Minister of Education, Cape Verde
Maritza Rosabal, PhD
In modern societies, scientific and technological knowledge plays a key role in social and economic development. The advances in this field, together with its dissemination and assimilation, contribute to the improvement of the quality of life and social well-being of the populations, particularly in education, health, and environmental conditions
In Cape Verde, the mission of the Ministry of Education is to promote and support the consolidation process of higher education, as well as to foster the advancement of scientific research, technology and innovation.
In the last ten years, Cape Verde has developed a system of higher education that has evolved very rapidly in terms of number and variety of educational choices. However, and despite a visible increase in the number of MSc and PhD graduates, there is still a clear insufficiency in this area.
This is particularly true in areas of strategic interest to Cape Verde, with a great potential for economic and social development, such as the Health and Life Sciences, specifically when related to Biomedicine, Fisheries and Agriculture.
There is, therefore, an urgent need for highly trained human resources, and it is essential to guarantee the enhanced role and revitalization of universities in these fields, creating conditions for scientific research in the life sciences.
For these reasons, the MESCI is proud to join the IGC in this initiative that aims at offering advanced education of excellence to the most outstanding students, not only from Cape Verde but from every Portuguese-speaking African country (PALOP) as well as from East Timor.
Through our joint commitment the PGCD will, in the short term, help reduce the scientific, technological and economic gaps between the PALOP and East Timor and the so-called developed countries and, in the medium and long term, contribute to the creation and establishment of a strong research and innovation environment for the life sciences in Africa and East Timor.
Director of the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal
Jonathan Howard, PhD
The Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência is proud to support the PGCD graduate programme in Africa. Science is the greatest common enterprise of mankind, and it is long past the time when Africa should begin to be an equal contributor. We believe that the PGCD graduate programme, designed along the same lines as the first graduate programme of the IGC, will have a profound influence on the future development of science in Africa, initially largely in the Portuguese-speaking countries but spreading more widely as the language barriers begin to come down through use of English, the language of science.
Scientists from the IGC will contribute to an international teaching faculty, and we look forward to hosting students from the PGCD in our own laboratories.
It is our belief that what Africa needs the most is the means and the opportunity to build high quality training programmes, especially in science and technology. We hope that our combined efforts will soon begin to make this reality.
President of the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal
Maria Arménia Carrondo, PhD
Science, research and technology cut across geographical and cultural boundaries, being truly global endeavours that contribute to the social and economic well-being of individual citizens and societies as a whole. Anywhere in the world, good science depends on talented, motivated and well-equipped researchers. Since building a base of highly-qualified researchers and fostering collaborations with established and emerging science nations are two of the aims of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), the Portuguese national funding agency for science and technology, FCT identifies with the goals of the Graduate Programme Science for Development (PGCD) and is thus proud to support this programme.
Through the studentships it will fund and the collaborations with the Portuguese scientific community it will foster, FCT hopes to contribute to train the next generation of exceptional scientists in Portuguese-speaking African countries and East Timor, whom the international experience gained via PGCD will empower to improve the quality of science education and research in their countries.
FCT is confident that PGCD will inspire a whole new generation of scientists and teachers, who may, through scientific research and technology, contribute to long-lasting and sustainable development of their countries.
President of the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Brazil
Chair of the PGCD Advisory Board
António Coutinho, PhD
Those who are not nationalistic recognize, but do not adopt as their own, the historical responsibilities of their respective nation-states.
While Portugal, like other European countries, does have heavy such responsibilities in Africa (and elsewhere in the world), this was not the motivation to work towards a Doctoral Program for Development in the Portuguese-speaking countries. Rather, this was very much a practical matter: most students speak Portuguese and little more, such that it would seem most convenient, if not strictly necessary, that their initial steps in graduate education - lectures, seminars and discussions, that should inspire and stimulate them into a scientific career, would be held in Portuguese. All the more so as both Brazil and Portugal currently count on strong and dynamic scientific communities, and many brilliant such young scientists were educated in PhD programs of the very same model that is now brought to Portuguese-speaking Africa and East Timor. In short, they have had the privilege of being part of such Programs and it is all the more natural that they now do the same for others. It is here that a sense of responsibility is to be found and acknowledged.
Science – the attempt to explain the world and ourselves, by rationally derived natural laws, can only happen in democracy, and it was not by chance that they were born together in History. The converse, however, is also true, at least in modern times: science is a basic pillar of democratic public life, as it contributes to solving all problems, including those that remained unsolved by guns, politics, religion, future-telling or philosophical disquisitions. Moreover, science is the root of all modern technology, which, in turn, is the motor of all economic and social development, and this is also a basic condition for a healthy democratic life. Having solved their most urgent needs, affluent societies are, more often than not, concerned with social justice, transparency, and human rights.
The access to the most inspiring teachers or to the best laboratories, departments or institutions in the world is not easy. This is even more so for students from countries with poor scientific tradition, irrespective of their eventually outstanding capabilities, and of their certainly unique motivation and fresh look on current scientific problems. The PGCD attempts to solve some of those problems, assuming for the education and careers of a new generation of African and East Timorese scientists, the role that Socrates claimed for ideas: to be the midwife, the go-between, the facilitator. All critical decisions on thematic choices, areas of interest, research projects, future careers, must be left with the students themselves, and the Program would depart from its model if anyone of us falls in the paternalistic trap. We are here to show a way, not to walk it for the students.