Last year the Planet Earth Institute launched the HE Ameenah Gurib-Fakim PhD Scholarship Programme after long months of planning and fund raising. The first 10 scholarship were handed out to Mauritian academics to conduct research in five key areas: water, energy, agriculture, medicine and blue sky science.
The programme came into being as the result of a joint effort between the Planet Earth Institute, its Chairman, businessman and philanthropist Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, and a group of partners that includes the World Bank. The private-public partnership that was formed has committed to funding 10,000 PhDs over the next 10 years. The funding will be given to African academics who’s research is focusing on one of the 5 main areas.
To oversee the administration and maintain high academic standards, the Planet Earth Institute has create an Academic Board. The board, which consists of 8 high-profile scientists, will ensure the PhD funding is effectively utilised and assist recipients of the funding throughout the process of completing their research.
Sir Christopher Edwards has been named Chairman of the Board, alongside such distinguished colleagues as Professor David Ingram, Professor Sir John Beddington, Professor Madeleine Atkins and Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub. Together they comprise the Academic Board and it will fall to them to ensure the smooth running of the HE Ameenah Gurib-Fakim PhD Scholarship Programme.
Upon acceptance of the position of Chairman, Sir Christopher express his gratitude to Alvaro Sobrinho, “for his ever generous support of these scholarships”, and said the board will be looking to “other African entrepreneurs and organisations working on the continent and passionate about scientific advancement to follow his example”.
The scholarships offered by the Planet Earth Institute cover all the expenses a research might incur and offer recipients the chance to undertake placements with international businesses and make use of the Institute’s own resources and outreach capacity.