About the Call

By 2050 demand for food in Africa is projected to grow by 2.5 to 3 times the level of 2015. At the same time, Africa continues to import a lot of its staple food, with the African Development Bank estimating that over US$35 billion is spent on food imports. This figure is expected to rise to US$125 billion by 2050. For the past decades, growth in agricultural production has resulted from both agricultural land expansion and yield increases. As a result, agriculture has become the key driver of terrestrial ecosystem conversion/or natural habitat conversion; it’s not just forests but other key habitats including savanna and other grasslands. These will ultimately impact on human wellbeing by degrading the natural resource base on which people depend for a living. At the same time, agricultural development can disadvantage poorer, more vulnerable groups – for example, when large-scale agricultural investments threaten their land rights. Future agricultural development will need to address trade-offs between economic, environmental and social outcomes to make progress on Sustainable Development Goals 2 (zero hunger), 10 (reduced inequality) and 15 (protection of terrestrial ecosystems).

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is part of a consortium of institutions implementing the four (4) year Social and Environmental Trade-offs in African Agriculture (Sentinel) Project funded by the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The Project aims at building the capacity of African and UK research organizations to design and deliver high quality, relevant and state-of-the-art research related to this major challenge of trade-offs between economic, environmental and social outcomes. Sentinel explores, in collaboration with decision makers in government, civil society and the private sector, the impacts, risks and trade-offs within and between social, economic and environmental dimensions of different agricultural development pathways in three African countries: Zambia, Ethiopia and Ghana.

The project focuses on three research clusters listed below:

  1. Understanding agricultural expansion: Historical trends and current status of agricultural expansion (into natural habitats such as forests, shrubland, wetlands, etc.), its major socio-economic, political and biophysical (e.g., climate change) drivers, and the likely future extent, nature and location of agricultural expansion under alternative assumptions and scenarios;
  2. Understanding the socio-economic and environmental impacts of expansion: In particular impacts on the livelihoods, wellbeing and resource access for poor and vulnerable people – both those expanding their agriculture, and those affected by habitat loss in these areas; and impacts on ecosystem functions and services of the wider landscape;
  3. Understanding trade-offs: within and between socio-economic and environmental outcomes under alternative scenarios for agricultural development, and the policies and political economy influencing these.

Research Scholarships Available

As part of the process of enhancing knowledge on the trade-offs between Sustainable Development Goal 2, 10 and 15, Sentinel is making available through RUFORUM a total of 27 Research scholarships for PhD students to undertake research in areas of relevance to the Project. The Scholarships will be provided through a series of Calls for Proposals.

The First Call for Proposals awarded seven (7) research scholarships. This Second Call will provide a further up to twenty (20) research scholarships for students registered under the RUFORUM Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) Program. Students who are not under the GTA Program will also be considered but must undertake their studies at RUFORUM member universities (a full list of RUFORUM 105 Member Universities can be found here. Of the twenty, a minimum of five research scholarships each will be allocated for research taking place in Ghana (5), Ethiopia (5) and Zambia (5) in the Sentinel research sites (to be identified by April 2019). Please note that students outside the focal countries are eligible and encouraged to apply as long they conduct their research in the three Sentinel countries and research sites (Ghana, Ethiopia and Zambia). The other remaining five scholarships will be flexible in terms of location of the research but must be aligned to the overall Sentinel themes. The Scholarships will support costs related to doctoral research activities over two years.

Please download the complete Second round RUFORUM Call of Sentinel PhD Scholarships. The Deadline is 15 February 2019.

NyasuluKampala 27, November 2018 Ms. Lucky Nyasulu, a second year student pursing a Masters in Community Studies and Extension at Egerton University in Kenya, and a beneficiary of the Mastercard scholarship at RUFORUM spoke on behalf of youth during the First Extra-ordinary Summit of Committee of Ten Heads of State Summit (C10) championing Education, Science and Technology development in the continent. This took place in Lilongwe, Malawi from 2-3 November 2018.

In her speech, Ms. Nyasula noted that there is an unemployment crisis around the African Continent and called upon youth to stop thinking of getting employed but rather think of how best to take advantage of opportunities that not only better themselves but also those in their communities. She also made reference to the Sixth African Higher Education Week where twenty three (23) Young Innovators from across the continent were awarded prizes for their various innovation and appreciated efforts made by the African Development Bank, Tonny Elumelu Foundation, FANRPAN and RUFORUM in supporting youth Agri-business enterprises in Africa.

RUFORUM was established to promote the integration of member universities into Africa’s development processes, particularly within the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A), Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA), and the African Union Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024). To support the implementation of these strategies including the Continental TVET Strategy, the African Union (Assembly Decision AU/Dec.671 and Assembly/AU/Dec 572) established the Committee of Ten Heads of State (C10) in July 2015, with two Heads of State from each geographical region of Africa to voluntarily participate in the Committee, comprising of: Senegal; Sierra Leone; Egypt; Tunisia; Gabon; Chad; Malawi; Namibia; Kenya; and Mauritius. The C10 was endorsed by the African Union Assembly of January 2018 and held its inaugural meeting in Addis Ababa on 27 January 2018. The C10 has since adopted its rules of procedure, and held its first Extra-Ordinary Summit hosted by the Government of the Republic of Malawi where Ms. Nyasula spoke.

In her conclusion, Ms. Nyasulu said that her strongest desire is to be an agent of change in rural areas, and that one day,  she will have a model farm with modernised technologies in Malawi  her country of origin which will not only help her but her community. She said that it is all feasible if more investment is put to science and innovations.

Please download  Speech by Nyasulu Lucky at C10 Summit, Student from Egerton University, Kenya and Mastercard Foundation student beneficiary at RUFORUM.


We are retained by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) to identify a competent individual to fill the post of Technical Specialist, Staff Development & Academic Mobility (TS SD&AM). The position is based in the RUFORUM Secretariat in Kampala, Uganda.

RUFORUM operation is guided by its Vision 2030 Strategy (The African Universities’ Agenda for Agricultural Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation – AHESTI), which is being implemented through four Flagship Programmes. Visit RUFORUM website. Prospective applicants are advised to review the RUFORUM Vision 2030 Strategy and the Five Year Operational Plan (20182022). The job role and requirements of the post is detailed below

Technical Specialist, Staff Development & Academic Mobility (TS SD&AM)

Job Role
Reporting to the Manager, Research & Innovations the main role of TS SD&AM is to facilitate the provision of opportunities for staff development and academic mobility of faculty of member universities and institutions.


  • Identify and provide support for staff development needs in Member universities and institutions  Facilitate training of women graduate scholars to increase pool of women scientists in African Universities and other sectors  Identify and promote Intra-African Academic Mobility
  • Design, manage and plan the program for academic staff exchange among member universities  Be responsible for facilitating Post-Doctoral training and African Career Awards Fellowship.
  • Under the guidance of the Manager Research and Innovations, oversee monitoring, evaluation and reporting on progress, accountability and compliance to the terms of support for staff development and exchange; training of women scholars; and academic mobility

For more details of the Job requirements and deadline of application, please download here RUFORUM Advert for TS Staff Dev Academic Mobility

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