GENES II

Project name:Mobility for Plant Genomics Scholars to Accelerate Climate-Smart Adaptation Options and Food Security in Africa II
AcronymGENES II
Type of ActionNDICI-MOBAF-UN/ Intra Africa
Key wordsCapacity building, climate change, cross regional mobility, food and nutritional security, food technology, plant breeding.
DurationJanuary 2024 to December 2027
Countries for mobilityNigeria, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, South of Africa and Zimbabwe
European Technical PartnerNetherlands
Coordinating countryNigeria
BACKGROUND
Extreme weather variability experienced in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa due to the adverse impact of climate change has caused a rapid decline in food production. The lack of a critical mass of trained graduates with knowledge in relevant areas such as genomics and digital technologies to mitigate the effects of climate change has further worsened the situation. To address these emerging issues, there is a need to develop knowledge and capacity to use genomic technologies to develop climate-smart crops. Therefore, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across sub-Saharan Africa need to work together through the mobility scheme of plant genomics scholars to accelerate climate-smart adaptation options and food security. The proposed mobility scheme, the GENES II project, brings together six universities across three African regions, namely, Western, Eastern, and Southern Africa, and one technical partner from the European region for four years (2024-2027).
OBJECTIVES
The GENES II intends to: train 12 high-profile PhD graduates, 32 MSc graduates, 10 academic staff and 10 trainees with skills in genomic and digital technologies, specifically artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate crop improvement for climate change adaptation and mitigationenhance the entrepreneurial skills of beneficiaries in agribusiness and enterprise management to enhance graduate employability; harmonization of academic programmes and research agenda to enhance research collaboration among African HEIs.
APPROACH
Selection of MSc and PhD students, trainees, staff for mobility in Nigeria, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, South of Africa and ZimbabweMaximum duration of mobility:PhD students: 36 monthsMaster students: 12 monthsTrainees: 3 monthsStaff: 2 months   Higher Education Institutions involved in mobility Countries Universities involved Department / Faculty involved Nigeria Ebonyi State University (EBSU) Department of Crop Production and Landscape Management Benin University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC) School of Plant Science, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences Ethiopia Jimma University (JU) Horticulture and Plant Science, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine South of Africa North West University (NWU) Department of Crop Science, School of Agricultural Sciences Kenya Egerton University (EU) Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils (CHS) in the faculty of Agriculture (FoA) Zimbabwe University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture Netherlands Wageningen University (WU) Wageningen University & Research    Beneficiaries Two target groups will be considered: Target group (TG) 1: Students registered or admitted in/or having obtained a degree from HEIs involved in the project (EBSU, UAC, JU, NWU, EU, UZ). Target group (TG) 2: Students registered or admitted in/or having obtained a degree from another HEI which is not part of the current consortium but established in Africa. Countries such as Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Soudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Senegal, Niger, Zambia, Malawi, Togo are identified to send students into the mobility scheme as TG 2. 81.25% of selected master’s and doctoral students will come from TG 1 and 18.75% from TG 2.
MILESTONES
Signature of the Memorandum of understanding at month 6,Mobility tool update 1 at month 9,Mobility tool update 2 at month 18,Mobility tool update 3 at month 30,Mobility tool update 4 at month 42,Mobility tool update 5 at month 48,Recruited MSc students have defended their thesis,Recruited PhD students have defended their thesis,PhD student published one article each before graduation,Recruited trainees successfully completed their internship,Recruited staff completed their mobility.At least one cooperation agreement is established between a HEI involved in ORPHAN project and an organization that focus on the development and utilization of orphan crops at month 24,More than 1000 people accessed the project outputs at month 48.
BUDGET
  HEI Country Allocated budget Ebonyi State University (EBSU) Nigeria 359,364 € University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC) Benin 287,491.2 € Jimma University Ethiopia 287,491.2 € North West University (NWU) South of Africa 287,491.2 € Egerton University Kenya 278,507.1 € University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Zimbabwe 278,507.1 € Wageningen University Netherlands 17,968.2 €
Risks
  No Risks Proposed risk-mitigation measures 1 Possibility of staff attrition to more endowed economies   Likelihood: Low Arrangements to be made to allow participation of experts even after they leave the current institution. A letter of agreement and recruitment policy will specify this requirement. Similarly, an orientation programme will be conducted to integrate new lectures and supervisors into the platform. 2 Strict institutional bureaucracies which may hinder timely implementation of activities Likelihood: Low Delays will be reduced by keeping track of implementation process, engaging institutions’ leadership in good time and early planning. 3 Natural disasters are events such as earthquake, flooding etc.  The impact of such risk on the project would be high.   Likelihood: Low Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties. This ensures that everyone is informed about potential risks – Students field activities would be conducted far from potential zones where natural disasters are frequent   4 Unexpected health disasters are unforeseen heath disasters and pandemic such as Covid-19. Likelihood: Low Although all HEIs involved in this project managed very well with Covid-19 pandemic we will:-Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties. – Stay up to date on the latest information from reputable health organizations such as World Health Organisation and governmental agencies-Comply to national hygiene and sanitation measures in place in the affected country(ies)-Move to online meetings and provide supports to student-be flexible in scheduling and budgeting: Build flexibility into project workplan and budget to accommodate unforeseen events   5 Political instability Likelihood: Low   Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties. This ensures that everyone is informed about potential risks; – be flexible in scheduling and budgeting: Build flexibility into project workplan and budget to accommodate unforeseen events (for instance shift the student mobility into another country when political instability would arise). This allows for adjustments without compromising the entire project. 6 Difficulties in obtaining visas and other administrative formalities related to student mobilities  Likelihood: Low Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties. -International cooperation service will brief students on the process of obtaining visa along with required documents so that scholarship holders apply for visa on time, right after their selection-Project team will ensure that all documents are sent to selected scholarship holders right after they accept the scholarship (sign acceptance letter) 7 Tight schedules of individual scientists; disruptions/change in learning environments/calendar. Likelihood: Low Use of blended learning skill 8 Students drop out   Likelihood: Low Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties. -Prepare and share with scholarship holders’ information related to the mobility (conditions of the mobility and jobs prospects)-Connect scholarship holders to contact person at the international cooperation office who will also be the scholarship holders’ focal point for first assistance. 9 Students pass away   Likelihood: Low Health and Safety Measures: Ensure compliance with health and safety regulations, including regular inspections of facilities, fire safety protocols.-Check-up and Sworn statement to clarify the health statue of each student-Contact person in case of emergency
GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE AND MANAGEMENT TEAM
For the smooth running of the project, three Work Packages (WP) will be implemented: WP1: Management and implementation of the project; WP2: Selection and supervision of scholarship holders; and WP3: Sustainability, dissemination, and exploitation of results. The following management team will be set up:                            

MAIN CONTACT PERSONS
Ebonyi State University, Nigeria: Prof Happiness Oselebe University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin: Prof Nicodeme Fassinou Hotegni Jimma University, Ethiopia: Prof Wosene Gebreselassie Egerton University, Kenya: Prof. Pascal Ojwang North West University, South of Africa: Prof Sidney Mavengahama University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe: Prof. Edmore Gasura Wageningen University, The Netherlands: Prof Eric Schranz Senior advisor: Prof Enoch Achigan-Dako

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