FEATURED – African Centre of Excellence in Data Science (ACE-DS): Achievements and planned activities – The New Times

The African Centre of Excellence in Data Science (ACE-DS) which was established in 2016 in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Rwanda is already bearing fruits as graduates are using their gained data science skills in their respective domains to boost national and regional development.

Data Science is an interdisciplinary course that combines expertise in statistics, computer science, and mathematics among other fields in science.


The Centre was established at the University of Rwanda on 17th October 2016 with financial support from the Government of Rwanda and World Bank. The core mission of the centre is to train post-graduate students with combined expertise in statistics, economics, business, computer science, and engineering to use big data and data analytics to solve development challenges.


Prof. Charles Ruranga, the Director of African Centre of Excellence in Data Science said that the Centre has both PhD and Master’s programs.


“The courses we offer for Master’s and PhD candidates include data science in Data Mining, Biostatistics, Econometrics, Actuarial Science, and Demography,” he explained.

He said that many achievements have so far been recorded after the accreditation of programs by Rwanda Higher Education Council (HEC).

Since 2017, 151 students have enrolled in Masters programs and 49 PhD programs. Among them 24% are regional students and more than 29% are female students. 36 MSc students of cohort 1 graduated on 27th August 2021 and currently 15 students at Master’s level and one at PhD level are also eligible for graduation. “This is a great achievement because we could soon have 51 graduates of whom one is at PhD level in total since 2017,” Prof. Ruranga said. Graduates help companies to use their data and come up with solutions for growing their businesses.

Another major milestone has been conducting collaborative research where more than 50 papers have published in peer-reviewed journals.

A third milestone is organizing more than 10 professional short courses with more than 300 participants. 

A fourth milestone is development of infrastructure for data science training and research at ACE-DS. This includes higher performance computer, creation of three computer labs with needed software in data science, classrooms with teleconferencing capabilities, and work spaces for Masters and PhD students. ACE-DS has also curated a data science library, including printed and online texts, and has invested in a local area network and server for data storage.

Finally, ACE-DS has received international accreditation of its PhD and Masters programs by the Data Science Council of America (DASCA) following an evaluation of the designed programs, available infrastructures and the teaching capacity of the Centre.

Trainees that followed professional short courses offered by ACE-DS.

ACE-DS has started Data Driven Incubation Hub (DDIH) which will bring together Data Science experts, Data Science professional and Data Science students in order to provide accurate and innovative data driven solutions. 

“Now the 5th call for application is available for another intake and those who are interested can apply for Master’s and PhD programmes,” he said. More details about requirements are found on https://aceds.ur.ac.rw/.

Master’s programme students graduate after two years while PhD students graduate after between three and four years.

Prof. Ruranga says rapid and sustained economic growth has increased the need for skilled people in data science, and it is a growing field. A career as a data scientist is ranked as the third-best job in the US for 2020, and by Glassdoor, a job and recruiting …….

Source: https://www.newtimes.co.rw/featured/african-centre-excellence-data-science-ace-ds-achievements-and-planned-activities

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