UB Academics Receive P3 million PIRA Research Grants

Two University of Botswana academics, Dr Phillimon Odirile and Dr Boitumelo Mangope and their teams, have been awarded a combined sum of approximately P3.3 million (US$300 000) in research grants under the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) grant programme, Partnerships for Innovative Research in Africa (PIRA).

OdirileMangopeThe two are part of eleven research teams that benefitted from a P16.4 million (US$1.5 million) funding under the PIRA research grant programme. The programme is a tiered funding opportunity designed to cultivate and support multidirectional and transregional research partnerships that are focused on impacting lives and livelihoods in Africa and beyond. The grants cover a wide range of transdisciplinary topics.

With a scaling grant of approximately P2.2 million (US$200 000), Dr Odirile will collaborate with MSU and Infers Group in a project titled: US-Botswana Collaborative Research on Youth Empowerment and Education: SMART Infrastructure and Mobility Innovations for Resilient Community Health for the next 18 months, beginning July.

Priority areas for the project are Culture, Education and Youth Empowerment. Dr Odirile as principal investigator from University of Botswana, is collaborating with Infers Group Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Mr Abraham Mamela. Infers Group is a youth company whose core services is to create ecosystems, networks and smart cities that support innovation through a project economy, using a youth-employing-youth model designed to facilitate the development of generative youth owned enterprises.

As for Dr Mangope with a planning grant of approximately P1.1 million (US$100 00), she will collaborate with Michigan State University (MSU) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana in a project titled: The Evaluation of Inclusive Education Programs for Transition-Age Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Botswana and Ghana for the next 18 months as well.

This is community-based participatory research project on the transition of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The project aims to develop an evidenced based and contextually relevant transition framework to guide stakeholders in implementing transition programs from school to work for such learners.

The developed tool is envisioned to assist in accelerating and broadening the transition opportunities for this group of students. The project is a partnership with four institutions in University of Botswana, MSU, University of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, and University of Education, Ghana. Locally the project collaboration includes  Dr Mangope as Principal Investigator, Dr T.E. Major and Dr Bramwell Koyabe as Co-investigators while Dr Goitse Ookeditse are a Board member with Professor Bagele Chilisa as the mentor.PIRA

Meanwhile, AAP is a consortium of ten leading African universities (including the University of Botswana) and Michigan State University founded in 2016. AAP s a collaborative and cross-disciplinary platform to address today’s global challenges in a way that is sustainable, effective, and equitable. As such, the AAP has identified mutually defined challenges that fall into six highly interrelated themes: Agri-food systems; Water, energy, and the environment; Culture; Youth empowerment; Education; Health and nutrition.

In pursuit of academic excellence