SPOTLIGHT: UR-Sweden program praised for impacting communities through research | The new times

The Minister of Education hailed a program run by the University of Rwanda and the Swedish government, saying it has greatly contributed to Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation.

The program, which supports doctoral students and researchers, has been in existence for 20 years and has since been extended for another five years.

It is the largest and most comprehensive externally funded institutional program at the University of Rwanda, according to officials.

During the official opening of the annual review meeting of the UR-Sweden program on Tuesday, May 17, the Minister of Education, Valentine Uwamariya, highlighted the impact of the research being developed on socio- economy of Rwanda by strengthening the local doctoral program.

The opening session of the UR-Sweden annual program review meeting in Kigali on Tuesday 17 May. All photos by Craish Bahizi

The five-day meeting – which brought together team leaders from the research and support sub-programmes of the University of Rwanda and partner universities in Sweden – aims to define and discuss the implementation of activities that will will mark the year 2022-2023.

“The partners from UR and Sweden have not been able to meet for the past three years due to the pandemic. Now they are meeting to assess the progress of program implementation, but also to determine how to overcome the challenges that have been encountered.

The project aims to build the capacity of academic researchers at the University of Rwanda. To date, we have about 85 PhDs, including 29 women, who have graduated through this program,” she said.

Despite the achievements, she said there is still a huge void to be filled.

Strengthen the local program

“We want to strengthen the local doctoral program in order to achieve the objectives we have in the agreement. We are discussing how we can build research capacity to have a good number of PhD graduates, but also how their research results can have more impact on the socio-economic transformation of the country,” said she declared.

Johanna Teague, Ambassador of Sweden to Rwanda delivers a speech during the opening session.

Uwamariya said PhD holders should be able to do research that seeks solutions to contemporary issues facing the country.

Papias Malimba Musafiri, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Advancement at the University of Rwanda, said the first phase of the program focused on sending Rwandan students for masters studies in Sweden.

In the second phase, master’s candidates were trained locally by professors from Swedish universities.

During the third phase, most of the teachers went to do a doctorate in Sweden while in the fourth phase, which is the current one, the doctoral students will be trained locally at the University of Rwanda by Swedish professors.

“Strengthening the local doctoral program will reduce costs. Resources spent on one doctoral student in Sweden can now be spent training five people locally. This will help us increase the number of PhD graduates,” he explained.

He said that the activities planned for the year 2022-2023, within the framework of the five-year program, include the admission of new candidates for doctoral studies and post-doctoral studies.

The five-year phase, which is the 4th phase, should train 80 doctoral students against 52 doctoral students enrolled during the previous phase 2013-2018.

They will be educated both at UR and at Swedish universities in Sandwich mode.

Papias Malimba Musafiri, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Advancement at the University of Rwanda gives details to the media

In addition to doctoral training, master’s programs will also be supported in collaboration with 14 Swedish partner universities.

At least 26 post-docs and more than 240 master’s students will also be trained.

“It is done through competition and is open to all professors at the University of Rwanda. Activities also include setting up an ICT-based infrastructure to boost education, among other priorities.

We also seek research and innovation activities for students by providing scholarships,” he added.

Johanna Teague, Ambassador of Sweden to Rwanda, noted that the partnership aims to ensure that the strengthened research capacities can be used in Rwanda’s development by enabling policy makers and entrepreneurs to access knowledge and make decisions. enlightened.

“We are strengthening higher education for impact by strengthening the local doctoral program. We will continue to strengthen research to impact the development of the country,” she said.

The strengthening of the local doctoral program is part of a 5-year cooperation agreement aimed at stimulating research and the development of professional skills.

The University of Rwanda received, in 2019, 31.5 billion Rwandan francs from the Swedish government to stimulate research and the use of scientific knowledge in Rwanda under the existing UR-Sweden program.

This should enhance the capacity of the UR to deliver Rwanda’s national development agenda.

The five-year phase, which is the 4th phase, should train 80 doctoral students against 52 doctoral students enrolled during the previous phase 2013-2018. Photo by Craish Bahizi

The 4th phase will also support the ICT infrastructure, which will integrate research, students, administration and finance in order to alleviate university services and ensure that research can be carried out in a relatively conducive environment.

The current phase includes 14 research training programs and five research support programs.

Expected impact

Although the higher education sector in Rwanda has grown significantly in terms of number of students, programs and institutions over the past few years, there is still a lack of qualified personnel capable of conducting research, engaging with policy makers and to provide Rwandan students with high quality education. postgraduate education.

Sweden’s research collaboration with Rwanda responds to exactly that and we see the programme, which is the largest in the higher education sector, as a pillar of Rwanda’s efforts to make the transition to a the knowledge.

The five-year activities aim to increase the production and use of world-class scientific knowledge that contributes to Rwanda’s development.

The program, which supports doctoral students and researchers, has been in existence for 20 years and has since been extended for another five years.

It aims to contribute to the establishment of a more conducive environment for research and post-doctoral training at the University of Rwanda, to increase the number of doctorate and master’s degree holders in Rwanda, to increase the quantity and quality of research conducted at the University of Rwanda.

It also aims to increase the use of research and skills produced under the program, in political decision-making and policy-making in Rwanda, as well as their use by Rwandan society as a whole.

Education Minister Valentine Uwamariya speaks to the media after the official opening of the UR-Sweden annual program review meeting in Kigali on Tuesday, May 17. All photos by Craish Bahizi

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