Research Flash Issue 19

Research Flash Issue 19

April 2020


Top: Prof O. Totolo during the launch of soaps and sanitizers at BIUST; Left: Drone spraying at PAA; Right: Soap bars produced at BIUST

In response to the COVID–19 Pandemic, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) set up a response team led by Prof G. Malumbela which collaborated some of the university’s partners and engaged on a rapid response and contribution towards the current national emergency caused by COVID-19 (Corona virus). Additionally, BIUST will be fulfilling its mandate of using Science & Engineering Knowledge to address societal challenges. The following are some of the products and projects that emanated from the partnerships;

  • Sanitizers – The BIUST team led by Prof W. Masamba and Prof A. Gessesse collaborated with Morupule Coal Mine to produce sanitizers for the community of Palapye. The sanitizers produced meet World Health Organization (WHO) and Botswana Bureau of Standards Specifications (BOBS) specifications.
  • Bar and Liquid Soap – The university team led by Prof E. Muzenda partnered with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to produce bar soap and liquid soap which were handed over to Palapye Administrative Authority to assist the community.
  • Drone Sprayer – BIUST team led by Prof R. Jamisola in partnership with the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) have designed Drone Sprayer to be used to disinfect the air of open public spaces. To date the drones have sprayed the Palapye Administrative Authority (PAA) offices and the Palapye Primary Hospital.
  • Dashboard – The team led by Prof G. Hillhouse through a collaboration with iThemba Labs and Wits University, a live dashboard visualizing the COVID-19 spread in Botswana. The dashboard uses maps and diagrams to give a detailed analysis of the data.
  • Sanitizer dispenser – The university team led Dr Z. Tjiparuro has designed sanitizer dispensers to be used in public areas such as hospitals, clinics and government offices. The uniqueness of these sanitizers lies in their capacity. The reservoir has a capacity of 25litres which is estimated to service about 1000 people.
  • E-permit App – Additionally, BIUST team led by Dr O. Bagwasi is working on the development of an e-permit app. This application will enable law enforcement officers to verify permits issued by scanning barcodes or QR codes which would have been sent to the applicants. This would eliminate loads of paperwork associated with the current permits system.
  • Ventilator – BIUST team led by Prof J. Chuma in collaboration with Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) and University of Botswana (UB) are working on designing and producing ventilators. The teams are at the design and prototyping stages with preliminary testing has been done in the lab, awaiting components to finalize the design. Overall, the ventilator design is 90% complete.


2020 Future Earth Call for Research Demonstrators for UNFCCC COP–26

Future Earth is pleased to announce a call for proposals of Research demonstrators for COP–26, in a partnership between Future Earth and the European Space Agency (ESA). This is an open call to the Future Earth community for the production of research demonstrators to strengthen the impact of Future Earth science at the UNFCCC COP-26 meeting. Up to €25,000 is available per project to show how research data can be used in a real-world situation by end users, to make an impact on policy and/or as a step towards commercial or operational uptake of the research.

Of particular note is the requirement that proposals include the use of ESA CCI data, and that lead applicants represent the Future Earth Global Research Projects (GRPs) and Knowledge Action Networks (KANs) as active members, obtaining a letter of support from their GRP or KAN International Project Office.

Thematic areas for this solicitation cover the themes of the COP-26 meeting:

  • Adaptation and resilience
  • Nature and safeguarding of ecosystems
  • Energy transition
  • Zero carbon road transport

Closing date: 11 May 2020

For more information visit:

Future leaders – African Independent Researchers (FLAIR) Fellowships

The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, in collaboration with the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the Royal Society and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), invites applications for its future leaders – African independent researchers fellowships. These supports African early-career researchers who have the potential to become leaders in their field. Fellowships provide an opportunity to build an independent research career in an African institution and to undertake research that will address global challenges relevant to their countries. Proposals must focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • equitable access to sustainable development;
  • sustainable economies and societies;
  • human rights, good governance and social justice.

Projects must be within the natural sciences.

Closing date: 27 May 2020

For more information visit:

AIMS – Africa Data Science Intensive Programme 2020

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences invites applications for its scholarships for the Africa Data Science Intensive (DSI) programme. This support participation in a hands-on skills training programme in data science based on solving real-world problems, to take place between 7 September and 6 November 2020, and between 18 and 29 January 2021. The course is structured via three three-week long online modules of 25 to 30 hours per week, and a two-week in-person workshop to be held in Cape Town. The following skills are emphasised in the course:

  • practical artificial intelligence;
  • management of data science projects;
  • extract/load/transform (ETL) and deployment of AI systems;
  • business problem solving skills;
  • computer science fundamentals;
  • machine learning fundamentals.

Students holding at least an honours degree in science, engineering or mathematics may apply. Scholarships cover tuition, and travel and living expenses to attend the workshop.

Closing date: 31 May 2020

For more information visit:

L’Oréal-UNESCO International Awards for Women in Science

L’Oréal International and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) invite nominations for their international awards for women in science, under the for Women in Science programme. These recognise women who have made contributions to the advancement of physical sciences, mathematics or computer science.

One prize will be awarded to a scientist working in each of the following regions:

  • Africa and the Arab States;
  • Asia-Pacific;
  • Europe;
  • Latin America;
  • North America.

Candidates must be actively involved in scientific research in their region and be recognised among the international scientific community. Self-nominations are not allowed.

Closing date: 31 May 2020

For more information visit:

PASET Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund PhD Scholarships

The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) is an African-led initiative with the goal of strengthening skills in the Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology to further socio-economic transformation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) is the flagship program of PASET. RSIF focuses on transformative technologies that have a far-reaching positive impact on society. It is funded by contributions from African governments, the World Bank and the Government of Korea.

RSIF aims to train quality PhD students and post-doctoral researchers at selected African universities (‘African Host Universities’) to address the human resource gap of highly qualified specialists in the fields of applied sciences, engineering, and technology (ASET) and to contribute to improving research and innovation capacities in those fields in SSA. RSIF also supports the strengthening of research and innovation ecosystems at the African Host Universities by providing funding through competitive grants.

RSIF supports training, research and innovation in five PASET Priority Thematic Areas:

  • ICT including big data and artificial intelligence,
  • Food security and agri-business,
  • Minerals, mining and materials engineering,
  • Energy including renewables
  • Climate change.

Closing date: 15 June 1700Hrs (UTC +3)

For more information visit:

2021 NRF Postgraduate Scholarships

The South Africa Department of Science and Technology (DST) and National Research Fund (NRF) have released a call of new applications for NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the 2021 academic year. Continuing students who are eligible for a second or third year of funding must submit a Progress Report and not a new application.

The NRF minimum academic requirement for postgraduate funding is 65%. Applicants for masters and doctoral funding must be 30 and 32 years of age or younger respectively in the year of application. Successful applicants will be will be funded either at Full Cost of Study (FCS) or Partial Cost of Study (PCS). The FCS funding will be awarded to South African citizens and permanent residents only. However, the PCS funding will be awarded to international students and South African citizens and permanent residents who could not be funded under FCS but meet the minimum requirements for the NRF scholarship funding criteria.

Scholarships are intended to support postgraduate students to pursue studies in all areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Social Sciences and Humanities

All applicants are expected to apply on the NRF Online Submission System. No manual applications will be accepted.

Closing date: 14 August 2020

For more information visit:

DAAD Scholarships for Development-Related Postgraduate Courses

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) invites applications for its scholarships for development-related postgraduate courses. These offer graduates from developing or newly industrialised countries the opportunity to undertake a postgraduate degree at a university in Germany. Courses are offered in the following fields at a variety of institutions:

  • economic sciences;
  • business administration;
  • development cooperation;
  • engineering and related sciences;
  • mathematics;
  • regional planning;
  • agriculture and forest sciences;
  • natural and environmental sciences;
  • social sciences and education;
  • media studies.

Applicants must hold an above average bachelor’s degree that is no more than six years old and have at least two years of professional experience. They should also work for a public authority or a state or private company in a developing country and be engaged in the planning and execution of directives and projects with emphasis on development policies having a bearing on technological, economic or social areas. Women and candidates from disadvantaged groups who meet the required standards and show commitment to development-related issues are especially targeted for admission.

Scholarships last for 12 to 36 months depending on the subject and chosen institution. Scholarships include monthly payments, subject to academic level, as well as payments towards health, accident and personal liability insurance cover as well as travel allowance. Under certain circumstances scholarships holders also receive a monthly rent subsidy and allowance for accompanying family members.

Closing date: You can apply for this opportunity at any time. Applicants should refer to the deadline information indicated by the specific institution.

For more information visit:

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