12 April 2019
The tropical Cyclone Idai has caused catastrophic damages in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe since it struck Southeastern Africa on March 14, 2019. In the eastern part of Zimbabwe, the storm has destroyed villages and communities, resulting in thousands of displaced people, hundreds killed and hundreds still missing. Researchers from the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) are contributing with their skills in DNA profiling to help the Government to identify victims.
The ISP supported African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) is the first DNA testing center in Zimbabwe. AiBST has been called in as a technical partner to the Ministry of Health and Child Care in the country to assist with the identification of unidentified dead and start the process of looking for the missing by establishing a DNA database of their relatives.
- I have just spend 7 days with my team in the devastated communities collecting samples from the dead and from relatives, and have now brought them back to the lab for DNA profiling. There are still many trips to make back to the communities to collect samples as findings of the missing will be made. Whilst we are doing the little we can to help, the whole experience is beyond comprehension, says Prof Collen Masimirembwa, founder and President of AiBST.
21 March 2019
This evening, PhD graduates from ISP supported groups in Ehtiopia gathered at Ras Amba Hotel in Addis Ababa for an alumni meet. ISP staff and group leaders from chemistry, physics and mathematics got a chance to meet, eat and mingle with the former PhD graduates. All graduates who were present are currently working at universities in or around Addis.Thank you all for coming!
Are you an ISP graduate and would like to be invited to similar events in your country? Sign up here
13 March 2019
Pravina Gajjar started to work at ISP in January 1989. For 30 years, she has made sure that an uncountable number of fellows and students from all ISP programs had a smooth stay in Sweden and felt at home whenever they were here.
Pravina has always enjoyed to travel the world. She is born in Tanzania, trained as a nurse in the UK and moved to Sweden for love (not for the weather) in 1973. She started her career at Uppsala University at the Unit for Primary Health Care, but soon realized she missed an international component in her work. In 1988, she interviewed for a job at ISP and knew from that instance that this was her position.
If you compare ISP then and now, what is different?
Oh, of course almost everything is different when it comes to the administration. But what has remained the same is the handling of students – the personal contact and giving the best service you can. I have always tried to make sure that the students feel at home when they are here. They should focus on their research and studies and not worry about their family and other things.
What has been the best thing with ISP?
It has been amazing to work with people from other countries and cultures. It has really enriched my daily life. I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to work at ISP. I will of course miss all the students and staff at ISP.
What will you do now?
I will start with taking in the fact that I now have vacation full-time. Then my wish is to travel the world with my husband Janne!
Pravina, thank you for your time at ISP! You will be missed!
8 March 2019, International Women's Day
“Mathematical and natural sciences have long and honorable traditions of participation by highly creative women contributors. However, the percentages of women scientists remain shockingly low and there is a significant gender gap at all levels between women and men” according to the Gender Gap in Science Project.
Recognizing the needs and the importance of addressing the gender gap in Science, ISP has increased its efforts to promote gender equality. In 2017, a gender equality grant was established for groups and networks (in physics and mathematics) giving them the possibility to apply for earmarked, locally designed and organized activities for improving gender balance and equality at their own institutions. Since then, 17 grants have been allocated allowing a variety of activities, like summer schools for high school students, PhD scholarships for female candidates, mentorship programs, tuition fees for MSc students, and workshops for university students and personnel.
ISP supported partners report that these efforts have already resulted in improvements. ISP is well aware about the importance to keep the continuity of this work, and plans to increase the funding from 2020 to further boost the impact.
In 2016, ISP organized a “gender summer school” at Uppsala University jointly with Department of Physics, and Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. The main goal of the summer school was to promote mentorship and networking between young and senior (female) scientists, something that immediately yielded results. Female scientists from ISP supported activities met eachother for the first time at this gathering and have now initiated the Eastern Africa Network for Women in the Basic Sciences (EANWoBAS). This network will receive ISP core funding from 2019, and is the first ISP supported network of this kind.
Read more about our partners and the great work they are doing to improve gender equality.
24 January 2019
Meet Chris Bengtsson - the new administrative assistant to the mathematics program!
Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies from Birmingham City University, UK. He is an experienced purchasing manager previously working in retail in Cyprus. In 2014, he moved to Sweden and has since been taking courses at Linköping University. At ISP, Chris will administrate the mathematics program (IPMS), replacing Pravina Gajjar who is retiring in March.
-I’m thrilled for the opportunity to be part of ISP. I look forward to acquiring new knowledge and skills and at the same time contribute to the significant cause of this program. I am very excited to start working with my new colleagues, to meet new interesting people and get familiar with new cultures!
We are happy to announce that ISP will support the newly initiated Eastern Africa Network for Women in Basic Sciences (EANWoBAS), started by ISP graduate and mathematician Dr Betty Nannyonga.
The network consist of female researchers in mathematics and physicist from universities in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. With the belief and slogan “basic sciences for all” the network envisions to be leading in creating gender balance representation in the basic sciences, on all levels from primary to tertiary education in East Africa.
- We need to create a firm base of fast thinking female scientists, because when you train a woman, you train a nation. Cultural and social barriers are hindering girls from pursuing science, and the myth that math is hard and most suitable for boys is one that needs to be permanently killed, says network initiator Betty Nannyonga.
ISP is looking forward to following and take part of the network’s important work, starting with an awareness creating marathon for gender equality in Kampala in March 2019.
28 December 2018
A new ISP study looked at where the 250 PhD's graduated from ISP supported groups and networks between 2014 and 2017 currently are working, and with what. The aim was to see if graduates are contributing to increased competence at their academic institutions or if they are making use of their skills in other sectors or other countries.
The study shows that 95% of the PhD graduates currently are working in their home countries and regions, a large majority (94%) at universities or research institutes. Some graduates are working in their home countries but outside the academic sector at research councils, ministries and national authorities. A few graduates are working outside their home countries and regions, most employed at academic institutions.
These results are in line with the findings of previous ISP tracer studies and indicate that ISP is contributing to building capacity at academic institutions in supported countries.
ISP chemistry reference group member Prof Charlotta Turner and Lund University did the unthinkable when they sent armed security forces into an ISIS controlled war zone in Iraq to rescue PhD student (now Dr) Firas Jumaah. The operation succeeded and Firas and his family was brought safely back to Sweden.
"What was happening was completely unacceptable, I got so angry that IS was pushing itself into our world, exposing my doctoral student and his family to this, and disrupting the research." Professor Turner told Lund University Magazine (LUM).
23 November 2018
Research and innovation was the theme of this year’s addition the annual ISP/Sida Building Future Networks seminar held 23 November at the Sida Headquarter in Stockholm. 110 PhD students and Postdocs from Sida and ISP programs traveled from universities all over Sweden to participate in this networking day.
Students were given practical information on insurance and immigration issues followed by discussion and experience sharing. The International Theater Stockholm came and put on a great show on cultural clashes based on student experiences, and Uppsala University Innovation opened our minds to the innovation and commercialization process of research with a lecture and a rapid prototype workshop. Sida held a session on important and helpful online resources.
Thanks for a great day!
10 October 2018
In 2011, the Faculty of Science and Technology (TekNat) at Uppsala University entered into an agreement with Al Baha University in Saudi Arabia. The aim was to improve academic programs, research training and educational quality assurance within S&T at Al Baha University, mainly through training of Al Baha lecturers at Uppsala University and development of MSc programs at Al Baha. A special emphasis is put on including female staff members and students in the activities and to provide exposure to international research and teaching cultures. All activities are funded by Al Baha University and the Saudi government. As the coordinating body, ISP sees this as an important opportunity to contribute to women empowerment in Saudi Arabia.
Mathematician and Al Baha lecturer, Dr. Azza Alghamdi, was the first PhD student to join the program. She came to Uppsala University in 2013 to start her studies at the Department of Mathematics under the supervision of Prof. Maciej Klimek. In September 2018, she successfully defended her thesis “Approximation of pluricomplex Green functions. A probabilistic approach.”
Warm congratulations! What are your future plans?
"I want to continue research. I am looking forward to contribute to research especially in complex variables and approximation theory."
What will you bring back to Al Baha from Uppsala University and Sweden?
"I will bring back not only a PhD degree, but also a full package of a great experiences. Uppsala University offers a wonderful environment for studying and learning, which takes care of many variables. Programs, learning system, courses, teachers, students, classes, buildings, and even the beautiful small city (Uppsala), all together combined to meet the perfect educational image, one can think of. I wish students from my home city got to have a chance to learn at Uppsala University."
Two more PhD students are currently involved in the Saudi Science collaboration, one doing his PhD at the Department of Information Technology at Uppsala University, and one at The School of Education and Culture and Communication (UKK) at Mälardalen University.
25 September 2018
It is with great sadness we have received information that our predecessor, Professor Rune Liminga, on 14 September 2018 has passed away, at an age of 85.
In the early 1960’s, Rune became engaged in the support in X-ray crystallography provided by the Department of Chemistry, Uppsala University, to Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, given within the framework of the recently started “International Seminar for Research and Education in Physics.” To facilitate support in chemistry in a wider sense, Uppsala University 1966 proposed SIDA to launch also a seminar in chemistry. Rune was entrusted the task to plan the activities, and was later assigned to lead the “International Seminar in Chemistry”, from its start 1970. He stayed in that position until he left the program in 1997.
The aim of the Seminars was to “initiate the creation of research groups or to provide assistance to already existing research groups at universities or national laboratories in developing countries”. Rune was one of those who realized that long-term support was needed to fulfil this. Furthermore, he realized that fellowships for research training in Sweden needed complementary contributions for equipment, support for MSc and PhD program, etc. He was pushing for such discussions, which finally, in 1978/79, resulted in a five-year agreement with the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries (SAREC). Now, the realization of the visions could commence, with “project support” tailored to needs and starting conditions.
An important component was the cooperation with strong research teams predominantly in Sweden, but also in the regions, and postgraduate education was an essential feature. At an early stage, Rune realized that PhD students spending all their training in the North faced difficulties in returning to their home countries, regarding both their professional and social life. He was therefore among the pioneers to promote “sandwich” training programs, where periods with a host institution in the North were layered with periods at the home institution. This contributed to a continuous transfer of knowledge, and profoundly reduced “brain drain”. Sandwich programs are operated still today, by ISP and Sida, and by other organisations.
Rune worked energetically to develop the program, and his vision stretched far beyond the “seminar” concept. To mirror the development of activities, he initiated the organization in 1987 of the two seminars under the common name “The International Science Programme” (ISP), and the Chemistry Seminar became “The International Programme in the Chemical Sciences” (IPICS).
Besides the support to viable research teams, Rune realized the importance of forming connections between scientists in the South in thematic, scientific networks. He was personally engaged in the initiating of several such networks, many of which are still active today.
In many respects, Rune’s visions, philosophy, and hard, persistent work to develop IPICS became a model for what ISP still is today, and many hundreds of researchers and graduates in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have benefited from the implementation of his visions. After retirement, Rune still followed the development of the program with great interest.
Rune, for us it has been a great honour, challenge, and pleasure to continue operating IPICS – and ISP – along the path you did lay out. Rest in peace.
IPICS Director since 2006, and Head of ISP since 2007
IPICS Director 1997-2006
Director for the Physics program 1982-2007
Head of ISP 1998-2007
On behalf of current and previous ISP co-workers and Board members
24 September 2018
An external evaluation was carried out of ISP in 2018, commissioned by Sida. In sum, it finds that "ISP fulfils a direct, facilitating and promotive role in supporting scientific activities in its partner research groups and university departments". It is concluded that ISP’s support is aligned with Swedish policies for research in development cooperation, that the support is highly relevant to the development of recipients scientific research capacity, and that much of the supported research has clear relevance to country specific needs. Further, it is considered that ISP has an pragmatic approach to problems and issues that has been effective, and ISP's work to promote gender equality is positively acknowledged.
However, a number of recommendations and inputs were given to provide new thinking on the future development of ISP. To summarize, it is concluded that there is a need for ISP to revise its results framework and thinking, to facilitate program learning and reporting. Furthermore, it is considered that there is room for improvement in evaluating and assessing the development of each individual supported research group and network on a more regular basis, in which the Scientific Reference Groups could be more involved. The evaluation also recommend ISP to consider a more time bound modality, since there is concern that ISP's long term funding may have trapped supported groups and networks into financial dependency on ISP.
Read the full evaluation report and ISP's management response below!
3 July 2018
Our 2017 Annual Report is now availalbe, in full and in summary!
Jennifer Blanke – Vice President Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank Group
With a PhD in International Economics and over 25 years of experience, Jennifer is a globally well-known and respected development economist. Previous to her current position at the African Development Bank, she was Chief Economist at the World Economic Forum. Her areas of expertise covers economic, human and social development, and private-public partnerships as drivers of inclusive and sustainable growth. She is an advisor to several governments in Africa on these topics and presently serves as a member of the Canadian government's Advisory Council on Economic Growth. Besides her new engagement as a member of the ISP Board, she also holds a number non-executive board responsibilities in other none-profit organizations.
Why did you join the ISP Board and what are your expectations?
- As a development economist I have spent much of my career studying and advocating efforts aimed at increasing national productivity, growth and competitiveness. Education and scientific knowledge are among the most important drivers that lift countries to higher trajectories of inclusive and sustainable development, while preparing them to find home grown solutions to their challenges. I have been impressed by ISP’s work in fostering environments for education and scientific research in developing countries, and I am pleased to bring my experience from Africa and other developing regions to the Board. In the short to medium term, in particular I look forward to fostering synergies between the work of ISP and other groups advocating and supporting the science and technology agenda in Africa, ensuring that the work is mutually reinforcing rather than overlapping.
Peter Brzezinski – Professor at Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
After obtaining his PhD degree in Biophysics at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden in 1989, Peter spent two years at University of California San Diego, USA. After moving back to Sweden he was assistant Professor at Göteborg University before taking on a Professorial Chair of Biochemistry at Stockholm university in 1998. His main research interests are centered around mechanisms of energy conversion in living organisms. He has held several commissions of trusts within academia, and is since 2007 an elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA).
Barbara Brena – Docent at Department of Physics and Astronomy
Barbara's research focuses on materials modeling for renewable energy sources, using theoretical soft x-ray spectroscopy. Her academic career did however start with experimental research at the synchrotron Elettra laboratory in Trieste, Italy, where she also origins from. Barbara serves on the board of Uppmax (Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science), and previously as a Board Member for a non-profit organization working with education in developing countries (U3V).
Veronica Crispin Quinonez – Senior Lecturer at Department of Mathematics
Veronica is a commutative algebraist working with operations on ideals. After gaining her PhD at Stockholm University in 2006, she spent two years at University of Oregon, USA, amongst other places. In 2010, she came to Uppsala and is since then responsible for the teaching education program at the Department of Mathematics. Veronica coordinated the Master Programme in Mathematics 2011-2012 (her first contact with ISP), was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences National Committee for Mathematics 2012-2017, and co-organized the mathematical contest Baltic Way in Stockholm 2015. She is fluent in Swedish, Russian, English and, to some extent, Italian.
17 April 2018
As a pre-meeting to the The Swedish Global Health Research Conference 2018, Karolinska Institutet (KI) and ISP jointly organized a PhD student networking meeting at KI in Stockholm.
The aim of the meeting was to give PhD students part of ISP- and Sida programs an opportunity to network with each other, present their research and learn how and why their research can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Maria-Teresa Bejarano, Adjunct Professor in Infection Biology and Senior Research Advisor at Sida, was invited to give a lecture on the SDGs followed by a workshop.
26-27 Mars 2018
The second networking meeting for Sida- and ISP funded PhD students in mathematics took place 26-27 Mars at Sida in Stockholm. The event was jointly organized by ISP and Linköping University (MAI in Africa).
25 PhD students from universities in Africa and Asia have gathered to network, discuss challenges and opportunities with PhD training at their home universities, and present their research.
28 December 2017
ISP has followed up on the 57 groups and networks phased out of ISP support between 2003 and 2014. The aim was to find out if they are continuing their activities and how they experienced the ISP support and the phase out period.
The report shows that a large majority (82%) of the phased out groups and networks are still active. Many have been able to secure grants from both international and national funding agencies, and have continued to publish papers and graduate postgraduate students after ISP's support ended.
Most groups and networks were satisfied with the phase out period given (ranging between 1-6 years) and were ok with the reasons given for ending support. However, some improvements were suggested, including better communication from ISP's side, provision of proposal writing and research grant management courses, and better utilization of the capacity in phased out groups and networks.
15 December 2017
ISP's annual Board Meeting was held at the Biomedical Center at Uppsala University. ISP warmly welcomed two new members to the Board: Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell and PhD student Agne Ciuciulkaite. A special thanks was also directed to resigning members Mohamed H.A. Hassan and Elzbieta Glaser.
13 November 2017
Why and how should we communicate research results? That was the theme of the annual 'Building Future Networks' seminar jointly organized by Sida and ISP at the Sida headquarters in Stockholm. In total, 80 sandwich PhD students and postdocs from both ISP and Sida programs attended the event.
Representatives from the Nordic Africa Institute, Wikipedia and Gapminder gave lectures and workshops on how to pitch research results, how to use Wikipedia for scientific outreach, and on global misconceptions. The day ended with a student poster session and mingle bingo!
10 October 2017
Meet our new financial assistants - Archana Yadav Ganganaboina and Ulrika Kolsmyr!
Archana has a bachelor’s degree in commerce and a master’s in business administration from University of Gävle, Sweden. While studying, she worked as a substitute teacher in middle schools in Uppsala, and in 2015, she did an internship at ISP. Archana will be responsible for paying allowances to Sida bilateral students from Bolivia, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania. In addition, she will administrate the Tanzania bilateral program.
- I look forward to working in an international environment at the university level. I hope to get a chance to develop myself as administrator, as well as to meet different people and get exposed to new cultures and languages etc.
*Archana is substituting for Aksana Mushkavets - any questions previously directed to Aksana should now be sent to Archana.
After working as a music teacher in Stockholm for several years, Ulrika switch fields into business administration. She has previously worked at the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) and most recently at the central financial administration department at Uppsala University. At ISP, she will be handling the financial administration such as invoices and money transfers.
- I’m excited to move from the university administration to a more operational institution, and get closer to reality. It is bonus that I find ISP’s operations very important and valuable. I look forward to work with my new colleagues!
Welcome to ISP!
31 August 2017
A review of ISP´s former long-term engagement with research groups at universities in Sri Lanka and Thailand is now available!
The book includes a historical overview, developments and effects of over 30 years of research cooperation. The experiences and present whereabouts of former PhD students and collaborators are also covered.
3 July 2017
Our annual report 2016 is now available in full length and in summary!
21 June 2017
ISP warmly welcomes Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell as a member of the ISP Board!
Hans Corell is an Uppsala Alumni with a long experience of working for the United Nations as Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel between 1994 and 2004. Before that, he served as Ambassador and Under-Secretary for Legal and Consular Affairs at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs between 1984 and 1994.
He has been a member of Sweden’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and has had several assignments related to the Council of Europe, OECD and the CSCE (now OSCE). Besides serving as a member of the Advisory Board of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, he has also been Legal Adviser to the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, chaired by Kofi Annan.
5 May 2017
ISP warmly welcomes Professor Jenny Ruales from the Department of Food Science and Biotechnology at Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador, as a member of the IPICS Scientific Reference Group.
Prof Ruales has a PhD in food engineering from Lund University, and her research focuses on functional foods. Product development, food science research and project management falls within her area of expertise.
She has previous experience of working with ISP as a group leader of the ISP supported research group in nutritional biochemistry and biotechnology between 1984 and 2007, and as coordinator of the Latin American Network for Food Research (LANFOOD), supported by ISP between 1994 and 2007. In addition, she has performed consultancy services for the Word Bank Ecuadorian Children Feeding Program, and coordinated the MSc and PhD program in food science at Escuela Politécnica Nacional since 1994.
18 April 2017
ISP has supported the Eastern Africa Universities Mathematics Programme (EAUMP) since its inception in 2002. In 2016, ISP commissioned an evaluation of the network to assess its activities and progress, and to provide EAUMP and ISP with an independent review of future directions.
In summary the Evaluation Team concluded that:
"the EAUMP network has played an absolutely essential and transformative role, at a reasonable and proportionate cost, in building mathematics research and teaching capacity throughout the Eastern African region, introducing new areas of mathematics and strengthening existing ones. There are signs of consolidating and emerging research groups, regular activities becoming embedded and finding additional support, as well as new types of activity. The continuing support, in a suitable form and shape, and taking into account the recommendations below, of mathematics, the most fundamental of enabling sciences, in the East African region is a worthwhile endeavour fully in accordance with the aims and objectives of ISP and its main funder Sida."
10 April 2017
The prestigious journal Nature highlights the work on precision medicine made by the ISP supported research group at the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST), headed by Collen Masimirembwa.
AiBST research has gained attention following a public health scandal in Zimbabwe, where many HIV patients in public health programs stopped using the drug efavirenz due to heavy side effects. Masimirembwa’s research group has shown that a gene variant carried by many Zimbabweans slows their ability to break down efavirenz, thereby causing side effects such as hallucinations, depression and suicidal tendencies for those carrying the variant. These side effects can be reduced by precision medicine – where the diagnostic and treatment is tailored according to the needs and genes of individual patients.
As a result of the Nature article, HIV patients and relatives of patients experiencing the challenges of using efavirenz-based drugs are contacting AiBST for assistance.
5 April 2017
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the NEPAD Agency’s Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) has been granted US$2 million from the Carnegie Corporation of New York for a postdoctoral fellowship program. The initiative responds to an urgent need to increase the number of researchers in Africa.
ISP will serve as a partner in the program, together with six other African, European and US higher education institutions. The program and its partners will work together to:
- Increase the number of postdoctoral researchers in Africa and build a critical mass of world class researchers
- Provide a quality and structured postdoctoral training program
- Provide access to quality research facilities and mentors from Africa and abroad
- Promote the production, reproduction and transition of knowledge
9 February 2017
Prof. Hans Rosling, Uppsala, tragically passed away earlier this week. He was a dear friend of the International Science Programme (ISP) and formerly closely associated with the International Programme in the Chemical Sciences (IPICS).
Hans Rosling was a deeply appreciated tutor, student supervisor, and scientific cooperation partner particularly in the IPICS-supported research network on cassava safety, which he coordinated 1993 to 2001.
In 2011, Hans Rosling contributed with his famous enthusiastic presentation approach to the 50th anniversary seminar of ISP, when he put the development and operational mode of the program in a proper, global perspective with his presentation “ISP and the World”.
We are immensely grateful for Hans Rosling’s past contributions to the program and for the time he has devoted to ISP.
Head of ISP and Director of the Chemistry Program (IPICS)
25 October 2016
On the 25 October, the Makerere University main hall was filled with about 300 undergraduate students participating in the second workshop on “Gender Equality in the Basic Sciences – Bridging the Gap”. The workshop was organized by ISP Gender Equality Grant winner, Dr Betty Nannyonga, and is part of her project aiming to strengthen and support the success and retention of women in basic sciences at the university.
Female senior researchers in mathematics and physics from Stockholm University (Prof. Lovisa Sumpter) and University of Nairobi (Dr Alix Dehayem) gave lectures on the reasons behind, and problems with, the low number of women in science, and Makerere University staff and students shared their experiences on the issues. Ugandan TV and radio was present to cover the event.
“I am very satisfied with the well-attended workshop! The media coverage is good, it creates awareness of issues facing women in academia at our university”, said organizer Dr Nannyonga (picture below).
21 October 2016
On 21 October, Sida and ISP jointly organized a seminar called "Building Future Networks" at the Sida Headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, gathering about 80 students and postdocs from Sida bilateral programs and ISP supported groups and networks.
The aim was to provide the students and postdocs with better information and inspiration, and give the opportunity to expand their networks with like-minded people across the globe.
The seminar covered both practical information and tips from Kammarkollegiet, the Swedish Migration Agency and the Swedish institute, as well as presentations and discussions on gender equality in academia and cross cultural partnerships. The latter ones were held by Minna Salminen Karlsson, Docent at the Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University, and Cecilia Öman, Deputy Chemistry Director at ISP.
MSc students Ida Essner and Sara Hesse from the Sociotechnical Systems Engineering Program at Uppsala University carried out their Minor Field Studies at University of Nairobi, Kenya. They did a local context analysis of ISP-supported departments at the Institution of Nuclear Science and Technology (INST) and the Department of Physics at the university, looking at the obstacles women in science face when pursuing higher educations, hoping to answer why there are fewer women than men in technical higher educations, MSc level and up.
Their main conclusion is that one factor hindering women from pursuing science and technology education is cultural expectations. Science is considered to be a masculine subject reserved for men, something that appear to emerge in the attitudes of boys and girls at an early age. They also concluded that early childbirth commonly hinder women from continuing to higher levels in academia, because they often have the dual work load and responsibility of family and household. The cultural norms and expectations of the Kenyan women also favors marriage and family before self-fulfillment and own interests such as higher education.
12 September 2016
ISP’s overall goal is to contribute to the strengthening of scientific research and postgraduate education within the basic sciences, and to promote their use to address development challenges. Our supported research groups and networks are contributing in several ways to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with their research and competence.
A short information material is now available, giving examples of how ISP supported research groups and networks are addressing local challenges and thereby contributing to the SDGs.
2 September 2016
Between 15 and 26 August five female scientists from ISP supported groups in Kenya and Uganda visited Uppsala University to take part in the gender summer school named "Diversity in the Cultures of Physics". The school has been jointly organized and by the Department of Physics and ISP at Uppsala University, and the Department of Physics at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. The main goal of the summer school was to promote mentorship and networking between young and senior (female) scientists, to improve non-academic competences and increase awareness about the gender biases present at universities and in academia in general.
In total the school involved 21 participants from Germany, Kenya, Sweden and Uganda. The two week intense program at Uppsala University included several lectures and workshops, with scientific, communication and gender equality contents. The participants also visited research groups in Stockholm and Uppsala. ISP acknowledges the Vice Chancellor and “Rådet för Lika villkor” at Uppsala University for the grant which allows the successful organization of the summer school.
Participant Priscilla Muheki, is one of the first two female PhD students at the Department of Physics at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda.
According to you, what are the main issues facing women in Sciences in Uganda?
- Basically, it is about lack of opportunities for women. Because of cultural reasons, women have the main responsibility to take care of the home and the family which often are stopping them from pursing their studies and careers. If you are a woman, it is more important for your family that you get married than continue to study. And once you get married and have kids, continuing studies is even harder because of the dual work load. In addition, the tuition fees are high and there are a limited number of scholarships. There is also a lack of female mentors and role models in science, especially at the tertiary levels. We are the first two female PhD students in physics at our university, and in general there are very few female doctors in physics in the country.
What do you take with you back home from the two weeks in Uppsala?
- It was good and empowering for me as a woman. I learned so much from the different talks. The main thing I take with me is “If you can imagine it, you can make it. If you can dream it, you can achieve it”. It summarizes my experience in every way. Back home we still have a lot of work to do to encouraging more female students into doing physics. I believe that I also need to include more men in this work, because their efforts are very crucial in promoting this cause. In any case “two hands are better than one”.
11 August 2016
ISP warmly welcomes Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Chancellor of The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, as a member of the ISP Board. Nuclear physicist Dr Bilal was Vice President of Tanzania between 2010 and 2015 and Prime Minister of Zanzibar from 1995 to 2000. In addition, he served as Permanent Secretary of the Tanzanian Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education in the beginning of the 1990’s. From April 2016 and onwards his broad and long experience will come to use at ISP’s Board meetings.
Why did you choose to join the ISP board and what are your thoughts about ISP?
- I agree with the core mission of ISP that targets, among other things, building active research groups in developing countries. ISP is a unique program that promotes strengthening basic sciences and higher education in developing countries. Its approach is realistic and down to earth.
What do you believe to be the greatest challenges in supporting higher education and research in developing countries? How can we overcome them?
- The major challenges are how to build a critical mass of research scientists and how to get meaningful financial support. The best way to overcome these challenges are to a) unwavering commitment of developing countries to support higher education and scientific research and b) long term partnership and mentoring from established research groups. I have always wondered if such program could be expanded to include more institutions in other countries also.
Thank you and welcome!
6 July 2016
ISP's activities and achievements in 2015 now available!
8 June 2016
Former ISP colleague Marta Zdravkovic in collaboration with Eren Zink and ISP alumni Linley Chiwona-Karltun today published a paper on the “Experiences and perceptions of South–South and North–South scientific collaboration of mathematicians, physicists and chemists from five southern African universities” in Scientometrics.
The study covers experiences from ISP supported departments in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana and aimed to document and analyze the level of scientific productivity, collaboration patterns, scientists’ experiences and attitudes towards South–South and South–North collaboration.
5 May 2016
A brief report tracing PhD graduates from ISP supported groups and networks 2008-2013, show that a great majority (92%) of the PhD graduates remain in their home countries and regions after graduation, most employed at universities and research institutes.
18 February 2016
Dr Betty Kivumbi Nannuyonga (Dept. of Mathematics , Makerere University, Uganda) and Dr Edward Jurua (Dept. of Physics ,Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda) have been awarded ISP's Gender Equality Activity Grants 2015.
Last fall, ISP announced two grants for activities targeting the underrepresentation of women in science education and research in supported groups and networks. In all, 18 high quality applications were received, making the final selection very difficult. ISP can now inform that Dr Betty Nannyonga, Makerere University and Dr Edward Jurua, Mbarara University, both in Uganda, have been awarded the 2015 Gender Equality Activity Grants.
ISP warmly congratulates and looks forward to the collaboration between Makerere and Mbarara University. The two projects include similar and complementary activities, targeting many of the crucial barriers for female students and staff members to continue their studies and/or establish a research career in science. The activities are designed and will be running in close collaboration with local gender researchers.
Read more about Dr Betty Kivumbi Nannuyonga's and Dr Edward Jurua's research and gender project here:
11 February 2016
We warmly congratulate ISP collaborator, Prof. Wandera Ogana, University of Nairobi, to the appointment as President of the Commission for Developing Countries (CDC). CDC is a commission of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) working to "promote mathematics in developing and economically disadvantaged countries and to foster International collaboration". Prof. Ogana is the first African to hold this position.
The Third EAUMP conference
10 February 2016
The ISP supported network Eastern Africa Universities Mathematics Programme (EAUMP) is organizing its third conference under the theme “Advances in mathematics and its applications”, to be held at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda 26-28 October, 2016.
The conference aims to celebrate the achievements of the EAUMP, to evaluate the EAUMP Network and the ISP collaboration, to stimulate regional and international collaboration in training, research and outreach, as well as to provide a forum for interaction of mathematicians from within and outside Africa. The Conference will be attended by approximately 120 mathematicians from Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and United States of America.
ISP completion report 2008-2013
16 December 2015
An overview of ISP's activities and achievements during the granting period 2008-2013 is now available.
ISP alumni awarded honorary doctorate
2 December 2015
On 2 December 2015, ISP alumni Prof Vernon Cooray was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
His research focuses on electricity with special emphasis on transients and electrical discharges. Over the years Prof Cooray has authored and co-authored over 350 scientific papers, and has edited and authored six books.
Prof Cooray started his research career as a PhD student as part of the ISP supported research group in atmospheric physics and lightning at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka between 1978 and 1982. He did his PhD at Uppsala University Sweden, where he also became a staff member shortly after graduation. Today he has been employed at UU for more than 30 years.
Prof Cooray has kept close contact with the atmospheric physics research group at University of Colombo during all these years. Among other things he has been supervising most of the students from the group on a distance and through annual research visit to the university.
ISP warmly congratulates Vernon to the honor!
five year bilateral research agreement between Sweden and Uganda
3 November 2015
Tuesday 3 November 2015 the signing of a 32 million USD, five year (2015-2020) bilateral research agreement between Sweden and Uganda took place in Kampala, Uganda. This agreement include five Ugandan universities (Makerere, Busitema, Kyambogo, Gulu and Mbarara University) and eleven universities on the Swedish side. ISP will be the coordinator of the program on the Swedish side.
From the left: Leif Abrahamsson (ISP), Hon Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development Mr Matia Kasaija, HE the Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Mr Urban Andersson, Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University Professor John Ddumba-Ssentamu.
Joint Sida and ISP seminar
23 October 2015
On 23 October 2015, Sida in cooperation with ISP organized a one day seminar called "Building Future Networks", held at Sida Headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. It was addressed to students and postdoc’s from all Sida funded bilateral programs, as well as students from ISP supported groups and networks.
The aim of the seminar was provide the students with better information, inspiration and to expand their networks. Welcome address and opening remarks was held by Ulf Källstig, Head of the Director-General's Office at Sida.
Among invited speakers was prof. Stefan Swartling Peterson, Public Health researcher with long experience from collaborating with and working in low-income countries, prof. Margareta Norell Bergendahl, KTH, Lars Anell, Chair of Sida’s Research Council, Teresa Soop, PhD, Research Advisor at Sida, Nighisty Ghezae, International Foundation for Science and Alex Tumwesigye, sandwich PhD-student from Makerere University in Uganda, who shared his experiences and impressions from research cooperation in Sweden.
New Assistant Director of IPICS
21 October 2015
ISP has the pleasure to announce the employment of Associate Professor Cecilia Öman as new Assistant Director of the Chemistry Program (IPICS). Cecilia has a halftime position at ISP, starting 1 December. She has a background in water chemistry and management with past employments at International Foundation for Science (IFS) and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL). In 1998 she obtained her PhD in groundwater chemistry at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH): "Emission of organic compounds from solid waste landfills". She is since 2007 Associate Professor at the same institution, in "Water resources management in low income countries".
ISP Annual Report 2014 available
6 October 2015
ISP Annual Report 2014 is now published and available in full length and in summary:
Article in UK Gardian by IPICS ref. group member
5 October 2015
Mauritian President and IPICS reference group member, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, has written a article in the UK Guardian, urgently requesting African governments to increase their investment in research.
New strategy for research cooperation
29 June 2015
The new Swedish strategy for research cooperation and research in development cooperation 2015 – 2021 is now available:
IPICS group leader interviewed in web magazine
18 June 2015
Curie, a a Swedish web magazine devoted to the world of research (in Swedish), has published an article on aspects on Environmental Chemistry in Mali. Professor Cheick Dembele, interviewed in the article, is the group leader of the ISP-supported research group on "Physiochemical studies of clay raw materials".
Article on Swedish research support in Universitetsläraren
28 April 2015
Universitetsläraren has published an article (in Swedish) about Sweden’s support to research and higher education in Mozambique.
Tedx Talk by ISP coworker
12 March 2015
On 16 February 2015 ISP colleague, Paul Vaderlind, held a Tedx Talk at Södra Teatern, Stockholm, Sweden on the importance of education in developing countries. "While most of us in the western world have access to knowledge and advanced technology, how many talented children are given the chance for education in the developing countries? Mathematician Paul Vaderlind shares his way of spreading access to quality education driven by his love for mathematics and problem solving".
Paul Vaderlind during his talk at Södra Teatern in Stockholm (Photo: Bram Damman. Retrieved from TedxStockholm)
MoU between ISP, SIDA, TRF and TICA
3 February 2015
Tuesday 3 February ISP and Sida signed an MoU with Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) regarding PhD scholarships in chemistry, mathematics and physics. In total, three scholarships will be awarded each year, to successful applicants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, and Vietnam. The students will register at Thai Universities. Two years of their PhD training will take place in Thailand, supported by TRF and TICA, and one year will be in Sweden, supported by ISP with Sida funding. A call is planned for April 2015, and the first scholarship holders to commence training in September 2015.
Signing the MoU at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. From the left: Peter Sundin (Head of ISP, Uppsala University), Ms. Anne-Charlotte Malm (Head of Development Cooperation - Regional Asia and Myanmar, Embassy of Sweden, Bangkok), Ms. Suchada Thaibunthao (Director-General, TICA), Prof. Suthipun Jitpimolmard (Director, TRF)
Documentary on Sida sponsored research
8 December 2014
A documentary produced by Crystal Rate Video/CoNAS showcasing Science at the College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University Kampala, Uganda is now available. The research in the documentary was sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
ISP supervisor receives John Wheatley Award
17 November 2014
Professor Per Nordblad from the Division of Solid State Physics at the Dept. of Engineering Sciences has recently been announced as the recipient of the American Physical Society’s John Wheatley Award for 2015, for his strong and prolific collaboration with scientists in low-income countries. Per Nordblad’s collaboration with these scientists was in many cases supported by ISP.
Motivation: "For his enormous and sustained efforts of nearly three decades in nurturing physics research and education in several Third World countries, including Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and Eritrea, leading to the establishment of several prominent groups pursuing internationally competitive physics today."
3-4 November 2014
The third workshop within the bilateral research cooperation between Sida and Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Mozambique was held in Stockholm 3-4 November 2014. Among the 65 participants were the management team and coordinators from UEM, members from ISP and Sida, as well as host supervisors from Swedish universities.
The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the current period of the UEM–Sida program (2011-2015), to discuss and agree on mechanisms for better management of the program, to discuss findings from the midterm evaluation of the program, as well as to prepare for the next coming phase of collaboration.
Sri Lankan institute celebrates 10 years
20 September 2014
On 12-12 September 2014, The Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IBMBB) at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka celebrated 10 years by hosting the International Conference on Frontiers in Molecular Life Sciences 2014.
ISP has a long standing collaboration with the scientists involved in IBMBB. ISP together with Sida/SAREC has supported the building of a laboratory and postgraduate program in molecular biology and gene technology at Department of Biochemistry, University of Colombo since the beginning of the 1980’s. In the beginning of the 2000's a soft lone was granted from Sida to build a research institute and in 2004 the Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology was inaugurated.
Professor Malin Åkerblom, Director of the Chemistry Programme at the time, was the prime mover on the Swedish side in the facilitation of the birth of the IBMBB. Together with the current Chemistry Director, Peter Sundin, she participated in the 10 year celebration conference held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
successful Book partnership - Physics today
31 March 2014
The former director of the ISP Physics Program, Lennart Hasselgren, together with Physics Today initiated a joint book program in 1999, where accumulated books from Physics Today are donated to physics departments in developing countries with shipment costs covered by Uppsala University. Today 26 universities in 21 countries have been provided with books through the joint program. The current ISP Physics Director Ernst van Groningen is continuing the collaboration.
ISP in Almedalen
1 July 2014
On 1 July 2014 ISP organized a seminar called "What can Sweden gain from research cooperation with low-income countries? during the Almedalen week, Sweden.
What can Swedish universities do to build research capacity in low-income countries and at the same time gain from cooperating with these countries? What are the obstacles and how can we overcome them?
Swedish universities and university colleges are increasing their focus on internationalization, as international collaborations create competitive education and high quality research. Economically expansive regions and resourceful universities are the main focus of today’s collaborations, but what incentives are there for an increased cooperation with low-income countries? Can cooperation with low-income countries both increase the quality in Swedish education and at the same time build research capacity in these countries? And what about the future? Do universities and university colleges have the capability to develop the cooperation with low-income countries?
Susanna Wasielewski Ahlfors from Global Reporting moderated the panel consisting of:
- Sten Rylander, elected chair of the Swedish NGO Forum Syd and former Swedish ambassador of several countries in Africa, most recently in Zimbabwe
- Mohamed Hassan ISP board member, co-chair of IAP, the global network of science academies, and chairman of the Council of the United Nations University (UNU)
- Kerstin Sahlin professor at Uppsala University and Secretary General of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Swedish Research Council.
Movie about ISP available
25 June 2014
A short movie about ISP is now available! It is starring Ms Stella Kioko, a sandwich PhD student part of a ISP supported research group in Physics at Eldoret University in Kenya.
Renewed UU-Sida agreement 2014 - 2018
18 December 2014
Uppsala University has signed a new 160 million SEK agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), securing continued funding of ISP during the period 2014-2018.
Peter Sundin, Director of the International Science Programme: "The ISP can now concentrate its activities on the main task of supporting development of research and higher education in the basic sciences mathematics, physics and chemistry in developing countries. In parallel, work will intensify to reach the strategic goals that were decided on last year, for instance with regard to evaluation and information efforts”.
11-12 November 2013
A preparatory workshop for the coming mid-term evaluation meeting was held in Lund 11-12 November 2013. Participants were concerned students, supervisors and coordinators from Swedish Universities and representatives from ISP, Sida and Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique. ISP is coordinating the bilateral research program on the Swedish side.
Summer School - Algebraic Geometry
6-28 July 2013
The East African School on Applicable Algebraic Geometry was held 6-28 July, 2013, at Bandari College Mombasa, Kenya. The school had a total of 43 participants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia. ISP sponsored the school trough the mathematical network EAUMP.
Carl Söderlind in Memoriam
10 April 2013
Our colleague Carl Söderlind passed away on 10th April, 2013. Carl was born 6th April, 1954 in Härnösand, Sweden. Our thoughts goes to his wife, Liza, their sons Alvin and Marcos, and to his former wife, Sonja, their daughter, Johanna, and son, Daniel.
Carl had been working at ISP since 2011, mainly with administrative duties within the bilateral programme at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique. The picture to the left was taken during the Annual Review Meeting in Maputo in May 2012.
Carl's experience from working with developing countries, as well as post-conflict countries, goes far beyond that. Starting from 1986 up to 1989, he was serving as Post Exchange (PX-) manager during three different periods in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and in 1996 as PX-manager in the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnien-Hercegovina. Carl also served for more than a year (2000-2001) as Programme Manager for Save the Children in Jerusalem, Palestine, as Project Coordinator at the Life and Peace Instiute in Nairobi, Kenya (2005), and as Programme Coordinator for AIDA, Oxfam GB in Jerusalem (2005-2006).
We have lost a valued colleague and good friend. Rest in Peace, Carl.
ISP collaborating partners receives Cambodian award
27 Mars 2013
Cambodia awards the Royal Order of Sahametrei to chemist Lars Lundmark, Umeå University and also to Michael Strandell, Stockholm University. Lars and Michael are collaborating with the chemistry program at ISP. Read Lars' report from his visit 2012.
ISP co-organized workshop on future energy systems in Africa
15 September 2012
On 10-11 Sept 2012, ISP co-organized a workshop on "Building a future energy system in Africa – How can science academies contribute?" in collaboration with the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences and Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences.
EAUMP celebrates 10th anniversary
26 August 2012
The mathematical network EAUMP celebrated its 10th Anniversary 22 - 25 August, 2012 through a school on combinatorial commutative algebra and a second conference in mathematics held in Arusha, Tanzania. the conference was sponsored by the Abdus Salam
International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and ISP. Goals of the school and conference were:
- To celebrate the Achievements and the 10th Anniversary of the EAUMP through Paper and Poster presentations of research findings by senior academics in the region and beyond.
- Stimulation of regional and international collaboration in research and training.
- A forum for interaction of African Mathematicians and others from the developed countries for research experience.
ISP celebrates 50 years
27 September 2011
A one-day seminar called "Experiences and Way Forward"was held to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of International Science Programme, at Uppsala University, 26 September 2011. The seminar aimed to highlight experiences drawn in the past 50 years from different perspectives, and to indicate the way forward. Invited speakers, as well as invited guest, were ISP collaborators from all over the world:
- Professor Kerstin Sahlin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Uppsala University.
- H. E. Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
- Professor Bo Sundqvist, former Vice-Chancellor at Uppsala University, and former Chairman of the ISP Board.
- Professor C. N. R. Rao, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, India.
- Mr Tomas Kjellqvist, Research Manager at Blekinge Institute of Technology, and former director of the Secretariat for Research Cooperation at Sida, Sweden
- Professor Collen Masimirembwa, President and Founder of The African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology, Zimbabwe.
- Ms Betty Nannjonga, PhD student from Makerere University, Uganda.
- Professor Jenny Ruales, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador.
- Professor Hans Rosling, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
- Dr Peter Sundin, Head of ISP.
- Dr Anders Granlund, Head of the Unit for Research Cooperation, Sida, Sweden
- Professor Sune Svanberg, Atomic Physics Division, Lund University, Sweden.
ISP organized regional cooperation conference
5 September 2009
ISP organized the conference "Regional and Interregional Cooperation to Strengthen Basic Sciences in Developing Countries" 1 – 4 September 2009, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference was financed by Sida, in association with Addis Ababa University and under the auspices of The African Union Commission (AUC). The conference aimed to answer a number of questions regarding regional and interregional collaboration in relation to Basic Sciences:
- How can regional and interregional cooperation best strengthen Basic Sciences in developing countries?
- How can cooperation be enhanced?
- In the cases where cooperation already exists, how has it improved postgraduate training and building of research capacity?
- What has been the impact on society?
- Which form of cooperation is most efficient under different circumstances and from different perspectives?
- What is the importance of education at all levels for the development of research and higher education in Basic Sciences?
- What is the role of governments and intergovernmental organizations in promoting research cooperation in the Basic Sciences?