research System and RUFORUM. It aims to strengthen training and collaborative research capacities of SUA and the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives with the goal of improving food security and agricultural productivity in Tanzania. For more information, visit:


IntraACPThe Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is collaborating with its consortium members in the implementation of INTRA ACP Mobility Scheme which supports the higher education cooperation between countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the pacific (ACP). The scheme aims to promote sustainable development and poverty alleviation by increasing the availability of trained and qualified high-level professional manpower in the ACP countries. The program builds on the African Union’s Mwalimu Nyerere Programe for Africa with funding from the European Commission.

Applications are invited from eligible candidates for the two Intra ACP Mobility Projects listed below. Interested and eligible students must apply and submit their application with all essential documents. The projects provide scholarship resources and opportunities for students and staff mobility from regions of Africa offering support for Masters, Doctoral studies and as well as staff exchange.

The details of the projects and Application link

  1. Inter- University Cooperation to Train Crop Scientists for African Agriculture (CSAA) is in a partnership of 13 African Universities in Eastern, Central, Southern and Western Africa led by Makerere University in Uganda. The members of this partnership are University of Pretoria (South Africa), Mzuzu University (Malawi), University of Juba (South Sudan), University of Free State (South Africa), Makerere University (Uganda), University of Abomey Calavi (Benin), Universite Cheikh Auta Diop de Dakar (Senegal), Mekelle University (Ethiopia), University of Ghana, Legon (Ghana), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique) . The project has 28 scholarships to offer of which 10 are PhDs and 18 MScs. Deadline is 18th April 2015 ( see for application details)


  1. Sharing Capacity to Build Capacity for Quality Graduate Training in Agriculture in African Universities (SHARE) led by Makerere University – an Intra-ACP Mobility Scheme supported project with the 12 partner universities in Eastern, Central, And Southern and Western Africa. These include, Stellenbosch University – South Africa, University of Cape Coast -Ghana, University of Port Harcourt – Nigeria, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR)- Malawi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) – Kenya, Eduardo Mondlane University – Mozambique, Makerere University- Uganda, University of Zambia – Zambia (see for application details). Deadline is 31st July 2015



Dr. Patrick Edema  (Center), Prof. Paul Gibson (Left)  and one of the students on the MSc. Plant Breeding Program.

Dr. Richard Edema (Center), Prof. Paul Gibson (Left) and one of the students on the MSc. Plant Breeding Program.

Written by Prossy Nandudu – New Vision

The growing population in Africa calls for more innovation in research to come up with crop varieties that are high yielding and tolerant to pests and diseases and effects of climate change.

This is the reason why the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in partnership with Makerere University Agriculture Research Institution Kabanyororo (MUARIK) are sponsoring a total of 30 students from all over the region for a Master’s Programme in Plant breeding and Seed systems.

AGRA will be offering the finds while MUARIKI will offer the premises and facilities and is taking on students from Rwanda, Uganda, S.Sudan, Benini, Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana among others.

The sponsorship package worth 2.6 million US dollars will cover tuition fees for the students for the entire programme, internship costs and facilitation of supervisors among others.

According to the programme officer, Education and Training (PASS) at AGRA, Dr.Rufaro M. Madakadze, this is aimed at building capacity among African Scientists to develop improved varieties to cater for the increasing demand for improved seed varieties in Africa.

Madakadze said that one of the challenges that have been failing African scientists from progressing is lack of literature and training material for plant breeders.

“We discovered that some of the teaching aids were too old and irrelevant to the present situation. Some areas didn’t have lab equipment so this is an opportunity for students build their confidence,” said Madakadze.

She adds that the programme will not only train plant breeders but will also make sure that they interact with Agro processing Industries especially those into seed trade for better advice especially to consumers.

The programme was initiated by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Africa (RUFORUM) in response to the critical need for well-trained plant breeders in the East African Region.

“The regional Programme is designed to produce plant breeders effective and efficient at new variety delivery, wide stakeholder input into the curriculum and programme design participation of lectures from outside the university including other countries supported by RUFORUM,” explains Madakadze.

The advantages of training within the East Africa region, rather than in US or European universities include lower costs, allows Sponsorship of more students, there is better retention of graduates in the region, and an instructional focus and context that is more relevant to their own country among other benefits.

The Coordinator of the Programme at MUARIK, Dr.Richard Edema, explained that researchers grow old, some die some retire leaving out a huge gap therefore such programmes will create a new breed of scientists to continue with research to produce food.

Under the programm, AGRA is helping them redesign the curriculum; helping in facilitating lecturers in addition to connecting the entire compass on wireless internet for students to access notes electronically.

The principal of the college of agriculture sciences and environment Prof.Benard Bashasha said that since it is only Makerere University, offering MSc in Plant breeding, they will be hosting students from other universities interested in the programme.

3. RUFORUM Presentations

This article has been reproduced from the New Vision, a Ugandan Newspaper publication house.

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