The World Bank is partnering with eight Governments in Eastern and Southern Africa in an innovative project with the aim of improving the quality of training and research in higher education, and reducing the skill gaps in key development priority areas. The Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence (ACE II) Project supports the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia in strengthening selected African Centers of Excellence (ACEs) to deliver quality post-graduate education and build collaborative research capacity in the following priority areas: (i) Industry, (ii) Agriculture, (iii) Health, (iv) Education, and (v) Applied Statistics.The ACE II Project implements three components, namely (i) strengthening the 24 higher education institutions into regional ACEs in Eastern and Southern Africa in a set of defined regional priority areas (US$ 140 million); (ii) providing capacity building support to these ACEs through regional activities (US$3 million); and (iii) supporting coordination and management of the implementation of components (i) and (ii) (US$5 million).
As Regional Facilitation Unit (RFU) for the ACE II Project, the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) leads the implementation of key elements of Component 2 of the project, aimed at building strong and sustainable regional partnerships and collaborations to produce competent Masters and PhD holders for the regional market and improve quality of teaching in higher education, and the quality of production and services in public and private sectors. To encourage the participation of young African female students at postgraduate level, IUCEA wishes to implement a Fellowship Program aimed at providing competitive Masters Scholarships to academically deserving future talents to promote regional female student mobility. Eligible female applicants who can demonstrate interest and ability in the priority areas are encouraged to apply for the 30 Fellowshipsavailable for the 2019/2020 academic year.
In order to be eligible for this Fellowship, the applicant must:
- be a female national of one of ACE II participating countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) or Burundi
- be under the age of thirty five (35) years
- be a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree from a reputable university in the relevant field, at the level of Upper Second Class Honours
- have obtained admission from an ACE outside one’s own country of current nationality to study full-time in any of the priority disciplines of the ACE II Project: (i) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or Industry, (ii) Agriculture, (iii) Health, (iv) Education, and (v) Applied Statistics; and
- have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement as evidenced by academic transcripts, and academic awards, if any.
The Fellowship Program will provide support in the following broad areas of activities:
- In general, Eastern and Southern African countries experience low and, in some cases, declining levels of enrolment in areas associated with the growing industrial sectors which require skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or Industry – STEM. Thus, there is huge demand for graduates in emerging sectors with high growth potential such as oil and gas, energy, extractives, and railways industries across the region. This Fellowship will contribute to improved availability of skilled professionals with specialized knowledge who can innovate and boost productivity in the STEM areas, such as engineers (civil, petroleum, and mechanical), geoscientists, mechanical technicians, etc.
- Agriculture:Low levels of agricultural productivity has contributed to shortage of food and overall food insecurity due to skills and labour constraints, as well as the slow adoption of technology. Primarily this low productivity is caused by factors such as frequent droughts, rampant diseases (crop and livestock), unimproved crop varieties, lack of access to quality seeds/fertilizers, and poor management of water resources. To address these challenges, this Fellowship will contribute to training of female graduates to become agribusiness specialists/managers, crop scientists, plant breeders, veterinarians, agronomists, water and irrigation engineers, and food preservation and processing specialists, who will contribute to innovative research and teaching for agricultural advancement, improved nutrition, and agricultural sustainability.
- Health: There is low life expectancy in Eastern and Southern African region. Both infectious and non-infectious diseases account for highest proportion of illness in the region, and include malaria and tuberculosis and other diseases that may have been eliminated elsewhere. Infectious diseases are also a major constraint to both the export of African livestock and the spread of diseases from animals to humans. This Fellowship will address development challenges in the areas of infectious diseases, public health, and drug development through training and research in molecular biology, analytical epidemiology, traditional medicine, and pharma-biotechnology.
- Poor education quality, especially at the primary and secondary levels, is a significant obstacle to higher education access and outcomes. Poor teaching competencies, particularly in mathematics and science, are a barrier to the production of high-quality graduates and faculty in the field. This Fellowship will contribute to improved quality of tertiary education, leading to improved learning outcomes in the STEM disciplines.
- Applied Statistics. The absence of reliable and accurate data, data management systems, and skilled statisticians is a serious constraint to policymaking, adequate analysis of development challenges, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of interventions. In sub-Saharan African countries, across various sectors, there is a severe shortage of highly trained statisticians and of good quality data. This makes it difficult to provide analyses, plan and monitor interventions, inform fact-based policy, and track progress. This Fellowship will contribute to capacity of research and training within higher education, with a focus on providing improved statistical skills.
Detailed information about eligible sectors and Universities/ACEs offering postgraduate training in the above listed priority areas may be obtained from https://ace2.iucea.org