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Stellenbosch University and the University of Groningen strengthen their strategic partnership
Author: Compiled in collaboration with Prof Vasti Roodt, Alison April, Anita Veldtmaat and Sarah Van der Westhuize
Published: 19/04/2024

​​​From 7 to 12 April 2024, a delegation from Stellenbosch University (SU) visited the University of Groningen (UG) to strengthen the two institutions' strategic and comprehensive partnership. The SU delegation, comprising the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, three deputy vice-chancellors, deans and senior faculty, participated in a series of plenary sessions, individual and group meetings, and visits to UG's various cutting-edge research facilities.

The week featured intense discussions on academic leadership in turbulent times as well as responsible internationalisation, framing the next phase of collaboration between the two universities. A major success of the SU-UG partnership, the high number of joint PhD students, was celebrated with presentations by current students and reflections by UG supervisors on their experiences.

One of the highlights of the week was a dinner hosted at UG's Energy Academy, which aims to foster transdisciplinary collaboration through public-private-academic partnerships. Discussions at the dinner centred on the three themes of energy transitions, digital transformation, and biomedical solutions, being key areas of cooperation between SU and UG.

The visit further focused on collaboration between the two institutions' transdisciplinary schools, developing research and science capacities, educational innovation and leadership, co-appointments of academic staff, fundraising, information governance, and institutional planning and policy alignment.

Apart from the strong bilateral collaboration between SU and UG, the two institutions also work together through multilateral networks, notably the recently established Africa-Europe Clusters of Research Excellence (CoRE) – an initiative of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities. Cooperation in the CoRE on Renewable Energy was a particular focus throughout the week's proceedings.

The visit also served the important purpose of developing concrete plans for the future. These include specific joint funding applications, scaling up the joint PhD programme, establishing a joint SU-UG Graduate School and project office, and ambitious 'moonshot' projects to address global challenges through public-private-academic partnerships.

Following the visit, SU and UG issued a joint statement​ that summarises the outcomes and future directions of their collaboration.

Next steps include a series of follow-up engagements over the coming month to set clear targets and finalise plans. Additionally, upcoming activities through the SU-UG partnership include:

SU Partner Institutions (

​The article have been compiled in collaboration with Prof Vasti Roodt, Alison April and Anita Veldtmaat.