The West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) has received the International Advanced Degree Accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology UK (RSoB) for graduate programmes at the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology. The programmes are MPhil in Molecular Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases and PhD in Molecular Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases, which were introduced as part of the World Bank African Centres of Excellence project. The Royal Society of Biology is a single unified voice for biology in the UK. The Society represents a diverse membership of individuals including practicing scientists, students at all levels, professionals in academia, industry and education, and non-professionals with an interest in biology, learned societies and other organizations. The RSoB’s International Advanced Degree Accreditation recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The Advanced Accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.
On receiving the news that the Centre had received full accreditation Professor Awandare stated that “This is a major step forward in our quest to become a leader in higher education excellence in Africa. The validation of our training quality by the Royal Society of Biology helps us attract the best students and gives funders further confidence to invest in our programmes”.
In addition to the prestige and international credibility that comes with this accreditation, students who graduate from the programmes also stand to reap significant benefits. Graduates from the accredited programmes will receive one year’s free membership of the Royal Society of Biology at Associate level, which will open up networks for applying for jobs or fellowships for further studies or research. In addition, Associate level members can become Members of the Royal Society of Biology (MRSB) after two further years of work or professional practice, rather than the usual three.
The accreditation process was achieved by fulfilling the requirements set out by the society in 3 stages. As part of stage one, WACCBIP submitted a list of documents including a list of documents including letter of intent, the programme specifications, module descriptors, resource documents, curriculum vitae of staff, most recent summative assessments and a completed accreditation matrix. Secondly, an accreditation assessment panel from RSoB carried out a site visit to evaluate WACCBIP’s facilities and interact with students as well as the teaching faculty. Following the successful report from the assessment team, the Degree Accreditation Committee awarded WACCBIP the full 5 year accreditation for the 2 new programmes on November 16, 2016.