ARPPIS was the vision of the late Prof. Thomas R. Odhiambo, the first Director of icipe, who recognized the urgent need to create a sustainable critical mass of African scientists to undertake R&D work in Africa on insect and related sciences. Established in 1983 as a partnership programme between African Universities and icipe, ARPPIS provides young African scientists with PhD opportunities to conduct high-level R&D work in Africa on the insect pests and disease vectors affecting the continent, while also gaining the necessary skills to become globally competitive, independent researchers.
The ARPPIS Doctoral Programme is a three-year training curriculum that includes research, training courses, seminars, and participation in internal symposia, professional meetings and international conferences. PhD students have access to excellent research facilities in an interdisciplinary environment and field sites located in various agro-ecological zones.
Since inception, 29 Universities from 16 African countries have collaborated with icipe in the ARPPIS Doctoral Programme, providing expertise, co-supervision and university registration for PhD students. 210 PhD students, from 29 African countries, have completed ARPPIS PhD training, and a further 29 students are currently in the programme. To date, six to eight students have entered the programme each year. Overall, 29% of all ARPPIS PhD students have been women, although the participation of women students is growing, and since 2010 44% of students in the programme are women.
Most ARPPIS PhD alumni are active in research and development in Africa. Of the 210 ARPPIS Doctoral students who completed between 1983 and 2015, 85% are in Africa conducting research at universities or national and international research centres, or teaching at university level. Several alumni have continuing research careers at icipe as junior scientists, heads of projects, departments and research divisions. A few have risen to senior positions in universities (e.g. VC or deputy VC), or in policy-influencing positions within their governments. Others have taken up international university positions, making valid contributions to insect science worldwide.