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.

ICRA – Scholarship Application is Open for Professionals in Agricultural Education, Research and Agribusiness: March – May 2017

Application deadline (for scholarships): 19 October 2016

Learning, action research and outreach – Making higher education boost food security, 13 – 31 March 2017, Wageningen, The Netherlands

As a professional in tertiary agricultural education you are expected to prepare competent graduates for the job market. In addition, you are requested to do action research that contributes to innovation for food security, and provide services for rural communities that support inclusive development.

Get ready to make your courses more interactive and interdisciplinary!

How do you provide useful services to the surrounding community? How do you make research relevant for farmers and agribusiness so you better can attract funding?

Join ICRA’s course to find the answers to those challenges. Brace yourself for three challenging weeks with a range of activities such as trainer-assisted group sessions, role plays, case studies and excursions to education institutes. Click here to read more.

Linking research to inclusive development for food security – Facing rural innovation challenges, 15 May – 2 June 2017, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Researchers must make their work relevant for the inclusive development of involved communities. Agricultural professionals, farmers and their organizations need up to date information on how to most effectively improve food security.

This course introduces you to new approaches and tools for designing and managing participation in rural innovation that help to resolve both problems and find complementary solutions. It enables you to create and support effective partnerships, collaboration and dynamic stakeholder networks to co-create new knowledge for better agri-business deals and higher farmer income. Click here to read more.

RUFORUM recognised for its exemplary leadership and role in promoting Networking and collaboration in Higher Education, Research and S&T across Africa


Photo Credit: Science Forum South Africa

On the 9th December, 2015 during the Science Forum South Africa (SFSA), RUFORUM was awarded with the SFSA Science Diplomacy Award in the category recognizing “an international science partnership which has made an outstanding contribution to advancing African regional cooperation, integration and development .” RUFORUM was recognised for it’s work in supporting postgraduate training and networks of specialisation, especially in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).  The Award was conferred by Minister Naledi Pandor at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. Specifically the Committee noted that RUFORUM had been instrumental to promote regional integration and cooperation in agricultural research in support of regional development strategies.

RUFORUM has enhanced networking of African universities, linking them both to the rural communities and policy makers and supported internal transformation of higher education institutions for impact. RUFORUM has trained over 381 PhDs and 1,373 Masters within Africa with a 94% retention rate of alumni working in their countries of origin.

While receiving the award, the Executive Secretary, Professor Adipala Ekwamu thanked the South African Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Naledi Pandor for convening the Forum that brought over 1,500 participants to talk about Science, Technology and research geared towards addressing the Science Agenda for Africa. Professor Adipala attributed this success to African universities working together as a network and focusing on where they could work together rather than on competition. He also thanked her for South Africa’s role in strengthening regional collaboration.

Among the delegates who attended the forum were H.E Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma, African Union Chairperson and Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology. RUFORUM thanks the Forum for this recognition. Click here to download the press release or here to read related stories from the forum.

The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund 2016 – Call for Applications


The Biosciences eastern and central Africa – International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub, located in Nairobi, Kenya, is a shared agricultural research and biosciences platform that exists to increase access for African researchers to affordable, world-class research facilities. The mission of the BecA-ILRI Hub is “Mobilizing Bioscience for Africa’s Development” by providing a Centre of Excellence in agricultural biosciences, which enables research, capacity building and product incubation, conducted by scientists in Africa and for Africa, and empowers African institutions to harness innovations for regional impact. This mission is achieved by the BecA–ILRI Hub’s contributions to:

  • Research: enabling research to harness the potential of the biosciences to contribute to increasing agricultural productivity and to improving food and nutritional safety and security.
  • Education: contributing to the education and training of the next generation of African agricultural research leaders and scientists.
  • Innovation: promoting the development, delivery and adoption of new technologies to address key agricultural productivity constraints.

The BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building program is branded The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF). The ABCF program operates in the critically important intersection between agricultural research for development (ARD), food security, and individual and institutional capacity building. The ABCF program is delivered through: i) a visiting scientist program (the ABCF fellowship) targeting scientists from African national agricultural research organizations and universities to undertake biosciences research-for-development projects at the BecA-ILRI Hub; ii) annual training workshops to support the acquisition of practical skills in molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, laboratory management, laboratory safety, equipment maintenance and scientific writing; iii) mobilizing national and regional capacities for joint action; and iv) supporting and strengthening the capacity of National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) to deliver on their research for development agenda.


The purpose of the ABCF fellowship program is to develop capacity for agricultural biosciences research in Africa, to support research for development projects that ultimately contribute towards increasing food and nutritional security and/or food safety in Africa, and to facilitate access to the BecA-ILRI Hub facilities by African researchers (and their partners).  We seek applicants with innovative ideas for short to medium term research projects (up to 12 months) aligned with national, regional or continental agricultural development priorities that can be undertaken at the BecA-ILRI Hub. Click here to read more.