The ambition of EENSAT is to strengthen the education and research of three partner universities in Ethiopia for the use of geo-data for agriculture and water to enhance food security and socio-economic development. The research component aims to develop a coherent, applied research programme between the three Ethiopian universities supported by PhD and MSc studies. As part of this, EENSAT will support a cohort of nine PhD candidates, who are all faculty staff in the three partner universities, to study in a sandwich PhD track at the University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), the Netherlands, with supervisors from ITC and the partner universities. A sandwich PhD construction means that the candidates spend the first eight or nine months at ITC and then return to their respective universities to carry out their field research for around 12 months and then return to ITC for another eight months, and so on for the duration of the four-year PhD.
Seven candidates have been selected and have started their PhD the 9th of July 2018. The PhD topics all relate to food security but with diverse entry points such as water resource management, land use/land cover change, ecosystem services, geo-health and GIS-based community mapping depending on the thematic interests of the partner universities.
While every PhD candidate has their own research topic, the candidates, their supervisors and the EENSAT partner university coordinators will contribute to the development of a coherent applied research programme. This research programme will link to existing research and educational programmes and ultimately strengthen the academic and practical skills within the partner universities to meet the needs and targets of the agricultural sector as outlined in the 2nd Growth and Transformation Plan of the Ethiopian Government.