Cameroon, otherwise known as the Africa in miniature cuts across several biomes and is the 5th richest country in Africa in terms of biodiversity. The ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies (ERuDeF Institute) and/or referred to also as EIBiNS was founded in 2012 with the mission to support the long term biodiversity management in Cameroon and elsewhere through the training, capacity building and professional development of the next generation of conservation scientists and leaders and to provide the younger generation with the much needed professional experience. The ERuDeF Institute’s is the pioneer institute in Cameroon dedicated to the holistic study of the environment. Its overall goal is to increase the quantity and quality of conservation scientists and leaders that will help to sustain biodiversity management in Cameroon and elsewhere. The ERuDeF Institute is a registered non-profit educational institute in Cameroon with head quarters in Buea, SW Cameroon and with an international Board of Trustees comprising members from the Cameroon, USA and Europe.
The ERuDeF Institute is committed to education, sharing of knowledge and learning through all that it does. It seeks to encourage and support people who are interested in conservation work and developing their careers either with the Institute, its partners and/or other organizations by hosting internships, volunteers and young people interested in practical experience with ERuDeF and its partners, working with a professional and passionate team, and at the same time, contributing to the mission of the institute and/or its partners.
The ERuDeF Institute offers a unique opportunity to interns, volunteers and others to acquire work experience through its various partners’ programs. Interns will be able to develop their own skills and contribute to the mission of ERuDeF and its partners by being involved in essential activities with the appropriate levels of support from the ERuDeF Institute and partners’ staff.
This policy relates to the M.Sc. and PhD students planning to conduct their masters and/or PhD research at and/or through the ERuDeF Institute.
The ERuDeF Institute believes that M.Sc. and PhD students constitute an important resource, making a vital contribution to achieving the aims and objectives of the institution by complementing and adding value to the work of the ERuDeF Institute. The intention of this policy is to encourage, develop and support M.Sc. and PhD research students’ involvement in research work in Cameroon, one of the biodiversity hotspots and exciting region for conservation research in Africa.
The implementation of this policy will depend on good relationship, mutual responsibility and commitment between the ERuDeF Institute and universities, research students and government authorities responsible for environmental management.
Purpose of the Policy
This policy is intended for management guidance The ERuDeF Institute reserves the exclusive right to change any of this policy at any time and to expect adherence to the changed policy. Specifically, the policy intends to:
· Highlight and acknowledge the value of the contribution made by research students and/or interns
· Reflect the purpose, values, standards and strategies of the ERuDeF Institute in relation to its involvement with research students and their academic institutions;
· Recognize the respective roles, rights and responsibilities of research students and of the ERuDeF Institute
· Confirm the ERuDeF Institute’ commitment to involving research students and/or interns in its work;
· Establish clear principle for the involvement of research students
· Clarify the relation between research students, universities and the ERuDeF Institute .
· Help to ensure maximum mutual gain both to research students and the ERuDeF Institute ;
· Establish a framework for recruiting and supporting research students.
2. Admission Requirements and Selection of Research Students.
· When submitting their application, students must be registered full time in a masters and/or PhD program in their respective universities;
· Students seeking to conduct thesis research through the ERuDeF Institute must first engage in discussions with the ERuDeF Institute at least 12 months before the intended start date of the research;
· Undergraduate students may only be accepted on a need case basis;
· Students must submit their applications together with two letters: one from their M.Sc. or PhD program supervisor approving the theme and a second from their head of Department sending the student to conduct the research internship;
· Students must submit an acceptable research proposal
· Students must have ability to write and communicate in English;
· Research students’ recruitment procedures will be subject to regular review based on the changing policies at the ERuDeF Institute;
· Applicants for research student placement at the ERuDeF Institute will receive a response within a reasonable period not later than ten (10) working days after the deposit of the relevant application documents.
· The research theme must contribute to the advancement of the vision of the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’ programs
· The student’s proposal must already have been validated by the academic supervisor and the Head of Department of the student’s university
· The proposal should contain a detailed budget and the funding source (s)
· The student will defend the university validated research proposal before a panel at the ERuDeF Institute and all corrections made before the start of the research internship
· The research proposal and final thesis must bear the name of the co-supervisor from the ERuDeF Institute and/or partners’ programs as well as its logo;
· All articles originating from the research entirely funded by the ERuDeF Institute and/or partners’ funds will have the co-supervisor from the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’ programs as the first author.
· The student must defend the final draft of the research before final return to his/her university in order for the ERuDeF Institute and/or partners validate the veracity of the results originating from the research period.
· Internship duration must not be less than 6 months
3. Proposed Research Topics
Based on its conservation policy, the ERuDeF Institute works with government, partners, communities, different organizations and the private sector to address the main issues affecting environmental and biodiversity conservation in Cameroon namely; Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Climate change and Governance and threats.
4. Support to Research Students
· The ERuDeF Institute and the collaborating university will invest financial and personal resources for the management of research students.
· An induction meeting and review sessions will be provided to research students to assess their progress and to resolve problems that may arise;
· All research students will have access to appropriate support and supervision with a named staff of the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’ programs and the wider Network of the ERuDeF Institute Associates;
· All research students will be offered appropriate internal training and mentoring to enable them to develop their capabilities and personal competence;
Additional support from the ERuDeF Institute to students on research internships will include:
- Office space
- A relevant professional supervisor
- Internet facility
- Technical team to assist in field work
· Peer review of the final draft research work
· Assistance in publishing the final research work in collaboration with the ERuDeF Institute
· Training in research management leading to a certificate in research management
- Preparation of draft peer review paper (s)
5. Funding the Research Thesis
For research projects funded through the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’ programs, the transfer of funds will be done in the following installments;
1. First installment of 50% will be disbursed after the signing of this student research placement and agreement policy between the student and the Director of the ERuDeF Institute and/or his/her Representative
2. Second installment of 30% will be disbursed after the field work and deposit of the final draft of the research in the office of the Director of the ERuDeF Institute
3. The third and final installment of 20% will be disbursed after the deposit of the final draft of the proposed peer reviewed paper
Finally, all the projects financially supported through the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’ programs will properly be accounted for with authentic receipts.
6. Supervision of Students on Internship at the ERuDeF Institute
All research internships are paid by the students’ from his/her own sources at the rates in force. The research internships funded through the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’ programs will have the supervision’s fees deducted directly before the final research funds are transferred to the student. The following rates are applicable to all students who shall be seeking to carry out research internships and placements within the auspices of the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies and/or its partners’ programs.
1. Undergraduate Students (National on case by case basis): 100000XAF
2. Undergraduate Students (International): 300000 XAF
3. Master Students (National): 200000 XAF
4. Master Students (International): 400000 XAF
5. PHD Students (National): 500000 FCFA
6. PHD Students (International): 1000000 XAF
7. Rights of Research Students.
In engaging research students, the ERuDeF Institute recognizes the rights of research students to:
· Know what is expected of them and to be given clear information and an induction into the organization;
· Have clearly specified lines of support and supervision;
- Be shown appreciation;
- Have a safe working environment;
· Know what their rights and responsibilities are;
· Where possible, be trained and receive on-going opportunities for learning and development;
- Be free from discrimination;
· Experience personal development through their participation as research students.
8. The Responsibilities of Research Students
· Supply a CV and other relevant testimonials that may be requested from time to time prior to engagement;
· Carry out their tasks in a way that corresponds to the aims and values of the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’programs ;
· Work within agreed guidelines and limits;
· Exercise high levels of integrity and be reliable;
- Respect and uphold confidentiality;
· Attend training and support sessions as may be with supervisors at the ERuDeF Institute .
· Comply with existing policies and procedures at the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’ programs;
· Commit to respect the conditions laid out by the ERuDeF Institute’ research policy;
· Submit regular progress reports requested by the supervisor and the ERuDeF Institute .
· Any research student who contravenes the ERuDeF Institute ’ policies and procedures while performing their functions as research students will be subject to instant dismissal by the Director;
· Research students are responsible for paying for their airfare, living and field expenses, travel documents (passport, visa), vaccines and travel insurance for the entire period of the research internship. If foreign students’ stay exceeds the period of internship, students will be responsible for paying the extra fees linked to the travel insurance.
9. Relationship with the ERuDeF Institute and Partners’ Programs Staff.
· Steps will be taken to ensure that the staff at all levels are clear about the role of research students and that good working relationships are fostered with all the staff.
· The roles of research students and the ERuDeF Institute/ Partners’ staff will be complementary and mutually supportive.
· Where possible, appropriate training, support and resources will be provided for all those who work alongside research students and for those who have a managerial role in relation to research students.
10. Research Student Agreement
· The condition for a research student to be admitted into the ERuDeF Institute for a research internship is subject to a Memorandum of Understanding between the university department, his/her supervisor and the student on the one hand and the ERuDeF Institute on the other hand.
· Every research student must read, understand and sign a Masters/PhD Agreement with the ERuDeF Institute that outlines the ERuDeF Institute ’ policy by which research students must abide. The signing of such an Agreement must be done prior to joining the ERuDeF Institute .
11. Implementation, Monitoring and Reporting
· Overall responsibility for the implementation, monitoring and review of these policies and procedures lies with the Human Resources and Students’ Affairs Department.
· Any comments that could help improve this policy should be communicated in writing to the Human Resources and Students’ Affairs Officer.
· In accordance with the ERuDeF Institute’ practice and reporting policy, weekly, monthly and final reports of work done by research students will be submitted by them as a basis for monitoring. The research students will have access to their records.
12. Duration and Termination
· The minimum research period for any research student at the ERuDeF Institute will be six months and the maximum will be three years. Further extension will be given up to a maximum of one year for master students and three years for PhD students, provided that there is a mutual agreement between the ERuDeF Institute and university. Justification in writing for such extensions must be sent to the ERuDeF Institute’s Director at least three months prior to the expiry of the previous extension.
· Research students agree that the ERuDeF Institute may at any time, for reasons of poor behavior and non-respect of the internal policies of the ERuDeF Institute and/or those of its partners, decide to terminate the relationship with the student. A month notice of such a decision would be communicated to the student’s supervisor.
· The ERuDeF Institute has no legal obligation to offer employment to its research students at the end of their research internship.
13. Recruitment into the ERuDeF Institute and/or Partners’ Programs
Over the next decade, the ERuDeF Institute and its partners will continue to grow and expand their programs in Cameroon and beyond. In order to meet up with this growing demand, there will be an annual recruitment of relevant skilled staff into their respective programs. For those research students wishing to be recruited as permanent employees of the ERuDeF Institute and/or its Partners, the research student would comply to the following conditions;
· Accept to undertake an additional training in program development and fundraising. This may start at the beginning of the research internship period if properly arranged. It is a paid 12-month training program. The course fees stand at 300 000XAF broken down into 200 000 CFA for tuition and 100 000 XAF for project development mentorship.
· Respect strictly the internal policies in force at the ERuDeF Institute and/or its partners’ programs
This is done on:
The Head of Department The CEO, ERuDeF
The Academic Supervisor The Director, ERuDeF Institute
The Research Student