Postgraduate Training

A primary focus of the icipe Capacity Building and Institutional Development Programme is master’s and doctoral level training through the African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Science (ARPPIS) and the Dissertation Research Internship Programme (DRIP).

MSc and PhD students are integrated into research projects in the centre’s four health (4H) themes where they pursue their passion in science and gain the necessary skills for a career in research. Student research projects span the whole continuum, from strategic basic research, technology development and validation, through to community-based adoption. Postgraduate students make outstanding discoveries and contribute to knowledge creation and sustainable development, and they greatly enhance the research capacity and status of icipe as a world-class centre for insect R&D. Postgraduate students have contributed to almost 50% of icipe’s research papers, and students are primary authors on approximately 40% of papers. Many students publish papers in high impact journals.

At any one time, the ARPPIS and DRIP programmes at icipe can have up to 100 MSc and PhD students. In 2014, 118 post-graduate students from 17 African countries, and 11 students from five non-African countries were at icipe conducting research at various stages of their projects. A total of 297 PhD students and 311 MSc students have completed their training at icipe since the inception of post-graduate training at the centre.


ARPPIS was the vision of the late Prof. Thomas R. Odhiambo, the first Director of icipe, who recognised 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 important 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 research scientists.

The ARPPIS PhD 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.

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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 female.

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 themes. 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.


As a complementary programme to ARPPIS, the DRIP programme has a wider entry and participation and accepts postgraduate students from developing and developed countries to train at MSc as well as PhD levels. DRIP students can be registered at any university worldwide and are co-supervised by expert scientists at those universities. Some PhD students have registered at universities in France, Germany and UK, including The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, a world-leading centre for research and postgraduate education in public and global health.

Through DRIP, students have access to icipe’s research facilities and supervision while expanding the centre’s global network. DRIP MSc students take a sandwich form of study, in which they spend half their academic tenure at icipe for research and the other half at their respective universities for coursework. DRIP PhD students may conduct part or all of their research at icipe, with any remaining research conducted at their respective universities or research institutes.

Since the inception of DRIP in 1996, 87 DRIP PhD and 311 DRIP MSc students have completed their training. 80% of all DRIP MSc students are from Kenya while 10% are from 16 other African countries, and 10% from ten countries outside of Africa, mostly in Europe. 40% of all MSc and PhD students who have entered DRIP are women, but this figure is rising, and since 2010 45% of students in the programme are female.


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