PhD Training Opportunities under the RUFORUM : Graduate Teaching Assistantship Program


Announcement 2017

 PhD Training Opportunities under the RUFORUM

Graduate Teaching Assistantship Program

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Escalating PhD training in Africa: RUFORUM Graduate Teaching Assistantship Programme

Over the years, universities in Africa have sought opportunities to send their staff for post-graduate training abroad in a bid to strengthen research and training, at very high costs.   The loss of faculty for 4 to 5 years has negatively affected universities.  In order to meet the growing demand for Doctoral level scientists in Africa, the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) programme was initiated by RUFORUM Vice Chancellors[1]to improve the quality of higher education at African Universities by increasing the proportion of academic staff with PhD qualifications, contributing to locally relevant research and reducing the time away from the home institution. The initiative was officially launched by the African Union Commissioner for Human Resource, Science and Technology, H.E. Dr Martial De Paul Ikounga on 25th July 2014 at Maputo, Mozambique during the RUFORUM Fourth Biennial Conference. The specific objectives of the GTA are to:

  1. Improve the quality of higher education and increase the pool of PhD-level trained academic staff in African universities;
  2. Provide opportunities for the doctoral research to contribute more directly to African development
  3. Strengthen inter- university collaboration in the field of higher education in Africa; and
  4. Promote staff mobility among RUFORUM member universities, and across Africa.

The RUFORUM Secretariat announces the availability of 325 PhD training opportunities for the next 5 years under the GTA for the academic year beginning January, 2017. Potential applicants who are teaching staff at RUFORUM Member Universities are invited to submit applications to the RUFORUM Secretariat through a two-step process. Specific criteria for each step are indicated below.

  • Step 1: Identify and apply directly to University for the relevant program of choice to obtain admission into the program.
  • Step 2: Apply to the RUFORUM Secretariat for the GTA.

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Six staff appointed at the RUFORUM Secretariat


The RUFORUM Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of six staff at the RUFORUM Secretariat: Mrs. Sylvia Chindime Mkandawire is the Programme Manager for Training and Quality Assurance and Dr. Solange Uwituze is the Programme Manager for Partnerships and Business Management. Under The MCF@RUFORUM project, Dr. Anthony Egeru is the Manager of MCF@RUFORUM, Dr. Rukarwa Runyararo Jolyn is the Research and Grants Officer, Dr. Sylvanus Mensah is the Recruitment and Training Officer and Ms. Angoku Loyce, is the Senior Finance Officer. Brief biodata for each one of them is presented below;

sylviaMrs. Sylvia Chindime Mkandawire, a Malawian, is the recently appointed Programme Manager for Training and Quality Assurance at the RUFORUM Secretariat. Sylvia has over 11 years of work experience in Higher Education and capacity building related initiatives. She has previously served as Training Officer at the RUFORUM Secretariat, Lecturer at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), and an independent consultant for dairy promotion programmes in Malawi. Sylvia has managed 11 multi donor capacity building projects in Africa, has vast experience in coordination of intra African academic mobility for students and staff, spearheaded postgraduate quality assurance among the RUFORUM member universities, scholarship management systems, curriculum reviews and development. Sylvia has publications in the field of agriculture rural innovations and capacity building initiatives in Africa and is a RUFORUM alumni.

solangeDr. Solange Uwituze, a Rwandese is the new Programme Manager for Partnerships and Business Management at the RUFORUM Secretariat. She previously served as the Programme Manager for Training and Quality Assurance at the same Organisation. Prior to joining RUFORUM, she served as a Lecturer and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture – National University of Rwanda. Dr. Uwituze is well published in the area of beef cattle nutrition and to a lesser extent the dairy sector. She has successfully led development of multimillion US Dollar projects and has extensive experience in leadership and management of various multilateral Capacity Building projects. Dr Uwituze is a Founding Fellow of the Rwanda Academy of Science.

anthonyDr. Egeru Anthony,  a Ugandan is the Manager of The MCF@RUFORUM project, an eight year project funded by The MasterCard Foundation to strengthen the effectiveness of university contribution to development through skills development particularly entrepreneurship of talented, motivated and disadvantaged youth in Africa. He previously served as Assistant Grants Manager at RUFORUM Secretariat, Lecturer at Makerere University and a secondary school teacher at Merryland High School, Entebbe. Anthony is a distinguished academic with a Research Gate Score of 10.34 and h-index of 4 and 13,710 reads and reviews in Academia. Anthony has multi-faceted experience in research including in systems ecology with a focus on management of dryland ecosystems, early warning system, rangeland health monitoring, land use planning, pastoral livelihoods, agro-forestry systems, climate change, adaptation and resilience programming and analysis, development processes-especially participatory analysis and curriculum design and development.

jolynDr. Rukarwa Runyararo Jolyn, a Zimbabwean, is the Research and Grants Officer for The MCF@RUFORUM project at the RUFORUM Secretariat.  She holds a PhD in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology (Makerere University, 2014), Post graduate Diploma-Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology (Ghent University, Belgium, 2010), MSc. Crop Science majoring in Biotechnology (Makerere University, 2008) and BSc. in Agriculture (Hons) (University of Zimbabwe, 2005). Runyararo started her career as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Zimbabwe (2007) before joining the International Potato Centre in Uganda in 2013 and later served as a part time Lecturer at Kyambogo University (2015) and a visiting Lecturer at the Makerere University Centre for Crop Improvement in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). She also served as a Programme Management Assistant for an international programme entitled Agricultural Investors as Development Actors (AIDA). Runyararo has extensive experience in research in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, but has also obtained a wealth of experience in administration and coordination of research projects. Runyararo is a dedicated and technically skilled professional with a versatile administrative support skill set developed through experience as an intern student at the RUFORUM Secretariat.

sylvanusDr. Sylvanus Mensah, a Beninese is the Recruitment and Training Officer for The MCF@RUFORUM project. He holds a PhD in Forestry (University of Stellenbosch, 2016); MSc. in Natural Resources Management (2013) and BSc. in Agricultural Sciences (2010) at University of Abomey-Calavi. Dr Sylvanus Mensah started his career as Research Assistant at the Laboratory of Applied Ecology at the University of Abomey-Calavi. He later joined the Laboratory of Biomathematics and Forest Estimations of the University of Abomey-Calavi as the Assistant-Head of the research unit. Dr. Mensah is an agricultural engineer who shifted a bit to study natural resources management and forestry where most of his research studies were conducted. For the past four years, he was involved in research projects in Benin and South Africa on several aspects of natural forest ecosystems, including forest ecology and management, forest estimations and precision, biology conservation, ethnoecology, ecosystem services, biomass modelling and climate change, functional ecology and forest productivity. He has authored a number of publications in international peer-review journals.

loyceMs. Angoku Loyce, a Ugandan, is the Senior Finance Officer for The MCF@RUFORUM project and is a member of the Chartered Public Accountants of Uganda (CPA). She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting option) obtained in 2004 from Makerere University Business School. Loyce Angoku has twelve years of experience in broad areas of general banking operations having built a career in the sector while working at Centenary Bank in Uganda. While she started as a banking officer in 2005, her zeal, professionalism and positive attitude saw her rise through the ladder to the level of Assistant Manager in 2016. At RUFORUM Secretariat she is responsible for managing the financial issues of The MCF@RUFORUM project.

To download the full press release, please click here.

Seasonal Greetings from RUFORUM


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The RUFORUM Secretariat appreciates your continued support and wishes you a Happy Holiday as we look forward to more fruitful partnerships in 2017.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Africa must invest in people – Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim


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President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and Prof. Adipala Ekwamu at the Biennial Conference, 2016

Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has emphasised investing in Africa’s people will be a crucial step towards the continent reaching its development goals.

Gurib-Fakim was addressing delegates on the second day of the 5th Biennial RUFORUM Conference in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Gurib-Fakimk herself a scientist, told the audience: “I am convinced that the social and economic transformation of the African continent will happen only when higher education becomes central to the development debate…”

She pointed to the projected 11 million young people expected to enter the African job market every year over the next decade and said:

“This so-called demographic dividend offers tremendous opportunity to the continent as it will help build a valuable base of human capital that will serve as the engine for the economic transformation of our continent. More importantly, this tremendous intellectual force of well-trained scientists can make a major dent on the development challenges faced every day by Africans.”

With increasing pressures caused by climate change, the Mauritian president underscored the importance of building knowledge economies to ensure prosperity.

She offered the Mauritian BioPark as an example of a private-public partnership that is capitalising on the country’s people and its biodiversity, in order to help the island nation transition from manufacturing to a more intelligent economy.

“The recent setting up of the Planet Earth Institute in Mauritius, has gone that extra mile in showing that we are adding value to our greatest asset – human capital – through PhD programmes that will focus on Africa‘s priorities such as water and sanitation, agriculture and food security, energy, climate-related issues and ‘blue sky’ research.”

Gurib-Fakim pointed to the unexploited economic potential of IP on the continent and said the low rate of research output in Africa remains a serious concern:

“As a scientist, I lament that SSA with 12% of the global population only accounts for less than 1% of the world’s research output. And that no African nation was among the top 20 countries filing for patent applications in 2013.”

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