Strengthening Africa’s Research, Innovation and Higher Education Capacity

The University of Glasgow has strong links with Africa, and over the last few years has also enjoyed a close relationship with the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) network.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli and Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary General of ARUA, signing MoU, February 2020.

Through its membership of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities (“The Guild”), Glasgow has also been in a strong position to influence the recent joint publication by both networks on a new approach to strengthening Africa’s research, innovation and higher education capacity.

The statement calls for sustainable investment in African knowledge societies by creating Centres of Excellence to confront common challenges for both continents as identified by the African Union and the European Union, such as public health; the Green Deal, the Blue Economy and energy transitions; digital transformations; good governance, peace and security, and; migration, mobility and overcoming discrimination.

Capacity strengthening in Africa is an issue that the University is keenly invested in, and back in February this year we hosted a symposium on capacity strengthening in Africa, with key contributions from ARUA as well as other Scottish universities, government bodies, funders and partner countries.

"Transforming Africa through research and innovation will require strong and effective partnerships."

The symposium provided an opportunity to showcase some of the fantastic work that we’re leading on and to explore what more can be done in this area.

Professor Paul Garside, Dean of Global Engagement for the Middle East and Africa, and colleagues who are leading on the University’s extensive work in Africa saw the event as an opportunity for meaningful discussion about the key components of capacity building and hearing from the perspectives of key representatives from African universities.

During the symposium, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed by our Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, and Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary General of ARUA. Professor Aryeetey highlights the importance of partnership working: “ARUA is driven by a strong commitment to partnerships and collaboration. Transforming Africa through research and innovation will require strong and effective partnerships, such as the one ARUA has developed with University of Glasgow and The Guild. It is a partnership built on mutual respect and shared values in higher education”.

Vice-Principal, External Relations, Rachel Sandison, who became a Guild board member in June, said: “I think this is a really important time for Glasgow to lead the conversation in terms of what the key priorities and obstacles are for capacity strengthening, how higher education providers, networks, governments and funders play a role in that, and what the scope is for knowledge exchange and capacity strengthening – not only in terms of academic work but also in professional areas within higher education provision.”

First published July 2020.