Stellenbosch University (SU) is taking a leading role in addressing the research needs of the African continent. The university is one of sixteen African universities that will participate in activities of the newly launched African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA). The alliance includes top research universities from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda and Ethiopia, who will work together to promote and strengthen research on the continent. Representing South Africa, SU will be joined by the University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Rhodes University.
Visiting Stellenbosch University on 16 May, Prof Ernest Aryeety, General Secretary of ARUA, said the alliance is about mutual beneficial networks and said other universities could benefit from SU. "Stellenbosch University is well ahead of the curve and working together to uplift those that are struggling, we can uplift ourselves as globally competitive universities. Prof Ernest Aryeety, a former Vice –Chancellor of the University of Ghana, addressed SU researchers who will work across disciplines on thirteen ARUA identified research areas. A total of 35 SU researchers will work in areas like Climate Change, Food Security, Non-Communicable Diseases, Materials Development and Nanotechnology, Water Conservation, Energy, and Humanities and Science fields such as Mobility and Migration, Poverty and Inequality, Unemployment and Skills Development, Notions of Identity, Good Governance, Post-Conflict Societies and Urbanisation and Habitable Cities.
"It's not about vice-chancellors. It depends on individuals like you who work with others in Africa," he told the assembled researchers. Prof Aryeety also met with Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategic Initiatives and Internationalisation and paid visits to the Faculty of Engineering, Stellenbosch University Telematics Services and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS).
It is envisaged that the initial activities of ARUA will include – collaborative research projects for staff, a doctoral research symposium for students as a platform for showcasing and engaging on their research and a capacity building program, to enhance the capacities of research managers and their respective offices. Prof Aryeety, who is visiting participating universities until August, will also set up discussions about ARUA Centres of Excellence that will be hosted by the different universities. SU has expressed interest in a Centre of Excellence in Nanotechnology.
The ARUA programme at Stellenbosch will be coordinated by Prof Hester Klopper, Mr Robert Kotze, Senior Director: Stellenbosch University International; Mr Nico Elema, Manager: Centre for Collaboration in Africa (hosted within Stellenbosch University International); Dr Therina Theron, Senior Director: Division Research Development and Ms Norma Derby, Coordinator: Centre for Collaboration in Africa.
Picture: From left: Prof Hester Klopper, Prof Ernest Aryeety and Mr Nico Elema