ICRISAT and RUFORUM meet to consolidate partnership for Agricultural Research and Human Capacity Development

Dr. David J. Bergvinson (Centre) with RUFORUM and ICRISAT staff at the RUFORUM Secretariat

Dr. David J. Bergvinson (Centre) with RUFORUM and ICRISAT staff at the RUFORUM Secretariat

The RUFORUM Secretariat was privileged to host Dr. David J. Bergvinson, the Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Dr. Bergvinson was accompanied by Dr. Patrick Okori, Principal Scientist at ICRISAT Malawi, and Dr. Moses Siambi, the Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, ICRISAT. This event took place on the 17th November, 2016 at the RUFORUM Secretariat.

Dr. Bergvinson’s visit to the Secretariat follows previous discussions between the CGIAR Centers and Sub-Regional and National Research Organizations in Africa. This discussions took place at the recently concluded fifth African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, 17th – 21st October 2016.

During this visit, the two institutions agreed to explore collaborations in the a number of areas including; mapping out the agricultural human capacity needs in the RUFORUM and ICRISAT member countries; deployment of ICTs in agricultural training, research and extension; Intensifying research on Climate change especially climate smart agriculture, “orphaned” crops and nutritional security; establishing business incubation and entrepreneurship mentorship programmes and attachment of graduate students to ICRISAT research programmes.

The operationalization of the above focus areas will be guided by the existing Memorandum of Understanding signed by ICRISAT and RUFORUM in September 2014. These focus areas will build on PhD and MSc training and research internships currently being implemented by the two institutions. Click here to download the full press release.

Universities recognised as important stakeholders in enhancing the impact of Agricultural research for Development – RUFORUM at the GCARD3 Conference

Above: Seedlings grown from tissue samples in a laboratory being showcased during the exhibition at the ARC, South Africa. Photo Credit: Photo by IISD/Kiara Worth

Above: Seedlings grown from tissue samples in a laboratory being showcased during the exhibition at the ARC, South Africa. Photo Credit: Photo by IISD/Kiara Worth

The third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3), jointly organised by the Global Forum on Agriculture Research (GFAR) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) under the theme “No One Left Behind: Agri–food Innovation and Research for a Sustainable World” was attended by over 400 participants representing academia, government, civil society, research and the private sector. The four day Conference was held 5-8 April, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  RUFORUM Secretariat, representing its network of 55 universities attended the Conference.

During the Opening Ceremony, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer at Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) applauded the Conference Organisers for bringing together key stakeholders to promote effective, targeted investment that will build partnerships, capacities and mutual accountabilities at all levels of the agricultural system. This action she hoped would ensure that today’s agricultural research will impact on the rural poor.  She also emphasised the need to work together differently, develop collaborative strategies that are realistic to emerging challenges, enforce higher stakeholder commitment towards engaging, debating and formulating real policies that are holistic and not linear in approach. She applauded all the female participants and thanked them for their contribution to the Agricultural development sector.

The Conference noted the need for capacity building across the research for development sector and for universities to be included into the global consultations under GFAR. Universities were challenged to transform themselves towards academic enterprises and knowledge entrepreneurship whist staying grounded as student –centric institutions that are preparing students to be “master thinkers”, able to grasp a wide array of skills and contribute to the desired workforce, a gap that still needs to be addressed.

RUFORUM also participated in the exhibition, together with other 13 exhibitors. The event included a one day field trip to ARC-VOPI Rooderplaat and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute campus. Click here to download the Press Release.

RUFORUM awards six grants for Dryland Cereals Research


The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is pleased to announce the recipients of Dryland Cereal Research grants and Research Internships (MSc and Doctoral Field Attachments). RUFORUM in collaboration with CGIAR is implementing the Dryland Cereals Programme responding to the new RUFORUM business strategic plan 2020 which aims to build capacity of new generation of scientists. This will be achieved through real experiences within systems and value chains, exposure realized in advanced science labs and high performing employment ready graduates.

In 2014 RUFORUM signed a memorandum of Agreement with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) to enable universities link with research institutions in order to build hands-on capacity of promising scientist in Africa through field attachments/ internships and collaborative research. Under this arrangement, graduates are expected to work on the research under the supervision of the university supervisor and CGIAR mentor who has expertise in the dry land cereal crop of their choice.

After a competitive and rigorous selection process, we are pleased to present to you the successful applicants for the dryland cereal fellowship programmes as per the categories below;

Research Fellowships for Doctoral Grants : A total of two Research doctoral grants have been awarded. The Doctoral Research grants aim at contributing to the student’s research, thesis preparation and dissemination of results to PhD students who are self – financed or sponsored and have successfully completed course work at a host university. The value of the scholarship is $15,000 per student.

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Special FAPA Call – Attachments for PhD & MSc graduates specializing in barley, finger millet, pearl millet & sorghum

DC SponsorshipThis call is being sponsored and supported by the Dryland Cereals Scholarship Program of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (Dryland Cereals). It is designed to strengthen the agriculture research capacities of dryland cereal crops (barley, finger millet, pearl millet and sorghum) for young scientists in Africa. The grantees are expected to undertake internships / attachments with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) scientists and to use the opportunity to work with stakeholder agencies (private sector, farmers organisations, national agricultural research institutes etc) to disseminate their research outputs, or to work with these agencies on issues that contribute to improving the productivity and/or consumption of, barley, finger millet, pearl millet and sorghum. The awards are being made through RUFORUM who will monitor and oversee the implementation of these Field Attachment programme processes.

Before you commence your application process you are strongly advised to read this call document and understand it fully. You are also strongly advised to familiarize yourself with the online application form by reading this document that explains how you handle each online application field.

The application deadline is 30th March 2015.