Innovative Doctoral Education for Global Food Security 2013-2014 – a Swedish Government Initiative

Last changed: 04 October 2016

In this programme, the 25 main activities, directed towards doctoral education for food security, have involved Swedish and African universities as well as around 30 African universities and international organisations. In total 530 doctoral students and senior staff participated in courses and workshops. The programme also included 20 scholar exchanges.

Since 2009, the Swedish government, through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (UD), has made specific investments in programmes aimed at supporting long-term food security with an emp- hasis on sub-Saharan Africa. Here we report results from the third, and final, UD allocation that SLU received in 2012 to be used during the years 2013 and 2014 with a focus on teaching and postgraduate training in collaboration with African partner universities.

Graduate students are pivotal from a socio-strategic perspective as they will be future leaders, not only in academia but in many sectors of society. A progressive and dynamic educational system will thus have long- term impact on economic and community advancement apart from its more obvious influence on scientific progress. To this end SLU initiated the programme Innovative Doctoral Education for Global Food Security in order to contribute to capacity development of higher education and doctoral studies related to agricultural and environmental sciences.

By participating in advanced courses organised within the framework of this programme, doctoral students have been introduced to interdisciplinary research, international networking and training in transferable skills. As these courses were international, both by format, location and backgrounds of facilitators and participants, they have provided excellent conditions for networking. The joint endeavor, by facilitators from the African partner universities and SLU, to develop courses and workshops has contributed to develop the capacity in pedagogy and educational management.

The workshops have developed the capacity of teachers and supervisors to operate in inter- disciplinary contexts; to teach and supervise and utilize up-to-date methods and techniques of research communication and publishing. Institutional capacity of governance and management was supported by a number of leadership workshops. Finally, transfer of modern teaching and research approaches, quality assurance routines and good supervision practice was supported by exchange of scholars between the African partner universities and SLU.

The 25 main activities within the programme have had a geographical focus on eastern and southern Africa and have involved Swedish and African universities as well as around 30 African universities and international organisations. In total 530 doctoral students, senior staff participa- ted in courses and workshops. The exchange programme included 20 scholars.


The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has core competence within the agricultural sciences, including forestry and veterinary sciences. The university´s areas of expertise cover urgent global issues such as food production, energy supply, climate change, biodiversity conservation and control of infectious diseases in animal and man.

To strengthen SLU's involvement in issues related to improving productivity in agriculture, food security and sustainable livelihood in low-income countries, the university has established the programme Agricultural Sciences for Global Development, (SLU Global). The programme's mission is to coordinate and visualize SLU's competence in research, education and expert councelling within the framework of the Swedish Policy for Global Development.