BUSE PhD Student Receives AGNES-PAWS Grant for Junior Female Researchers


Ms Moreblessing Chimweta, a Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) PhD student in the Faculty of Agriculture & Environmental Science made the university proud when she was selected as one of the 2019 recipients of the African German Network of Excellence in Science in the Programme Advocating for Women in Science (AGNES-PAWS) Grant for Junior Female Researchers.

The grant was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH).

The Intra-Africa Mobility Grant aims to strengthen scientific capacity in Africa through active co-operation of AGNES members. The Grant aims to be as financially comprehensive as is reasonably possible for a short stay outside the borders of the applicant’s country, covering travel and subsistence, and includes a research allowance to the host institute on request to cover some of the research expenses.

Moreblessing was awarded EUR 2 548 for a month’s research stay. She assumed her research stay on 12 January and will be at the host institution until 15 February 2020. University of Botswana- Okavango Research Institute in Maun, will host her under the mentorship of Dr. Keotshepile Kashe.

Ms Chimweta is working on a flood-recession cropping project, a practice similar to molapo farming in the Okavango delta. Her thesis is entitled, Optimizing maize yield under flood recession cropping in the Zambezi Valley floodplains, Northern Zimbabwe.

Describing the AGNES-PAWS grant application process, Ms Chimweta said it was not a walk in the park.

“The grant application process was cumbersome. It involved searching for suitable host institution, of which some target institution just did not reply while some failed to reply within stipulated deadlines. My first application for this grant was in 2016 and failed at the deadlines stage as no host institution had responded.

“To me the requirements seemed a bit intimidating,” Chimweta said laughing. “They required an appealing student profile – It was easier with appealing publications, previous grants awarded, certificates of attendance and presentations at international conferences. I got hope when they wrote me for an additional request to the application files and kept my finger crossed that this time it was going to be successful,” she said.

She said she feels indebted to her supervisors – Professors Nyakudya I.W, Jimu L, Nyamadzawo G and Mashingaidze A.B for their encouragement and support.

She encouraged her fellow post-graduate students to work hard and never give up.

“Determination and persistence pay the reward. My main supervisor always said one should always be expecting something new in their email – either a paper response, a grant award response, an abstract acceptance or a call to present. Whatever in the expectation, negative or positive response – thus the academic journey. It also takes sleepless or late nights but thus the journey,” she said.

The BUSE Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Mwenje and the rest of the University community congratulate Ms Chimweta for winning this prestigious grant and wishes her success in all her endeavours.