The Carnegie Corporation of New York, a charity organisation, held an interactive session in Accra yesterday with beneficiaries of its scholarship programme.
The meeting identified challenges the beneficiaries were facing and deliberated on ways of improving the programme.
The scholarship programme aims at supporting students of the University of Ghana with Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees to become seasoned researchers and academics.
Since 2010, about $10 million has been invested to support the beneficiaries.
The Director of the Carnegie Programme at the University of Ghana, Professor Yaa Nyiamoa-Baidu, said the programme was began at the time when the University of Ghana was embarking on a major initiative aimed at developing its faculties.
She said to date, Carnegie Corporation had provided funding in support of 125 PhD and 86 MPhil students.
“The whole idea is to encourage faculties to do more research, be more productive and to have expertise in undertaking cutting-edge research.
“The programme is also geared towards faculty development, that is to support faculties that do not have PhD courses to start having them and furthermore to support brilliant MPhil students and Post Doctorial fellows who want to go into academia,” she said.
She expressed the hope that the programme would increase the number of academics in the country who would provide expert knowledge to solve problems in areas such as health, education and sanitation.
“If you have people who are qualified and have the competence as seasoned researchers they are able to tackle national issues through investigations they conduct and information they provide,” she said.
According to Professor Nyiamoah-Baidu, because of the free senior high school (SHS) programme it was important that faculties in the universities are expanded to take care of the increasing numbers of students entering the schools.
“This means that if the free SHS programme is to succeed, we are going to have to train more PhD holders,” she said.
The Vice-President of the Carnegie Corporation, Ms Deana Arsenian, said the corporation was focused on building the skills of university faculties and to elevate the research potentials in African universities.
“Our work focuses on international peace, advancement in education and knowledge, and strengthening democracy. So far, we have, through the scholarship programme, supported about 15,000 fellowships across Africa to advance their careers,” she said.
Sharing his experience, a beneficiary of the programme, Dr Kwabena Kan-Dapaah, said the programme had helped fund his PhD studies, adding that, “it has given me the opportunity to start my research at the University.
I have acquired funding to pursue my post-doctoral studies which has taken me to the USA where I have undertaken different kinds of research of which two publications have already been produced,” he said.