CGIAR Capacity Development Hub at UM6P in Morocco
On October 12, 2023, the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Benguerir, Morocco, joined forces with CGIAR, the world’s largest publicly funded agricultural research partnership, to introduce two groundbreaking initiatives that will shape the future of agricultural sciences in Africa and reflect CGIAR’s commitment to supporting academic excellence and research advancements in agriculture throughout Africa.
The initiatives were launched by Dr. Hicham El Habti, President of UM6P, and Dr. Bruno Gerard, Dean of the College for Agriculture and Environmental Science, UM6P, alongside Dr. Simeon Ehui, CGIAR Regional Director for Continental Africa and Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and Aly Abousabaa, CGIAR Regional Director of Central and West Asia and North Africa and Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Both highlighted the significance of nurturing talented students to become future experts capable of advancing cutting-edge research.
The first initiative, the African Scholarship Program, aims to empower young Africans by offering doctoral and post-doctoral scholarships. These scholarships will support research focused on critical areas such as food security, climate change adaptation, natural resource management, and sustainable agriculture intensification. Leveraging the extensive research networks and resources of UM6P and CGIAR Research Centers, the program will foster doctoral and post-doctoral research across multiple African countries. Furthermore, the program will emphasize the employability of young researchers, providing support at the beginning of their careers and preparing them for opportunities in both the public and private sectors.
The second initiative, the CGIAR-UM6P Capacity Development Hub, seeks to establish a comprehensive framework for agricultural research and development in Africa. This hub will play a pivotal role in strengthening research efforts, facilitating education, promoting collaborative research projects, joint funding initiatives, and engaging industries. By addressing critical issues related to food security, sustainable agriculture, and socioeconomic development in Africa, the hub aims to drive positive change and foster long-term sustainability in the region.
The launch of these initiatives took place during a high-level event at UM6P’s campus in Benguerir, close to Marrakech. Further high-level attendees included Mr. Hicham El Habti, President of UM6P, and Dr. Bruno Gerard, Dean of the College for Agriculture and Environmental Science at UM6P. The event culminated in a signing ceremony to solidify the implementation of both the Scholarship Program and the Capacity Development Hub.
This collaboration between CGIAR and UM6P demonstrates a shared vision for promoting academic excellence and research in agriculture, making a substantial contribution to a more sustainable and prosperous future for Africa. By leveraging their expertise and resources, CGIAR and UM6P are paving the way for transformative advancements in the agricultural sector, empowering young researchers, and addressing the pressing challenges facing the continent.