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UK Research institutes support women agricultural scientists in Ethiopia

Copyright: AWARD and EIAR
News from: The Roslin Institute
News from: The John Innes Centre

Scientists at The Roslin Institute and John Innes Centre support new African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) fellows in Ethiopia.

PAWARD ceremony with EIAR Director Dr Mandefro Nigussie. Copyright: AWARD and EIAR

Scientists at The Roslin Institute, the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) and John Innes Centre (JIC) will support a new fellowship programme of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), by helping to build and sharpen the scientific skills of new fellows.

As part of its efforts to strengthen gender-responsive agricultural research in the African continent, AWARD is launching a mini-AWARD Fellowship for women researchers at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR).

The Fellowship seeks to foster mentoring and build leadership and scientific skills of women agricultural scientists at EIAR.

Roslin, CTLGH and JIC will help to strengthen the Fellows’ scientific skills by exposing them to the latest scientific advances and allowing them to learn from agricultural scientists in the world’s leading research institutions.

Both The Roslin Institute and John Innes Centre hold ATHENA SWAN Gold awards in recognition of their efforts in supporting the careers of women in science. The award, which the Institutes hold since October 2017, acknowledges policies and changes made to improve equality for all staff and students.

Current gender imbalance

A recent gender audit at EIAR revealed that even though there are gender focal persons in the institution, “they are not adequately trained or resourced and most of the gender focused sections in research design are insufficient to guide research teams on how to design, budget and conduct gender responsive research”. The audit also revealed that women account for only 24 percent of the institution’s total workforce and only seven percent have a bachelor’s degree and above.

Boosting gender responsiveness in African agricultural research

The mini-AWARD Fellowship targets 20 women agricultural scientists and will run for eight months. A total of 60 scientists will directly benefit from this pilot initiative, including 20 (female) Fellows, 20 (male and female) mentors and 20 (female) junior scientists.

The Fellowship, which kicked off on 25 February 2019 at the EIAR Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will include workshops for Fellows and Mentees, bi-weekly mentoring meetings, customized training to build science writing skills, management and leadership skills, as well as a progress monitoring meeting for Fellows and Mentors.

“The mini-AWARD Fellowships are very important to train and empower women in agricultural research in Ethiopia. It has been a pleasure to take part in the Mentoring Orientation Workshop for AWARD-EIAR Fellows at the kick-off meeting last week. We look forward to hosting Fellows at The Roslin Institute and to initiate new research partnerships with them,” said Dr Emily Clark, The Roslin Institute.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

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Tags: press release skills and training The Roslin Institute farming The John Innes Centre