The University of Groningen (UG) has identified Stellenbosch University (SU) as a strategic partner, and Stellenbosch University has included the University of Groningen in its Comprehensive Partnership Portfolio. Over the last two years, the two universities have been working together to intentionally expand their strategic partnership.
On 1 and 2 December a delegation from the University of Groningen visited Stellenbosch University. The delegation was led by Prof. Jouke de Vries, President of the University of Groningen; the delegation consisted of more than ten academic and pass staff members. During the two days, counterparts from UG and SU had the opportunity to engage with one another and to discuss areas of collaboration to further strengthen the partnership between the two universities.
|At Stellenbosch University, a comprehensive partnership is defined as:|
- All-inclusive (open to all faculties).
- Wide-ranging in terms of features and activities.
- Aspires to be consequential in terms of impact and transformation at both partners in the following ways:
- Alignment with SU’s Five Strategic Research Areas and the associated SDGs
- Role in international knowledge diplomacy
- Potential for facilitating a transformative staff or student experience
- Containing provisions for collaborative degree programmes, especially those on postgraduate level
- Potential for bilateral activities resulting from shared membership of multi-lateral networks and consortia (e.g., SSUN, AC21, ARUA, GAUC)
- For Africa partnerships specifically, emerging scholars’ development initiatives
- Building partnership capital
- Focus on “in service of society”
The programme for the two days were broken up into various sessions: Strategic overview sessions, general information sessions and meetings between the respective academic thematic groups. The topics that were discussed, included: The nature of a strategic partnership from the perspective of the respective universities, interdisciplinarity at the respective universities focusing on trans-disciplinary schools, learning and research, postdoctoral programmes, joint collaborative academic programmes, and funding strategies.
One of the goals of the visit was to evaluate the outcomes achieved of the partnership up until now. The partnership has seven key objectives: Joint PhD programmes, joint postdoctoral fellows, non-degree student mobility, applying for external funding, academic matchmaking, sharing best practices in terms of educational innovation and partnership visibility. At the end of the two days various action points were identified which will guide the next steps in terms of the above key objectives and the partnership.
On the evening of 1 December, the book, Advanced Introduction to Financial Inclusion, was launched at the Stellenbosch Business School. The book is co-authored by Prof Charles Adjasi, Prof Robert Lensink and Calumn Hamilton. The book launch was an opportunity to feature the collaborative research done by UG and SU academic staff members and give further visibility to the partnership.
To formally reconfirm the commitment between the two universities, a new comprehensive student exchange agreement was signed on the first day of the delegation visit, as well as a framework for the joint supervision and awarding of a joint doctoral degree (PhD).
If you are interested to find out more about opportunities to become involved in the partnership between UG and SU, please reach out to Anita Veltmaat (UG) and Sarah van der Westhuizen (SU).