Mentoring scheme AD3

 THE MENTORING SCHEME

Carol & Noor African Bioscience Mentoring Scheme is designed to provide high-quality personalised mentoring to high-achieving and highly motivated bioscience students in African Universities (fresh undergraduate graduates to master’s degree level) who wish to pursue advanced degrees at top world Universities, and who want to become research leaders in the field of applied biosciences. The scheme is founded by Dr. Carol Ibe and Dr. Noor Agip, two successful PhD graduates of the University of Cambridge, and African diasporans who are currently doing their postdoctoral research training in Plant Science and Biochemistry, respectively.

Through the mentoring scheme, Carol and Noor will provide excellent advice and guidance that will help the mentees to make successful applications into fully funded postgraduate degree programmes at world renowned Universities. The scheme will also contribute to the personal and professional development of the mentees, particularly empowering them to become research leaders who will make a difference in Africa and globally. The mentoring process will be extensive and personalised, decorated with regular meetings (once a month or as required) to discuss the academic goals of the mentees and to guide them towards achieving their goals.

THE MENTORS - CAROL & NOOR

Dr. Carol N. Ibe is a former Gates Cambridge PhD Scholar at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, and Dr. Noor Agip was an MRC-funded PhD scholar at the MRC-Mitochondrial Biology Unit, University of Cambridge. Both researchers are well-experienced with the postgraduate application processes required to study in world-class Universities and have successfully mentored African students from Nigeria and Somalia into MPhil programmes at the University of Cambridge.

Originally from Nigeria and Somalia, respectively, Carol and Noor are incredibly passionate about helping African students and early-career researchers to succeed in science and to use their education, experiences and talents to improve the lives of others in Africa. Both mentors are involved in the development of scientific research capacity-building projects such as the ‘Reach & Teach Science in Africa’ project, which was created under the JR Biotek Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by Carol in 2015. The initiatives have successfully reached and provided hundreds of Africa-based research scientists and postgraduate students, new knowledge, skills and academic resources that are helping to advance their research at their home Universities.


CANDIDATE SELECTION CRITERIA

The mentoring scheme will seek to attract four very bright students, currently residing in Africa, and who have recently completed their undergraduate degree (within two years) or are enrolled in a master’s degree course. Final year undergraduate students who will be awarded a first class degree will also be considered in the mentoring scheme.

Specific requirements include:

  • African national (resident in Africa)
  • Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences or a related subject (1st class honours, high 2:1 or an equivalent grade). Students who have not graduated will need to provide proof that they will be awarded a first-class or high 2:1 degree.
  • English proficient.
  • Must be interested in pursuing a science career (evidenced by an interest in doing a PhD)
  • Must be passionate about using their education to improve lives or systems in Africa. The evidence of this will be a written plan or statement of purpose (maximum of 300 words) provided at the time of their application.
  • Must be focused, determined, hard-working and teachable.
  • Must be available for a virtual interview, if shortlisted.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

This section describes what the mentoring scheme DOES and DOES NOT involve.

• We do NOT write or prepare University admission applications or essays for our mentees. We review and make recommendations on how they can improve their application to increase the chances of being accepted into top world Universities.
• We do NOT charge money for mentoring (it is NOT a paid service) because we see it as a way to give back to the continent.
• We do NOT give our mentees money and do not have the responsibility to pay their University fees or tuition.
• We maintain high professionalism and expect our mentees to do the same. Any form of misbehaviour will lead to a discontinuation of the mentoring process. This includes unresponsiveness or late attendance to meetings without prior notification.
• We are NOT responsible for unsuccessful University applications by our mentees.
• We reserve the right to discontinue mentoring candidates at any time if there is a need to do so.
• The mentoring will be offered for one academic year (from September to August the following year) for a cohort of 4 exceptional scholars.


HOW TO APPLY 

Applicants must complete an application (follow the link below) and include two academic references and a ‘Statement of Purpose’ or essay (300 words max) describing their career aspirations, why they should be chosen for the mentoring scheme; and how this opportunity will help them to achieve their future goals.


IMPORTANT DATES 

Open applications: 23rd July 2020

Close applications: 16th August 2020

Candidate shortlisting/Interview notification: 23rd August 2020

Interviews: 28th  - 29th August 2020

Mentee selection notification: 31st August 2020

First mentor-mentee meeting: 12th September 2020

Kindly read the above instructions before applying. For email enquiries, kindly contact us at carol.noor.mentors@gmail.com. Thank you!

MEET THE MENTORS

Dr. Carol N. Ibe

Carol recently completed her PhD as a Gates scholar at the Department of Plant Sciences and the Newnham College, University of Cambridge. Her PhD research focused on understanding how rice roots interact with mutualistic and detrimental fungi, and how these associations may be modified for practical agricultural applications. Following the completion of her PhD, Carol worked on an African-focused scientific research capacity building project at Cambridge and the JR Biotek Foundation, before joining the Cambridge-Africa Programme in May 2020 (on a short-term basis). At Cambridge-Africa, Carol designed a postdoctoral research fellowship that will enable high achieving early-career African researchers to undertake cutting-edge research (relevant to Africa’s challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals) at the University of Cambridge.

Carol is deeply passionate about helping African nations to develop the required research capacity to solve real problems on the continent. This inspired her to set up the JR Biotek Foundation, a non-profit organisation that designs and develops world-class scientific research training programmes to support Africa’s next generation of scientists. Carol created several Africa-focused initiatives including the Bio-innovation for Africa Pitch Competition, the UK-Africa Food Security Symposium, the Africa Diaspora Biotech Summit, and ‘Reach and Teach Science in Africa’ capacity building project. With support from colleagues at the University of Cambridge, Carol successfully raised about £200k (during her PhD), reaching and providing world-class scientific training, mentoring and relevant academic resources to hundreds of Africa-based early-career researchers and students in 20 countries.

Carol often speaks at conferences and events, especially those relating to STEM and food security in Africa, and her work has been featured widely. Her outstanding research and exemplary leadership have led to various awards and recognition including the 2019 Bill Gates Sr Prize and the highly competitive 2019 Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) award, of which she was the first black student to win. Carol hopes to use her education, gifts and passion to guide and inspire more African researchers, especially African women,to pursue scientific careers and to make a difference.

Dr. Noor Agip

Noor obtained a BSc in Biochemistry at Queen Mary University of London, where in his final year, he worked with Professor John F. Allen to study the expression of respiratory chain enzymes in germline mitochondria from Drosophila melanogaster. Inspired, Noor decided to undertake a PhD at the Mitochondrial Biology Unit, University of Cambridge, with Professor Judy Hirst FRS. Building on from a project to characterise NADH:Ubiquinone Oxidoreductase (respiratory complex I) in Mus musculus, he was involved in solving its structure using electron cryomicroscopy. This work shed light on the molecular basis of its dysfunction in mouse disease models. Currently, Noor is continuing this work in Professor Hirst’s lab as a postdoctoral researcher with the aim to structurally characterise catalytic states of the enzyme, as well as its assembly and dysfunction. Noor hopes that his work will enable him to run his own lab in the future.