About Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme

What is the objective of the Intra Africa Academic Mobility Scheme?

The objective of the programme is to promote sustainable development and poverty alleviation by increasing the availability of trained and qualified high-level professional manpower in Africa. The programme aims to strengthen co-operation between higher education institutions in Africa in view of increasing access to quality education that will encourage and enable African students to undertake postgraduate studies, and to promote student retention in the region along with mobility of staff (academic and administrative) while increasing competitiveness and attractiveness of the institutions themselves. More specifically the programme aims to:

  1. Provide access to higher education for students including those from disadvantaged groups;
  2. Facilitate cooperation on recognition of studies and qualifications;
  3. Contribute to the improvement of the quality of higher education through the promotion of internationalisation, and harmonisation of programmes and curricula within participating institutions;
  4. Enhance the international cooperation capacity of Higher Education Institutions in African countries;
  5. Promote cooperation between sending and host institutions;
  6. Enable students, academics and staff to benefit linguistically, culturally and professionally from the experience gained in the context of mobility to another country;
  7. Enhance, in the medium-term, the political, cultural, educational and economic links between the participating countries

Between which geographic band of Higher Education Institutions will co-operation and mobility of students (at masters and doctoral level) and staff take place?

Eligible Countries: The eligible countries are presented below.

Regions of Africa Countries
Central Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé and Principe
Eastern Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania
Northern Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco
Southern Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Western Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo


What is PAPSSN?

The PanAfrican Planetary and Space Science Network (PAPSSN) is a consortium engaging in research collaboration and educational outreaches to develop labour market-relevant post-graduate curricula for training in planetary space science.

What does PAPSSN offer?

The overarching objective of PAPSSN is to support the development of a skilled and innovative graduate students’ community and improve their job preparedness for the growing Planetary and Space Science labour market in Africa and foster their capacity of operating local infrastructure, generating local data and engaging with the international community of scientists and entrepreneurs.

This mobility project, capitalizing on the new commitments from the AU and the EU, wishes to develop the next generation of African scientists, leaders, and entrepreneurs by improving their access to high quality STEM education, with particular emphasis on PSS. This development in PSS and technology leads to advances in technology literacy, security, safety, and productivity across a broad front of activities. Many African countries have already identified PSS as step stone for the modernization of their economy and for practical uses such as monitoring of land-use cover change, climate change, drought, hydrology, and natural disasters. Among the unquestioned benefits of PSS in the tertiary education system of African nations is the modernisation of the tertiary education programmes and introduction of new, cutting-edge technologies designed for space and planetary exploration within Africa HEIs and industries. PSS can excite the imagination of the public and stimulates the interest of the youth in science and technology.

Note: PAPSSN scholarships will not fund an application outside these academic offerings. Each partner has carefully selected qualifications which align with PAPSSN chosen theme to equip graduated in the academic programmes listed above. Consortium partners. Visit study and research opportunities to check on research projects to be undertaken in each partner institution.

Who are the partners involved in PAPSSN?

University/Institution/Company Country Role
Addis Ababa University (AAU) Ethiopia Partner Universities
Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BIUST) Botswana Coordinating University
Copperbelt University Zambia Partner Universities
University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) Nigeria Partner Universities
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) South Africa Partner Universities
University of Bologna Italy Technical Partner

What does each partner institution undertake to do?

  • Monitor the academic individual progress of each PAPSSN scholarship holder registered at their institution.
  • Provide the co-ordinating institution (Botswana International University of Science & Technology – Botswana) with reports from each PAPSSN scholarship holder every 6 months in the case of master’s students and every 12 month in the case of PhD students.
  • Ensure gender-balance (with particular emphasis on the selection of women), equal opportunities and the participation of disadvantaged groups (disabled students, economically disadvantaged students) in the selection process

Academic Information

How do I apply for the scholarship?

  1. Carefully read the “Before you Apply” section on the website. Please complete the online application. If you are a first-time user, you will need to register; if you are already registered, simply login!
  2. You will also be asked to submit electronic versions of your resume, essay responses, transcripts, and name and email of your references. Please scan your transcripts and resumes into electronic format (PDF format preferred for all requested documents).

Distribution of the scholarship?

Target Group Masters Doctorates Staff TOTAL Percentage
Target Group 1 25 6 10 41 77.36%
Target Group 2 8 4 N/A 12 22.64%
TOTAL 33 10 10 53  
Distribution per Mobility type 62.26% 18.87% 18.87%    

Categories of Scholarship

  1. Full degree scholarships for Masters and Doctoral students: Students who meet the criteria will be able to apply for full degree scholarship for completion of a masters or doctoral degree at one of the PAPSSN institutions in the consortium.
  2. Academic and administrative staff mobilities: Staff employed by the higher education institutions of the consortium will be able to apply for short term mobility opportunities which could include benchmarking exercises, sabbatical research periods, guest lecturing, curriculum development, knowledge and resource sharing trips etc. on the basis that both institutions support the trip.
  3. Exchange opportunities (Masters and PhD): Students registered as full-degree students at one of the partner universities comprising the consortium, spend a short period (10 months minimum) at one of the other institutions in the consortium and return to their home institution after the exchange period to complete their degree at the home institution. Exchange students will spend their period at the host university as researchers mainly, being engaged in literature reviews, specialised theoretical or methodological training, or field studies and they will closely co-operate with their host and home institution supervisors.

Which credit recognition system will be used during my studies with PAPSSN?

For the PAPSSN Programme, study credit recognition and transfer will be regulated according to the principles of the Bologna process. As there is no current international African credit transfer system comparable to the ECTS system, the PAPSSN partners will all use the ECTS grading scale in this context, as a commonly shared conversion scale which brings the different national credit systems into alignment. In recognition of different credit recognition system amongst PAPSSN partners, each Partner agrees to

  • To consider the study period abroad of each PAPSSN scholarship holder as an integral part of the study /research programme.
  • To guarantee the full academic recognition (including exams and other forms of evaluation) of the study/research period undertaken at the PAPSSN partner institution, through the signature of the Individual Student Learning Agreements.
  • With regards to transcripts each partner institution undertakes:
  • To provide the incoming student as well as the sending partner institution with a transcript of study results confirming that the programme has been completed.
  • To issue transcripts to PAPSSN scholarships holders in accordance with regulations at its own institution (for example which department can issue them, who signs them off and to issue transcripts) for both full degree and partial mobility.

Which data may I be requested to submit as part of my application?

You may be expected to submit (but not limited to); Personal contact information of the candidate, year of birth, CV, fulfillment with the eligibility criteria for a scholarship (proof of nationality, relevant requirements for different target groups and type of mobility, proof of sufficient knowledge of the tuition language at the host institution), choice of courses and/or study programme and preferred PAPSSN host institutions.

What are the eligibility criteria?

  1. For students

    To be eligible for the scholarship, masters and doctoral students must:

    • Be a national and/ or resident of an eligible country. At the time of the application for a scholarship, be registered/admitted in their final year or have obtained their most recent degree (or equivalent) from:

      1. One of the higher education institutions included in the partnership (Target Group 1);
      2. A higher education institution not included in the partnership but established in an eligible country (Target Group 2)
      3. Have sufficient knowledge of the language of instruction in the host institution.
      4. Meet the specific requirements of the host institution
  2. For staff

    To be eligible for PAPSSN scholarships staff must:

    • Be national(s) and resident in any of the eligible countries.
    • Work in or be associated with a partner higher education institution.
    • Have sufficient knowledge of the operational language in the host institution.

What are the different target groups?

  1. Target Group 1 (TG1) can be defined as: African nationals and/or residents registered or having obtained a degree in one of the Higher Education Institutions that is a member of the PAPSSN consortium.
  2. Target Group 2 (TG2) can be defined as: African nationals and residents (students) registered in Higher Education Institution of African countries not included in the partnership, or whom have obtained a Higher Education Institution degree or equivalent from an institution of these countries. This allows for providing mobility opportunities to students working in public administration, public and private enterprises.

What are the programmes I may apply for?

Areas of specialisation and mobility types are dependent on the institution. A detailed list of the available programmes can be found under the section ‘study and research opportunities’

What should I consider when deciding on my host institution?

  • Ensure that you have mastered the language of tuition of the host institution.
  • Carefully consider the identified programmes and areas of excellence in each partner institution.
  • Ensure that you have the necessary academic background for the programmes of interest before you apply.
  • Be aware of the real cost of living at each partner institution, considering the monthly subsistence allowance of the scholarship.
  • Consider your ability to adapt to the different cultural realities and the climate at the location of the host institution.

What is the scholarship selection based on?

  • Selection decisions are assessed and evaluated at the respective institutions and eligible candidates then recommended to the Consortium Steering Committee as award recipients.
  • The Consortium Selection Committee shall evaluate applications taking into consideration transparency of the process, gender, brain drain prevention and disadvantaged groupings and make such recommendations to the Consortium Steering Committee for endorsement and implementation.
  • Finally, the Consortium Steering Committee oversees equal distribution of obligations, rights and tasks to all Consortium Members as well as awarding scholarships taking into consideration transparency, gender equality, brain drain prevention and representation of disadvantaged groupings.

When will I know the outcome of my application?

All rejected and accepted applicants will be notified immediately after the PAPSSN Scholarship Selection Committee decision has been finalised.


Logistical Matters

How do I stay in touch?

Write to us using our online contact form and an email reply will be returned to you, or contact us via email. Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages to see more about PAPSSN.

Which permits or documentation do I need to take up a scholarship offer?

Details of additional documentation needed, or which visa to apply for, are communicated to successful applicants (after receipt, review and assessment of their applications).

What do I need to consider when planning my trip?

PAPSSN recommends that students and staff liaise with home and host institution co-ordinators for more specific requirements.

  • It is advisable to photocopy all your essential documents (personal and academic), retain a set of copies for yourself, storing it in a safe place separately from the originals, and to leave another set of copies with a family member or friend.
  • Should you need to apply for a study permit, ensure that it is valid for studies at the institution you will be studying at.
  • Ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your studies. You will need it to open a bank account. In most countries, a passport is the recognised form of identification for international students / staff.
  • If you are bringing a laptop, please make sure that the computer can operate on the voltage of the country you will be studying in and that you have the necessary transformer for the current. You may also need to purchase an adapter plug that enables you to plug your computer into an outlet.  (If you are bringing a lap-top or other electronic equipment please ensure that it is adequately insured against loss or theft and be vigilant in protecting your property at all times).
  • Medication: If you take a prescription drug on a regular basis remember to keep the prescription and to retain original packaging.
  • Sleeping bag (if you want to go camping).
  • Raincoat with hood.
  • Shoes for hiking or all-day walks.
  • Other electronic equipment; If you intend to bring electronic equipment (e.g. hairdryer) please make sure that it can operate on the voltage available for the country.
  • Cell phone and International Calling Cards
  • Cash in local currency for emergencies.

What about housing at the host university?

According to the rules of the PAPSSN project, the host universities are required to assist students and staff members to find suitable housing on or near campus.

Will I participate in orientation?

Yes, upon arrival you will receive your information and orientation pack with information on orientation and the campus of your choice. Please read through the information carefully and ensure that you participate in the scheduled orientation and registration sessions.

During orientation week the host institution will officially welcome you and give information useful to your academic and social wellbeing. Each session will equip you to identify and utilize the necessary resources and smooth your transition into higher education in a different African region and at the relevant host institution.

Where can I find examples of the mobility agreement (signed on acceptance of scholarship offer) and the learning agreement (signed when the mobility commences)?

Examples of the mobility agreement and the learning agreement are shown in Appendix A and Appendix B of the Guidelines.

Financial Information

Is this programme funded through the European Development Fund (EDF)?

Yes. The European Commission, oversees the management of the Intra Africa Academic Mobility scheme. It manages the budget and sets priorities, targets and criteria for the Programme. Furthermore, it guides and monitors the general implementation, follow-up and evaluation of the Programme. The Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme is set up under the Pan-African Programme (Development Cooperation Instrument) and is based on the experience of the Intra-ACP Academic Mobility Scheme. The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is responsible for managing this programme, in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), and under the supervision of the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission.

What does the scholarship cover?

The Scholarship covers

  • Roundtrip flight ticket and visa costs (using a preferred travel agent and calculated against direct linear distance)
  • Participation costs such as tuition fees, registration fees and service fees where applicable
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance (Health, Accident and Travel)
  • A monthly subsistence allowance for the mobility period
  • Settling in Allowance

Research Costs: only eligible for mobility of ten (10) months or more. The distribution of funds from this pool shall be decided by the partners based on the actual research needs of selected students.

  • An extra allowance corresponding to the monthly subsistence allowance’s will be paid per academic year to female master students and doctoral candidates, for mobility equal or longer than 2 academic years.
Type of Mobility Participation Costs (per academic year) Subsistence Allowance (per month) Research Costs (per academic year) Insurance costs (per month) Duration
Master €3,500 €600 €600 €75 Max 24 months
Doctorates €4,000 €900 €2000 €75 Max 36 months
Staff   €1200   €75 Max 6 months

Participation costs are transferred directly the host institution. Insurance is arranged by the coordinating institution on behalf of students.

What about health and travel insurance?

  • The coordinating institution will arrange for each scholarship holder comprehensive health, travel and personal accidents insurance directly to each scholarship holder which is valid in the host country and in line with European Union requirements.
  • The insurance will cover pan-African travel required during a student / staff member’s mobility period.
  • Reasons for travel may be: departure to the destination where studies / staff visit will take place, travel between the participating higher education institutions, return trip home following completion of studies or during the academic breaks within the specific eligibility period of the action, preparatory meetings, mid-term evaluation meetings, final evaluation meeting, courses, conferences, seminars, research, cultural and intercultural sessions.
  • In the event of a return trip home during the period covered by his/her scholarship; the participants shall also receive cover for medical costs and urgent dental care. This coverage will be guaranteed for periods up to 4 weeks.

Scholarship information

How do I apply for the scholarship?

Visit the section “BEFORE YOU APPLY” on the website for instructions on how to complete your application. ONLY ONLINE APPLICATIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED.

Which documentation do I need to take up a scholarship offer?

Details of additional documentation needed, or which visa to apply for, are communicated to successful applicants (after receipt, review and assessment of their applications).

Do I gain admission to Master’s and PhD programmes in partner/host University before I apply for PAPSSN scholarship?

Yes, you must gain admission to an PAPSSN partner University before you apply for PAPSSN scholarship. Applications should be made using the host University’s formal application procedure – see the ”study and research opportunities” section.

How do I stay in touch?

Write to us using our online contact form and an email reply will be returned to you, or contact us via email. Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages to see more about PAPSSN.

Where can I find examples of the mobility agreement (signed on acceptance of scholarship offer) and the learning agreement (signed when the mobility commences)?

Examples of the mobility agreement and the learning agreement are shown in the “PAPSSN Prospectus” or “Scholarship Guidelines”


The Scholarship Selection Process

What happens after I have submitted my application?

  • Prior to scientific evaluation of the applications, the Coordinating Office will verify all applications and will invalidate those that do not comply with the eligibility criteria established by the programme, the partnership and the host institution.
  • Eligible applications will be considered by the PAPSSN Selection Committee, which comprises representatives from each partner institution who are experienced academics. Student applications will be scored and ranked using the scale shown in the selection process and criteria.
  • The Coordinating Office will send to the home and host institutions a list of selected scholarship holders for participation in the PAPSSN mobility project

When will I know the outcome of my application?

  • All applicants will be informed by e-mail of the application outcome and the applicant’s online account will be updated accordingly.
  • All rejected and accepted applicants will be notified immediately after the PAPSSN Scholarship Selection Committee decision has been finalised.

Can I appeal the outcome of an unsuccessful application?

Yes. Applicants who do not accept the selection outcome will be provided with the reasons for the outcome decisions made by the committees responsible for validation and evaluation. Details on the appeals procedure will be provided in the outcome e-mail to be sent to all applicants.


Protection of personal data

How will the project protect my personal data?

  • All submitted applications will be stored as read-only documents in a protected database.
  • The legal requirements of the partner universities concerning the manipulation of personal data will be observed and the information submitted online will remain confidential.
  • The data will only be accessed by authorised persons at the host institutions and at the Coordination Office.
  • Members of the Selection Committee will have confidential access to the data.


How much does it cost to apply for a scholarship?

There is no charge to apply.

Can I apply to more than one scholarship?

Yes, you can apply to all the funds for which you are eligible and but can only accept one scholarship.

If I receive a scholarship for one year, will I automatically receive an award for the following year?

Not all scholarships are renewable.

I have a disability. Do I need to disclose it to the PAPSSN?

  • We strongly encourage you to tell us about any disability, health condition, impairment or issue that may affect your studies.
  • PAPSSN actively welcomes applications from candidates with disabilities and a range of support is available to help you excel in your studies.
  • For information on disability-related or any disability related queries, please contact PAPSSN mobility

Can I change to a different course or university from the one I have been selected for?

No. The PAPSSN selection committee’s decision is final