African Collaboration

ICTP, University of Rwanda renew agreement of partner institute
African Collaboration
ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar (second from left) and University of Rwanda Acting Vice Chancellor Dr. Didas Kayihura Muganga (third from left) at the signing of the new agreement for ICTP's partner institute in Rwanda, the East African Institute for Fundamental Research. To their left: Ralf Kaiser, Senior Coordinator for Programmes and Advancement at ICTP; and to their right: Professor Paul Davenport, Chairperson of the University of Rwanda Board of Governors, Dr. Raymond Ndikumana, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning and Administration, University of Rwanda, and Mike Hughes, Special Advisor to the Rwandan Minister of Education.

ICTP and the University of Rwanda (UR) have renewed their commitment to developing research excellence and quality higher education in Rwanda by signing an agreement to further support and enhance the East African Institute for Fundamental Research (EAIFR), an ICTP partner institute in Kigali.

The agreement, signed by ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar and University of Rwanda Acting Vice Chancellor Dr. Didas Kayihura Muganga on 19 April 2023, extends the partnership for five years. 

ICTP-EAIFR opened in 2018 and offers the same quality research and educational opportunities for which ICTP is world-renowned, but at a location more easily accessible to African scientists. It is hosted by the University of Rwanda and supported by the Government of Rwanda's Ministry of Education. It has been designated a UNESCO Category 2 institute in recognition of its important role in building scientific capacity in Africa. 

The opening of ICTP-EAIFR provided the first opportunity for young scientists to earn a masters in physics in Rwanda. A doctoral programme in physics as well as opportunities for research training in Africa via short courses and workshops were also put in place. Now, five years later, the investment in science education is paying off: 19 students have completed the masters programme, and one student has completed requirements for a doctoral degree in physics.

"ICTP recognises the importance of building a solid foundation of basic science for the advancement of society," said ICTP Director Dabholkar, adding, "ICTP is ideally positioned to assist African efforts to address the challenges that are at the core of a sustainable future for humanity. We are pleased to continue this fruitful partnership with the University of Rwanda."

One of the first activities of the renewed partnership was a "Science Bridging Day" event hosted by ICTP-EAIFR at the University of Rwanda on 20 April. The activity aimed to strengthen links with researchers in Europe as well as build interdisciplinary bridges with researchers at UR and Rwanda in general. It featured a colloquium talk by ICTP Director Dabholkar on "Quantum Black Holes: Where Hawking meets Ramanujan", as well as presentations on ICTP research and other opportunities and the Centre's Physics Without Frontiers programme.