21 June 2024 | Story Precious Shamase | Photo Suplied
Prof Jesse Lutabingwa
Prof Jesse Lutabingwa, the visiting scholar who will be facilitating grant-writing workshops to support third-stream aspirations.

The University of the Free State (UFS) welcomes Prof Jesse Lutabingwa, a visiting Fellow from the Appalachian State University (AppState) in the United States. Prof Lutabingwa arrives under the prestigious Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Programme (CADFP), bringing a wealth of experience to support the university's ‘third-income aspirations.’

Prof Lutabingwa’s long-standing connection with the UFS began in 2009 when he played a pivotal role in establishing a collaborative partnership between the two institutions. At the time, he was serving as Associate Vice-Chancellor for International Education and Development at AppState. Now, he returns not as an administrator, but as a faculty member eager to share his expertise and deepen this valuable connection.

"I have always wanted to participate in CADFP to give back to the African continent," Prof Lutabingwa explains. "This fellowship allows me to engage with the UFS community on different issues and contribute to the professional and individual growth of faculty, staff, and students, ultimately serving our communities better."

Empowering through grant writing

A key aspect of Prof Lutabingwa’s fellowship is a series of grant-writing workshops designed to empower UFS faculty, researchers, and postgraduate students, particularly on the Qwaqwa Campus.

"Many find the idea of proposing research grants daunting," Prof Lutabingwa says. "My goal is to elucidate the process. With more than 33 years of experience and more than 65% success rate, I am here to share the knowledge I have gained as a grant writer and reviewer."

These workshops will equip participants with the skills and strategies needed to craft compelling proposals, significantly increasing their chances of securing funding. Access to grants is crucial, Prof Lutabingwa emphasises, as it allows researchers to pursue innovative work that benefits society while offering valuable training opportunities for students.

Collaboration for research impact

Prof Lutabingwa’s contributions extend beyond workshops. He will collaborate with Dr Grey Magaiza, Director of the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies, and other faculty members on co-authoring two research articles. This collaboration aims to strengthen the UFS' research profile and contribute to a more impactful research landscape.

Dr Magaiza highlights the significance of Prof Lutabingwa’s visit: "Jesse is at the heart of the UFS-AppState partnership. Now, as a Carnegie Africa Diaspora fellow, he can engage with us in a new way, pouring his expertise back into this space. His grant-writing workshops and collaborative research efforts will be instrumental in achieving our third-stream aspirations."

Excited about the future

The fellow’s enthusiasm for this fellowship is noticeable when he speaks and engages with colleagues on campus. "Words cannot express my excitement," he shares. "I am grateful for this opportunity to collaborate, engage in research, and connect with various individuals on campus."

The UFS community warmly welcomes Prof Lutabingwa and anticipates a fruitful fellowship that will empower faculty, strengthen research, and propel the UFS – particularly the Qwaqwa Campus – towards achieving its third-income aspirations.

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