The German Federal Minister for Education and Research Hon. Bettina Swark-Watzinger yesterday visited the SASSCAL Graduate Studies Programme in Integrated Water and Resource Management programme (SGSP-IWRM) hosted at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. The three-year doctoral programme was established by SASSCAL through funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The first intake includes 13 students from SASSCAL member countries namely, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia who are enrolled in the research-based PhD programme at the university.
Addressing the students, Hon. Stark-Watzinger said, “I hope our investments support you in occupying key positions for sustainable development in Africa and provide you with an opportunity to use your skills for the best of our countries to tackle the effects of climate change on the ground”. The SGSP aims to establish an innovative and excellent regional collaborative doctoral programme in IWRM; and develop tailor-made short courses for decision-makers and industry; a new curriculum for a new regional PhD qualification in IWRM, and a blueprint document for the transformation of the SGSP-IWRM into a SASSCAL Centre/Institute of Excellence in IWRM at NUST.
The programme’s German partner, International Centre of Water Resources and Global Change (ICWRGC) at the Federal Institute of Hydrology in Koblenz strengthens the research programme development, teaching, student supervision and facilitates compulsory student mobility to Germany.
Also speaking at the occasion, SASSCAL Executive Director, Dr Jane Olwoch highlighted that the goal of the SGSP-IWRM is to increase the number of highly qualified Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) experts and knowledge in the region. This will be achieved through the provision of scholarships to excellent PhD students, the creation of a platform within SASSCAL member countries for knowledge sharing, policy development and advice, thereby integrating and coordinating regional initiatives, and to design and accredit an innovative demand-based integrated PhD curriculum in IWRM.
The doctoral programme covers informatics, natural resources sciences, water and environment and spatial sciences, all of which have a water component. Executive Director for the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Partnership at NUST, Dr Anna Matros – Goreses said amongst 13 students enrolled in the programme, nine have their research proposals approved while others are still in the process of approval.
BMBF has committed 2.1 million Euros to the SGSP-IWRM Programme. Hon. Stark-Watzinger’s delegation during the visit included the German Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Herbert Beck and Dr Jane Olwoch. SASSCAL staff, NUST Management, as well as SGSP-IWRM students also attended the event.