To strengthen capacities as well as better utilize research, IAPRI has since 2015 initiated a scholarship program to support Master’s level thesis research. In addition to offering students resources and collaboration opportunities to build their research capabilities, the scholarship program aims to enhance the relevance of agricultural policy research to improving the effectiveness of agricultural and rural development strategies in Zambia. The idea behind the program is to make researchers more accountable to stakeholders in the sector. By informing students of issues that policymakers and donors are interested in and would like research on, IAPRI's objectives under the program are as follows: to enhance the research that comes out of the various Master’s level programs at universities around the country so that stakeholders can actually use the information students are producing to implement agricultural and rural development strategies; to provide students with resources and collaboration opportunities to build their research capabilities; and, to inform students of issues that policymakers and donors are interested in and would like research on.
Key elements of the scholarship program
The scholarship program is open to students from all universities in Zambia. A call for concept notes is usually published in the local newspapers from which the best ideas from 20 students would be selected by a review committee. Students with selected concept notes are invited to write a full proposal in collaboration with their advisors/supervisors. IAPRI then invites the students and their advisors to a two day student proposal presentation workshop. After the workshop, ten (10) best proposals are selected to receive thesis completion funding. The students who complete their theses within the stipulated time are then invited to participate in results dissemination workshop with agricultural stakeholders as well as receive publication support to work towards getting their theses published in journals. In addition, data analysis and writing training is provided to the group of scholarship recipients as they move forward with their theses.