Date: 26th November 2020

The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is pleased to announce the recognition of the achievement of our outstanding geologist and planetary scientist from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dr. Fulvio Franchi, recently awarded a grant for 1.4 million Euros (about P18 million).

The project titled “Pan-Africa Planetary and Space Science Network” is funded by the European Commission through the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) under the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme.

The Pan-Africa Planetary and Space Science Network aims to create a continent-wide mobility scheme for students, academic and support staff that harbors interests into the Planetary and Space Science disciplines. A team of experts from BIUST will lead a consortium consisting of Higher Education Institutes from Ethiopia (Addis Ababa University), Nigeria (University of Nigeria Nsukka), South Africa (University of the Witwatersrand), Zambia (Copperbelt University), and a technical partner from Italy (University of Bologna). The consortium includes relevant Planetary and Space Science stakeholders in the partnering countries such as the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) Zambia, and the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Nigeria.

The over-arching objective of the Pan-Africa Planetary and Space Science Network is to promote the education of young scientists who will meet the requirements of the large Planetary and Space Science projects expected to remain active for the next 20 years; for example the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project coordinated in Botswana by BIUST. The project will feed skilled human capital into the growing STEM and Planetary and Space Science labour market creating both skilled workers and STEM entrepreneurs in line with the BIUST Strategic Goal of Research and Innovation Excellence.

The complexity of Planetary and Space Science-related scientific problems requires highly skilled university lecturers and technical staff to boost capacity and contribute towards human capital development.

The project lead, Dr. Franchi asserts that “This mobility project wishes to develop the next generation of African scientists, leaders, and entrepreneurs by improving their access to high quality STEM education, with particular emphasis on Planetary and Space Science”.

The Pan-Africa Planetary and Space Science Network consortium will act as an incubator for new collaborations among African institutions. It will also create, for the first time in Africa, an integrated higher education programme for Planetary and Space Sciences at Master of Science (MSc) and Doctoral (PhD) level.

Contact: Itumeleng Mangole
Ag. Director, Communications & Public Affairs +267 493 1074 / 71607159