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Building a new generation of female PhD scholars in gender, agriculture, and food security in East Africa

Globally, researchers are important drivers of knowledge production and innovation to support economic growth and improve lives. However, Africa faces a severe shortage of researchers, particularly at the PhD level and beyond. Hence, the continent lags behind the rest of the world in scientific output, producing only 1% of the world’s scientific publications. Further, there is a persistent gender gap among researchers, with women representing only 30% of PhD holders in African countries. Women continue to face many unique barriers to post-graduate education, including constrained mobility, skewed allocation of resources, unconscious bias, and pervasive sexism within academia. The area of gender, agriculture, and food security is also relatively poorly funded and researched.

This project will support up to ten female PhD researchers with research and travel grants to carry out research at the nexus of gender, agriculture, and food security. It addresses the clear need for interventions to increase funding and training for African female academics while growing the body of work on gender and agriculture research. The Ideas Institute's PhD Scholars program provides a local research funding source (research grant) for young women undertaking PhD studies in East Africa, alongside a comprehensive package of support to increase their research and professional skills, deepen their networks, access mentorship from peers and experts, and develop leadership potential and visibility within and outside the academy. This combination of support can be a critical tool for the empowerment of women scientists and for unlocking the underused potential of women by infusing new talent, energy, and perspectives into research, policymaking, and public discourse.

The PhD scholars will be further supported to submit their research to academic publications, present their research at local and international conferences, and secure additional funding from external sources. The key outputs and outcomes of the project will include a special issue in a journal of gender and agriculture research in the East Africa region, the publication of various policy and op-ed articles in the media, a network of gender and agriculture researchers, and more recognition of women researchers in agriculture.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Sandra Gagnon
Total Funding
CA$ 203,600.00
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Agriculture and Food Security
Institution Country
United States
The Ideas Institute
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Rose Mutiso
The Ideas Institute