The East African Institute for Fundamental Research

An ICTP Partner Institute in Rwanda

The East African Institute for Fundamental Research (EAIFR) is a Category 2 UNESCO institute in Kigali, Rwanda. EAIFR is also an ICTP partner institute and the Centre is heavily involved in all scientic aspects of the institute. The ICTP also provides a co-director for the institute. The premises of EAIFR is a five-story building on the Kigali campus of the University of Rwanda (UR). EAIFR is an independent institute which nevertheless collaborates closely with the UR which also provides infrastructure for the institute. EAIFR is a moment's walk away from the departments of physics and of mathematics and it is anticipated that there will be strong interaction between the three entities.

The Mission of EAIFR

EAIFR has been developed in response to a need in Rwanda and the region for both MSc's and PhD's in various areas of physics, both fundamental and applied. It is planned that at any given time there will be 50 or more MSc students while the PhD programme is still to be determined.

The institute itself is more than just a graduate school as it will have at least five research scientists on staff. When it is fully operational there will be approximately 15 postdoctoral fellows. It is expected to act as a vibrant hub for visiting scientists from around the world, so that scientists from the continent can discuss and collaborate with others from further afield. This will also allow the students to make contact with active scientists and better their chances for obtaining PhD or postdoctoral positions in other countries.

The institute will host approximately five scientific meetings or schools a year, some of those in collaboration with the ICTP. Furthermore, it is expected to act as a node for various physics networks in Africa.

All aspects of EAIFR are based on scientific merit with a positive bias to gender equality and geographical distribution.

Thematic Areas of Research

Initially the areas of teaching and research will be in condensed matter physics, geophysics and particle physics and cosmology. Other areas currently being considered are high performance computing, computational sciences and space physics. There is a long-term vision to systematically identify and cover the parts of physics, mathematics and interdisciplinary areas relevant for a strong core in basic science while also attending to the priorities of the region and the continent in general.

Timeline

  • The interim Director of EAIFR, Omololu Akin-Ojo, has been appointed.
  • Two permanent scientific positions were advertised in April 2016 and are soon to be filled.
  • EAIFR will be inaugurated in 2018.
  • Student enrollment will begin in 2018.
  • Another two permanent scientific positions will be opened in 2017/2018.

Governance

EAIFR has two levels of governance. The first is the Steering Committee which is made up of representatives of the Rwanda Ministry of Education, the ICTP, the University of Rwanda and other stakeholders. The Steering Committee sets general guidelines for the institute's activities, determines budgeting levels, and considers proposals from the Director for the programme, work plans, financial plans, and budget.

The second is the Scientific Council which is composed of distinguished scientists in the areas of interest to the institute. This council advises EAIFR on its programmes of activities, taking into consideration major academic, scientific, educational and cultural trends relevant to the institutes' objectives.

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