Nine PhD students from Africa have won 2011 Global Rice Science Scholarships (GRiSS)
The students represent one-third of the total number of successful GRiSS candidates selected from around the world through a highly competitive process.
GRiSS was launched under the CGIAR research programme, Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP). The scholarship offers young agricultural scientists the opportunity to be experts in a scientific discipline relating to rice and to have a broader understanding of the global issues that affect rice science for development.
“These young students will be part of the new generation of rice scientists who will strengthen Africa’s research capacity,” said Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Director General, Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice).
AfricaRice is one of the architects of GRiSP and is leading its activities in Africa. Underlining the desperate lack of trained capacity in rice research and development in the continent, Dr. Seck said, “Skills are lacking in all major disciplines relating to rice science, from plant breeding to policy research. This threatens to impede the progress in developing Africa’s rice sector.”
AfricaRice has made human resource development one of its priority activities, indispensable for strengthening rice research and development capacities of its 24 member countries. It has initiated an innovative post-MSc programme that enables young university graduates from its member countries to gain experience during two years at the Center or in partner institutions.
“Currently, about 60 to 70 postgraduate students from both African and non-African countries are supervised by AfricaRice researchers at any point in time across the continent and we hope to gradually increase this number,” stated Dr. Marco Wopereis, AfricaRice Deputy Director General, and Director of Research for Development.
The nine awardees from Africa will conduct their doctoral research under the joint supervision of AfricaRice scientists and their respective universities. Representing diverse agricultural disciplines, their thesis topics cover agronomy, plant pathology, entomology, soil and water science, plant breeding and social sciences.