New grant programme targets African students in water, energy, agro-business and basic sciences research


The Planet Earth Institute (PEI) and the African Academy of Sciences have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will create a new PhD grant programme for African students, and further the expansion of the Grand Challenges programme in Mauritius

The Planet Earth Institute, an international NGO and charity working for the scientific independence of Africa.

The MoU was ratified during the PEI’s Board of Trustees meeting on Saturday 2nd April 2016.

The partnership will support the development of research leaders in Africa by creating a new PhD grant programme for African students in water, energy, agro-business and basic sciences research. 10 PhD grants will be awarded in 2016, and the PEI and the AAS will deliver the programme with the assistance of private sector partners. This will help ensure that research is industrially relevant and that researchers develop hands on experience to ensure employability.

The new partnership will also further the expansion of the Grand Challenges programme in Mauritius. Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key problems in global health and many other fields of development for those most in need. It seeks to establish a portfolio of projects with complementary approaches that encompass multiple types of innovation, including innovation in life, natural and physical sciences and research, and extending to product development, service delivery etc.

Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of  Mauritius and Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Planet Earth Institute said: “To ensure that all our citizens can share in the continent’s prosperity, we must not only invest in applied research that addresses current development challenges, but also basic sciences that focuses on long-term development.

I look forward to a close and productive partnership with the African Academy of Sciences. I also welcome this vital PhD programme supporting African PhD students undertaking research in areas that are essential to sustainable development on the continent.”

Dr. Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute: “Although Africa has experienced sustained economic growth over the past decade, scientific and technological output has not kept pace. If we want to ensure that our continent has the capacity to develop solutions to its greatest development challenges, we must dramatically increase investment in scientific research.

I am delighted that the Planet Earth Institute has embarked on this important partnership with the African Academy of Sciences, given its strong advocacy for scientific excellence on the continent. We are also proud to co-deliver this PhD grant programme that supports talented African students in pursuing research that addresses key developmental priorities, as well as the Grand Challenges initiatives”.

PIE’s work is built around three pathways which the orgnaisation believes will help lead Africa to scientific independence, that is Higher Education, Technological Innovation and Policy and Advocacy. The organisation is headquartered in London, UK, with offices in Port Louis, Mauritius and Luanda, Angola.