The Cambridge Trust and the University of Central Asia (UCA) have agreed to offer nine doctoral scholarships at the University of Cambridge in the UK to scholars from Central Asia. This follows the successful completion by a previous cohort of UCA doctoral scholars at the University of Cambridge. These additional scholarships, to be known as the University of Central Asia Cambridge Scholarships, will further build on the relationship of UCA and the University of Cambridge to enhance the academic quality of UCA’s future faculty.
According to the agreement signed on 9 November 2017, scholarships will be awarded each year for the next three academic years starting in 2018, to students wishing to pursue doctoral studies in Computer Science, Engineering, Media and Communications, Business Management or Economics. These disciplines represent some of the majors in the undergraduate programme offered by UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Support for students entering a master’s programme, as a pathway to a doctoral degree, will also be considered.
UCA is Central Asia’s sole regional university with fully-residential campuses in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan and Khorog, Tajikistan with state-of-the art facilities, small staff-student ratios, and generous provisions for faculty to engage in research. The third campus in Tekeli, Kazakhstan is expected to be operational by 2021.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Stephen Toope, remarked “We are very pleased to renew this collaboration because both UCA and the University of Cambridge have supporting outstanding students at the heart of their mission. UCA and the Cambridge Trust will continue to work together on this marvellous opportunity to enhance the learning and research of UCA faculty members, which will enable both the University and its regions to grow economically, socially and culturally.”
Conveying appreciation on behalf of UCA, Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of UCA, said “Faculty development plays a major role in achieving one of the primary objectives of UCA, to become a major center of teaching and research on the challenges and opportunities of mountain communities. It is my hope that these scholarships will also lead to faculty exchanges and joint research, and provide the University of Cambridge a significant footprint in Central Asia.”
The agreement was co-signed by the Cambridge Trust’s Director, Helen Pennant, who said “The Trust is delighted to renew this partnership with the UCA. We are proud to be associated with such a far-sighted establishment, one of the pillars of the worldwide Aga Khan Development Network. Since His Highness the Aga Khan was awarded an Honorary Degree at the University of Cambridge in 2009, it seems particularly appropriate that this collaboration should be confirmed and strengthened.”
These scholarships are part of UCA’s ongoing Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP) designed to ensure that scholars from the region are strongly represented in UCA’s faculty. Scholarship recipients will be required to work for three years at the UCA after the completion of their studies at the University of Cambridge. Applicants from the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, as well as from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and northern Pakistan are eligible to apply. They must meet eligibility benchmarks of UCA, and the admissions criteria of the University of Cambridge.