McGill signs MOU with Bangladesh institutions

Agreement earmarks $6 million in financial support for Bangladeshi PhD students who come to McGill
Dr. Mahmood-uz-jahan, Director, Bangladesh Medical Research Council; and Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill sign the Memorandum of UnderstandingOwen Egan / Joni Dufour

On Monday, Sept. 30, McGill entered into an important partnership with the newly established Bangamata National Cellular and Molecular Center (BNCMC) and the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC). At a ceremony held at the Faculty Club, a Memorandum of Understanding for graduate scholarships worth $6M was signed by Principal Suzanne Fortier and Dr. Mahmood-uz-jahan, Director of the BMRC.

Under the MOU, McGill will train PhDs in areas of research that are particularly relevant for Bangladesh as it moves forward to implement Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s long-term goal of achieving the status of a developed country. In return, Bangladesh will provide $6M in financial support for PhD students who come to McGill over the next 6–7 years.

“Beginning of a great partnership”

“Today marks the beginning of a great partnership. Under the Bangladesh-McGill Scholarship Program, dozens of PhD students from Bangladesh will come to McGill to study and conduct research that will change lives,” said Principal Fortier. “We embark on this initiative with great enthusiasm as we know it will have a long-lasting impact in fostering deeper relations between McGill and Bangladesh.”

The MOU further strengthens existing ties between McGill and Bangladesh. McGill is an increasingly popular choice for Bangladeshi students, with 148 students – including 53 graduate students – presently enrolled at the University. Last year alone, 14 students from Bangladesh were awarded graduate degrees across all McGill programs. The new scholarship program would support graduate students in a variety programs and Faculties, with the first cohort of students slated to arrive at McGill for January 2021.

In addition to the signing of the MOU, the meeting highlighted the new Bangladesh-McGill Scholars Center.

The Center will organize lectures, meetings and social events, while providing mentoring and general assistance. Most of all, it will allow Scholars from different departments to establish links that may prove fruitful when they return home. The Center will be led by Dr. Edith Zorychta, Director, Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies in the Department of Pathology, and Dr. Abu Shadat M. Noman of the BNCMRC and Visiting Professor, Department of Pathology.

Additional grad student awards

“I am thrilled to witness the launch of the Bangladesh-McGill Scholarship Program today,” said Josephine Nalbantoglu, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies “McGill offers a range of PhD programs for the Scholars to choose from, with access to world-class research facilities and professional development. The Bangladesh-McGill Scholars Center will serve as a hub for collaborative activities, creating a community of Scholars on campus. I look forward to welcoming the first cohort of Bangladesh-McGill Scholars to the University in the near future.”

Bangladeshi officials also announced the creation of additional awards for graduate students. Until the funds for the new scholarship program are in place, Prime Minister Hasina has approved funding for nine supplemental awards – Prime Minister’s Scholarships for PhD students at McGill. Three recipients have already been accepted to the PhD program in Pathology for the winter 2020 term.