Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) announces the Sixth Call for Proposals of the RUFORUM Graduate Research Grants (GRG). Twenty six (26) projects will be selected for funding. The purpose of the Call is to support capacity building at graduate level and to link universities more closely with rural communities and with research, extension and development agencies. For further information please refer to the Competitive Grants Manual(http://repository.ruforum.org/documents/ruforum-competitive-grants-system-manual). The CGS Manual provides guidelines and other details on how to respond to Calls for proposals.
This is an open call for GRG participatory action research project proposals that are in line with the broad thematic area “Innovation for sustainable crop systems and/or livestock systems within value chains that improve smallholder incomes”. The proposals must show that they meet identified demand and research gaps within a selected value chain. Research that addresses key constraints within a commodity value chain will also be considered so long as the proposal clearly shows link to increasing agricultural productivity, nutrition, bio-fortification, postharvest handling and health of smallholder farming households. The lead applicant must be from a fully-paid up, eligible RUFORUM Member University. The funding for this Call excludes some of our members1. Universities not eligible for the award of grants are encouraged to participate by twinning with eligible member institutions.
TIME FRAME for Call ID RU/CGS/GRG/21/07/14
1. Deadline for Proposal submission to RUFORUM Secretariat by 12 February 2015
2. Compliance Review finalized and External Review returned by 15 April 2015
4. Secretariat to compile proposals for review by Technical Committee by 30th April, 2015
5. Technical Committee meeting to be held 4 – 5th May 2015
6. Results from the selection will be communicated to applicants by end of June 2015.
The following RUFORUM member universities are not eligible, because of funder restrictions to respond to this call: Africa University, Catholic University of Mozambique, Ndejje University, Universite’ Catholique de Bukavu, University of Gezira, Kordofan University, Uganda Christian University and Uganda Martyrs University.
THE RUFORUM GRADUATE RESEARCH GRANT (GRG) AWARD PROCESS SUMMARY OF GENERAL INFORMATION
For the preparation of submissions, all applicants should refer to the Competitive Grants System Manual (www.ruforum.org) and the Graduate Environmental and Agricultural Research guide (GEAR) http://repository.ruforum.org/documents/graduate-environmental-and-agricultural-research-gear-guide-effective-and-relevant
Calls for Proposals
Calls for proposals are posted on the RUFORUM website (www.ruforum.org) but are also sent via email to all the member universities. For the preparation of submissions all Applicants should refer to the Competitive Grants Manual and to GEAR
NON COMPLIANCE WITH THE GUIDELINES IN THE COMPETITIVE GRANTS MANUAL WILL LEAD TO DISQUALIFICATION.
1. The grants are for up to a maximum of US$65,000 over 2 years with full funding for at least 2 M.Sc students in each project (and should include 4 undergraduate interns acting as their research assistants during one vacation). Pre-proposal (preparatory) grants are not funded.
2. The grants are to support mainly participatory action research and training of MSc students.
3. Each grant will have one Principal Investigator working in collaboration with other department/faculty/university members, partner institutions and the two graduate students who will form the core focus of the research.
4. The RUFORUM Technical Committee is responsible for selecting proposals and approving the grants after an external review process. Members of the Technical Committee are not eligible to apply as Principal Investigators but may participate as co-researchers/ supervisors. Technical Committee members will not participate in deliberations while proposals from their own institutions are being tabled.
5. Under the GRG, up to a maximum institutional administrative support fee of 5% is allowed.
Eligibility and Compliance:
- The Principal Investigators (PI) must be Ph.D holders (or in exceptional cases, a full Professor without PhD) on full time employment in any one of the eligible RUFORUM member universities (see list attached to this Call).
- Applicants may not participate if they have pending accounting of RUFORUM funds or projects. Applicants who do not currently hold a RUFORUM Grant may be considered on priority basis.
- Proposals must be received by 12 February 2015 to be considered for the eligible/compliance check.
- All applications must be channelled through their respective University offices (usually the Deans or Principals). The Dean/ Principal is required to provide a signed covering letter (scanned copy) indicating that the proposals have undergone internal review and received approval within their respective institutions.
- The research should as much as possible be participatory and demonstrate its relevance and/or response to demand. It must have a monitoring and evaluation component and a dissemination strategy for the results of the research. These must all be specific to the particular issues being researched by the MSc students. The research activities for each of the students must be separately and clearly specified.
- There must be partnerships with at least one other institution (-including faculties and/or departments in your university, local, regional or international research institutes).
- Partners may include private universities, government departments, local and international research centres, NGOs, community or farmer organisations, private sector, and development agencies or other relevant institutions. Letters from each partner, indicating their role, must be submitted.
- Only proposals that comply with the budget limit and duration of the project and are achievable within the time limit will be considered.
- The proposal should be no more than 10 pages (A4, 12-point Times New Roman, single spaced with 1 inch (2.54cm) margins on either side) and follow the proposal writing guidelines contained within the CGS Manual.
Proposal review process
Prior to submission, the Dean at respective Member University will be expected to ensure that proposals go through an internal university review. It is mandatory for the Dean to endorse submissions and upon receipt all applications will be subjected to a compliance review, and only proposals that pass the compliance check will be forwarded for external review, and Technical Committee selection.
The Internal Review
To help to ensure high quality of the proposals put forward for funding, each proposal must be internally reviewed by the submitting Department or Faculty, normally through faculty peer review teams. The university will be held to account for the quality of proposals being submitted including issues of IPR (see RUFORUM IPR policy at www.ruforum.org).
Submitted proposals will be screened by the RUFORUM Secretariat to ensure that they adhere to the compliance criteria provided above and the guidelines in the CGS Manual. Non-compliant proposals will be rejected. Compliant proposals will be sent out by the Secretariat for external review.
The External Review Process
All proposals will be reviewed by at least two, and usually three external reviewers.
Criteria for external reviewers evaluating proposals:
1. Overall project design and quality, including write-up
2. Appropriateness/relevance and contribution to RUFORUM objectives
3. Participatory action research for development and/or link to enhancing agricultural productivity, health and nutrition
4. Graduate students research activities clearly defined
5. Feasibility: can the M.Sc students achieve this in the time available and is it of the expected standard for the level
6. Good conceptual framework and clearly defined hypotheses
7. Clear identification of achievable research issues, objectives and research methods
8. Evidence of a good understanding of the literature, rationale for the particular project and the theoretical basis for the research
9. Evidence of good understanding of the applicable research approach and methodology
10. Contribution to scientific knowledge and methods
11. Clear, simple, monitoring and evaluation incorporated in the project
12. Clearly outlined and achievable dissemination activities articulated
RUFORUM relies on the professional expertise, experience and judgment of the reviewers. The emphasis for the reviewers is on the technical soundness of the proposal and its contribution to RUFORUM’s goal of producing relevant, high quality graduate students.
Reviewers should be objectively critical while at the same time offering suggestions for improving the proposals, even for those being recommended for major revision or rejection. An important component of the process is the learning and feedback received by all who participate.
The reviewers will classify the proposals into:
A. Accept as presented
B. Accept with minor revisions
C. Accept with major revision
Criteria for selection and ranking by Technical Committee
1. Good external reviews
2. Clear articulation of problem/hypotheses and evidence of quality approach to research
3. Realistic timeline and budgets and achievable objectives (not over-ambitious)
4. Clearly defined role of the graduate students and relationship with client groups, supervisors and partners
5. Participatory, action oriented research for rural development will be prioritised and any pure science enquiry will require strong justification
6. Alignment with RUFORUM goals and core values
- Proposals that are gender sensitive in their approach with recognition and steps to promote women or marginalised groups will receive some preference
- Proposals that are inter-discliplinary will receive some preference as will relevance, potential for subsequent internships, promoting sustainability and/or scaling up, and bringing new dimensions (value addition).
- Response to demand by farmers/rural communities/governments/civil society
- Partnership and the effective integration of partners in the process
7. Evidence of systems for internal monitoring and evaluation of the ongoing research
8. Clear Results Framework and accountability to RUFORUM on expenditures and results
9. Clearly outlined and achievable dissemination plan.
Grant letters are prepared for each approved proposal and sent to the relevant Vice Chancellor, with a copy to the Dean and the Principal Investigator. The grant award letter specifies the amount of the grant, purpose and responsibility of the university in monitoring the use of the grant funds and reporting requirements. Funds are only disbursed after full commitment through signature by the respective University Senior Official. Grants awarded are published in the RUFORUM News and are posted in the RUFORUM website (www.ruforum.org).
The RUFORUM Graduate Research Grants (GRG) are a capacity building effort designed to respond to the RUFORUM Theory of Change and Mission “to strengthen the capacities of universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of smallholder farmers through training of quality researchers, impact-oriented research and maintenance of collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions and governments”. The application should demonstrate capacity and commitment of the named co-investigators to mentor and supervise graduate students.
This Call will be sent to the Deans and Principals of respective Schools/Colleges at eligible Member Universities (and also to non-eligible universities for them to link with eligible universities). The Deans and Principals are requested to circulate to all lecturers in their Schools and Colleges. The Call will also be circulated through the RUFORUM website, other RUFORUM Partner websites such as AWARD & PAEPARD and through emails. All submissions will be made through an online application system. Details on the process of submission will be relayed to the respective Deans of Faculty at RUFORUM Member Universities by 12th January 2015 (that is one month prior to the deadline which is 12th February 2015)
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.
The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.
Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.
Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.
Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.
Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.
“Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.
The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.
The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.
At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.
“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.
On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.
“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.
Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.
Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.
She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.
She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.
On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”
At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.
She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.
“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.
Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.
“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.
Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.
He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.
Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.
Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”
Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.
“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.
The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”
She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.
The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25. For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.
Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY
Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG
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