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Transforming Knowledge and dreams into meaningful skills: Anitha Philbert’s PhD story

I am a female scientist, a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and a proud beneficiary of the CARTA Cohort three PhD fellowships awarded in 2012 to 23 students from across Africa. Receiving the CARTA fellowship was a privilege that led me towards achieving my career goals in research and academia and contributing effectively to Africa’s transformation. CARTA fellowship included working predominantly with world-renowned researchers and having the opportunity to attend advanced specialized training courses facilitated by dedicated scholars across the globe. CARTA fellowship provided unique opportunities that made it possible to combine my laboratory research experience and social science aspects to answer public health research questions allowing a meaningful contribution in the international literature.

While I was so grateful for the PhD CARTA fellowship for making the experience worthwhile, I hadn’t anticipated that the benefits of being a CARTA fellow would continue to grow well beyond the scholarship duration. After graduating with a PhD in 2016, I applied for the CARTA re-entry grant, which I was awarded in 2017, and subsequently awarded the CARTA Postdoctoral fellowship in 2020. The wealth of knowledge and experiences gained through CARTA has been instrumental in my research and academic activities over the years. Through the CARTA fellowship, I have horned my skills in different dimensions: spanning from zero publications when I joined as a PhD candidate to 13 publications in reputable international journals to date, and I have several more in the works.

A critical part of being a CARTA fellow for me is to be able to avail opportunities to others, mentor junior scholars, and reciprocate in kind what CARTA has invested in me. As a lecturer, my primary roles are teaching, research and consultancy, and a PhD through CARTA was a complete package offering pedagogical courses, grant writing workshops, and supervision trainings, among other things. Since graduation, I have supervised completing one PhD, and two M. Sc students have successfully graduated, and I am currently supervising One PhD candidate, 4 M.Sc students, and several undergraduate projects.

In research, I have been a recipient of the competitive research grants by the University of Dar es Salaam, and from 2017, I have won three grants as a Principal Investigator. Through the CARTA fellowship, I have formed networks and research teams within and outside the Consortium, and we are putting up applications for mega grants together. The generosity and guidance of the CARTA secretariat, the collaborations among the fellows from different countries in Africa, the interaction with distinguished international researchers within the CARTA fraternity is a unique opportunity to further professional development and extending professional networks.

I believe my research on malaria vector control will contribute to the malaria end game: further details of my work can be accessed at Anitha Philbert – Google Scholar.

Anitha Philbert (Cohort Three Graduate, University of Dar es Salaam) is a lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Wildlife,  University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.