Developing the Next Generation of Academics

USHEPiA

USHEPiA Fellows Rafi ki Yohana (left) of the University of Dar es Salaam and Norbit Musekiwa (right) of the University of Zimbabwe were congratulated by vice-chancellor Dr Max Price at UCT’s June 2010 graduation ceremony.

USHEPiA

USHEPiA – the Universities Science, Humanities, Law and Engineering Partnerships in Africa, is a partnership of eight universities in the central, eastern and southern region of the continent. USHEPiA was born some 17 years ago out of a need to promote collaboration between African universities with a view to addressing the staffing capacity needs of these institutions, in the context of the brain drain that saw many of their young academics lured away from the continent. The model for co-operation is the split-site training of Masters and PhD students with joint supervision by their home university and an away university selected by the applicant. To date, the programme has obtained funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Carnegie Corporation and Rockefeller Foundation. The programme requires funding for full degree fellowships, small grants for fellows to continue their research once back in the home country, small equipment grants workshops, evaluations and other co-ordination meetings. Visit USHEPIA’s website for more information.

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Emerging Researcher Programme (ERP) and Programme for the Enhancement of Research Capacity (PERC)

UCT offers a number of initiatives designed to support researchers at emerging, established (mid-career) and advanced stages of their academic careers. These include the Emerging Researcher Programme (which includes the disbursement of research development grants, as well as seminars, workshops, consultations and other mentoring activities) and PERC. These initiatives draw on the expertise of current and retired senior academics to transfer skills and build research capacity. In addition, the capacity to support established researchers who drive large strategic projects continues to evolve (for example, participation in European Union Framework grants and the National Institutes of Health). The programmes for emerging and mid career support are reliant on donor funding to supplement that which the university and the government?s skills levy are unable to provide.

The grants aspect of the ERP as well as the totality of PERC will not be sustained when the Carnegie Corporation funds come to an end in December 2011. The total budget for this programme is R17,3 million over three years.

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African Paediatric Fellowship Programme (APFP)

Mortality rates for children in Africa continue to be among the highest in the world thanks largely to poor healthcare across the continent. Now a new initiative developed by the School of Child and Adolescent Health at UCT is seeking to turn the tide. The African Paediatric Fellowships initiative has been established by the School to transfer specialised skills available at Africa?s largest and most successful children?s hospital – the Red Cross Children?s Hospital – to child health care professionals elsewhere in South Africa and Africa. Through the establishment of several Fellowships, the programme is creating opportunities for specialists and subspecialists from rural South Africa and the rest of Africa to gain vital training in specialised paediatrics at Red Cross Children?s Hospital. At the same time it seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Hospital through the acquisition of additional special skills, administrative support and the provision of teaching and training space. The programme will also involve follow-ups for post fellowship support to ensure that skills are properly embedded. Visit APFP’s website.

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Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH)

In developing countries depression is ranked the seventh biggest health burden, but too often health services in these countries spend less than 1% of the budget on this area – South Africa is no exception. Despite the fact that mental health disorders cause staggering economic and social costs and mental health is a crucial public health and development issue in South Africa, it remains a poorly funded and poorly understood part of the public health system. The Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH), a joint initiative of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at UCT and the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, has been established as an inter-disciplinary, academic research and teaching centre for primary health care focussing on public mental health promotion and service development in Africa. The Centre is endorsed by the World Health Organisation and its work will be based in an established research consortium led by UCT, namely the Mental Health and Poverty Project, which is funded by DFID UK with its partners in South Africa, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia as well as WHO Geneva and the University of Leeds.

The Centre is developing a two-year, part time Postgraduate Diploma in Public Mental Health and a Masters of Philosophy in Public Mental Health. An advanced research agenda will follow, together with the advocacy functions of the Centre. Short courses will also be developed and offered. Capacity-building fellowships are approximately R200,000.

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