AWARD has recorded a higher number of 2015 fellows participating in Advanced Science Training, with majority expressing interest to further their careers, though this unique program. “ASTs provide fellows with an opportunity to work in well-equipped institutions and laboratories under the supervision of renowned scientists. This is a coveted, competitive opportunity and up to 90% of eligible fellows applied,” explains Sheila Okoth, AWARD’s Science Advisor. “The application form is tailored to capture the skills that the fellows would wish to acquire. Successful fellows are then matched with institutions according to their area of research/skill development. Apart from training, this is an opportunity to network, establish institutional collaboration, develop publications, and even joint grant applications.”
AWARD fellowships offer advanced research attachments at renowned international institutions on a competitive basis for fellows who have already obtained MSc and/or PhD degrees. These opportunities ensure that fellows develop the skills and networks they need to produce technological innovations and advances that will have a positive, sustainable impact in agricultural research and development in Africa. Participants in the advanced science courses significantly improve their technical and professional skills, which contributes to their career growth and science capacity.
Apart from the AST research attachments and the short courses that was offered to over 20 fellows in 2015, this year, another five 2015 AWARD Fellows have also been provided with the unique opportunity to develop and extend their scientific networks, through membership to the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).
“Being a member of the RSB has provided me with access to loads of educational and career development opportunities. The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program, which leads to one becoming a Chartered Biologist, ensures that scientists embrace continuous improvement of knowledge, in our rapidly changing scientific world. This facilitates cutting edge, relevant studies, and research outputs,” describesAngela Eni, a 2015 AWARD Fellow and recipient of the RSB membership.
AST competitions are a unique feature of the AWARD Fellowship, because the program offers these budding researchers an opportunity to further their skills, depending on their individual needs through three to nine months’ research attachments at leading research centers, with supervision from expert scientists. Alternatively, fellows who qualify for an AST, can take short advanced scientific courses of between one to three weeks.
“Winning an AST at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, USA was a dream come true,” says Ngozi Edoh, a research scientist at National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI). “I remember during the process I told myself to be successful I must eliminate doubt, embrace challenges and reject the negative world or people. By this feat AWARD has taught me that I have just as much potential as any person in the world.”
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