Carnegie Corporation’s $1 Million Grant to Strengthen Regional Doctoral Programs

As part of its effort to strengthen postgraduate training in selected African universities and provide opportunities for individual scholars and scientists to excel, Carnegie Corporation of New York has invested $997,900 in the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) a regional academic network that trains internationally competitive scientists.

The grant addresses an important challenge facing the African academy: the scarcity of a robust research and training infrastructure capable of offering the type of vibrant and sustained doctoral training necessary to attract, train and retain the continent’s brightest minds.  Without sufficient high-quality, locally-available advanced training options, African scholars and scientists are forced to seek training abroad, which has implications for both cost and relevance.

Instead of leaving the continent for the 4-5 years necessary to complete an international Ph.D. program, African doctoral candidates in agricultural sciences can complete high quality, internationally competitive Ph.D. course work on the continent via the RUFORUM network.

“If Africa is to regenerate its academic and scientific work force—as it must, if it is to combat brain drain and meet its extraordinary potential—it must remove the impediments that separate ambitious, bright young women and men from the world-class research and training opportunities they so enthusiastically pursue and justifiably deserve,” said Tade Aina, Program Director, Higher Education and Libraries in Africa, International Program at Carnegie Corporation. 

RUFORUM, and indeed other regional post graduate training and research networks supported by Carnegie Corporation like Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE) and the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) CARTA, are critical mechanisms for building the next generation of innovation-minded scholars in Africa.  By providing the intellectual and academic tools necessary to become successful scholars, these networks are keeping researchers in Africa and increasing the chances that their scientific activity will lead to measurable contributions to the continued development of the continent.

RUFORUM partners with member universities to identify those campuses with particular know-how in specific fields, making them focal points for regional training programs. The grant will support 28 doctoral students, drawn from universities in Ghana and Nigeria as well as member universities in East and Southern Africa.  The grant will also support workshops on research methodology; attendance at international conferences; a visiting professor to offer expertise and quality improvement to one or more of the doctoral programs; and video-conferencing capacity to link three African universities—the University of Ghana, Legon; Makerere University in Uganda; and the University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa—with each other in order to share resources in one of the doctoral fields.

About Carnegie Corporation’s Higher Education and Libraries in Africa program

The foundation’s Higher Education and Libraries in Africa program seeks to strengthen postgraduate training in selected African universities and provide opportunities for individual scholars and scientists to excel.  To develop and retain a new generation of African academics, the program focuses on 1) Strengthening M.A. and Ph.D. programs in key universities in South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda; 2) fostering disciplinary networks and fellowships; and 3) advancing higher education leadership, policy, and governance in Ghana, South Africa, and Uganda.