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Call for applications: PhD Fellowshis in Health and Productivity of Livestock at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Arusha, Tanzania.

The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania in collaboration with four partner universities; Penn State University (PSU), Washington State University (WSU), University of Glasgow(UoG) and Scotland Rural College (SRUC) will be implementing a PhD program entitled “Program for Enhancing the Health and Productivity of Livestock”. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the program is a joint effort of the five universities andit is intended to train and engage researchers on projects to improve the health of livestock and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Under the program a multidisciplinary and international cohort of PhD students will be trained on development of effective strategies for improving the health and productivity of smallholder farmers’ livestock, and in turn enhance the wellbeing of households and communities. In this research-intensive training program, fellows will work to enhance the economic and food security of smallholder farmers in East Africa by improving livestock genetics, health, and productivity while safeguarding animal welfare, public health and the environment.

Potential projects include, among others, assessment of uptake and impact of interventions such as vaccination on the economic and food security of smallholder farmers; policy and social determinants of improved livestock health, productivity, and market access; and determination of antibiotic efficacy and impact on livestock health and antimicrobial resistance. Preferably, potential projects should be developed to address the following broad areasof enhancing health and productivity of smallholder livestock production that are also in line with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s focus on increasing productivity of smallholder livestock systemsin Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Socio-economic impact and strategies for effective control of Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia, Peste des Petits Ruminants and Sheep and Goatpox to improve small ruminant productivity in smallholder farming systems in East Africa.
  • Optimizing animal health interventions through improved disease diagnostic tools for transboundary diseases of small ruminants in East Africa.
  • Understanding the socio-economic impact and the inter-epidemic epidemiology of Rift Valley fever in East Africa.
  • Spatial and temporal patterns of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) virus circulation in livestock populations and FMD control settings in wildlife-livestock interface areas of East Africa.
  • Etiology and productivity impacts of ruminant abortions in northern Tanzania.
  • Immunizing to enhance broad spectrum innate immunity in small ruminants.
  • Defining the barriers to uptake of the East Coast fever (ECF) infection and treatment method of immunization and, quality of tetracycline and impact on “virulence” of the ECF infection and treatment immunization.
  • Tsetse and trypanosome prevalence and distribution in the Maasai Steppe.
  • Increasing nutritional and economic impact of smallholder local chicken through introduction of highly productive Kuroiler breed and deployment of mobile application system for better health and record management.
  • Genetic mechanisms of resistance to Newcastle disease in locally adapted breeds of poultry and determination of Newcastle disease impact through intervention trial analysis.
  • Antibiotic efficacy and impact on smallholder broiler production in peri-urban and rural areas of Northern Tanzania.
  • Barriers to health of smallholder poultry flocks and development of interventions with minimal impact on antibiotic resistance.
  • Robust, low-cost, point-of-care diagnostics for multiplex detection of livestock and public health significance in Tanzania.
  • Investigation of farmer-led breeding goals and strategies in smallholder dairy systems to cope with variations in feed sources and quality
  • Use of cow-side milk progesterone tests in the management of dairy cow fertility
  • Use of mobile technology for phenotype recording for dairy cow management and genetic improvement in smallholder production systems.

In addition to the proposed research areas above, highly innovative proposals that have potential to bring big impact on transformation of the lives and socio-economic wellbeing of smallholder livestock farmers in East Africa will be considered.

The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology is soliciting applications from qualified candidates for five (5) PhD fellowships to take part in the program for the 2015/16 academic year, comprising three (3) from Tanzania and two (2) from either Kenya, Uganda or Ethiopia. Selected candidates will be registered at NM-AISTand pursue their studies by thesis and, upon successful completion of studies they will be awarded a PhD of NM-AIST (See admission criteria for PhD by thesis at www.nm-aist.ac.tz). Applicants will be subjected to an interview by a panel comprising members from the partner institutions and selection will be based on passing the interview and successful defense of the research proposal. The fellowship cover tuition fees, stipend, research and other study related costs based on NM-AIST fee structure.

The application package should comprise the following:
•    Certified photocopies of relevant certificates and academic transcripts.
•    Most recent Curriculum Vitae.
•    Names and contact details of at least two professional referees.
•    Abridged research proposal of not more than three pages.
•    Contact details:Telephone, E-mail and Postal Addresses.

Applications containing all the above documents and titled “Application for PhD Fellowship under PEHPL” should be sent by e-mail or post to:
Principal Investigator,
Program for Enhancing Health and Productivity of Livestock (PEHPL),
The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology,
P.O. Box 447,
ARUSHA – TANZANIA E-mail: dvc-acad(at)nm-aist.ac.tz; Copy to: admission(at)nm-aist.ac.tz

Female candidates are very highly encouraged to apply.
Deadline for receipt of applications: 15th February 2015.

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