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SU part of deliberations at SASUF Research and Innovation Week 2024
Author: SU International
Published: 24/05/2024

​Twelve Stellenbosch University (SU) staff members participated in the sixth South Africa Sweden University Forum (SASUF) Research and Innovation Week, hosted in mid-May 2024 in Sweden.

The event, which fosters collaboration between South African and Swedish academic institutions, was co-hosted by Lund University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Malmö University – all situated in Sweden's Skåne region. More than 450 academics and university managers from 40 universities in Sweden and South Africa participated.

SU's delegation was led by Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers and included the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs, Prof Hester Klopper, along with distinguished researchers from various disciplines.

Sustainable development takes centre stage

Specialised workshops and discussions on how to enhance collaborative research and innovation set the stage for the main event, the Sustainability Forum, which focused on sustainable development challenges and solutions. Here, SU researchers presented groundbreaking work in areas such as environmental science, renewable energy, health sciences, and social innovation. Their presentations highlighted SU's commitment to addressing global sustainability challenges through interdisciplinary research and international partnerships.

The way forward for the network

With the SASUF network set to embark on its next phase from 2025 to 2030, the continuation of its work was a major point of discussion between the vice-chancellors of the participating institutions. It was agreed that new approaches would have be implemented to secure funding for the next phase. The AU-EU relationship will be drawn upon, which would potentially require inclusion of more countries in Africa and Europe, although this remains undecided. Funding from South Africa's National Research Foundation will require consideration of the country's 2022-2032 Science, Technology and Innovation Decadal Plan, while STINT (the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education) will also remain involved as a potential funding source.  

All participants emphasised that participation in SASUF not only strengthened research capabilities at their respective institutions, but also enhanced their ability to contribute to sustainable development globally. The exchange of ideas and expertise between South African and Swedish institutions remains invaluable.