Sii at heart of research excellence clusters

Published: 29 June 2023

The School of Infection & Immunity is proud to be at the heart of three clusters of research excellence formed by partners across Africa and Europe and established by ARUA and The Guild.

A group of dignitaries stood in front of a yellow wall and an EU Commission logo

The University of Glasgow joins partners from across Africa and Europe in the formation of vital new Clusters of Research Excellence, established by the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities (The Guild).

These sustained partnerships aim to transform the nature of collaborative research and bring about positive, long-lasting change to common societal challenges.

The School of Infection & Immunity is proud to be at the heart of three of these clusters:

Africa-Europe CoRE for Advanced Infectious Diseases Research and Training

Professor Andy Waters, Head of the School of Infection and Immunity, and Dr Lilach Sheiner, Deputy Head of Parasitology, will co-lead this ARUA-The Guild Cluster of Excellence on behalf of the University of Glasgow.

Working in partnership with fellow co-leads, Professors Gordon Awandare, the University of Ghana, and Professor Steffen Borrmann, the University of Tübingen, Germany, as well as a host of other partners, this project will tackle some of the biggest global challenges posed by infectious diseases, while also ensuring an equitable working partnership model between researchers in Africa and Europe.

The Advanced Infectious Diseases Cluster will seek to better understand the fundamental biology of infections that are endemic in Africa and cause millions of deaths each year – in order to inform drug discovery and development as well as develop control and eradication programs. This Cluster will bring together a team of interdisciplinary experts from around Africa and Europe, to ensure scientific progress while also breaking down barriers for African-based infectious disease experts, who often face limited access to cutting-edge technologies.

Prof Waters, Dr Sheiner, Prof Maffia, and Prof Byron in a quartered square of four profile images

Africa-Europe CoRE in Non-Communicable Diseases and Multimorbidity

Professor Pasquale Maffia, Professor of Cardiovascular Immunology at the School of Infection & Immunity will co-lead this Africa-Europe CoRE on behalf of the University of Glasgow.

The Cluster is co-led in collaboration with six African and European research partners: the University of Nairobi, Kenya, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal, the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, the University of Cape Town, South Africa, the Université Paris Cité, France, and Jagiellonian University, Poland.

The Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Multimorbidity Cluster aims to address the growing burden of NCDs – such as cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory disorders – and their co-morbidities in African nations, where they are the leading cause of death. The Cluster's goal is to improve the health and well-being of populations in Africa by using a multidisciplinary approach to develop innovative and place-specific solutions for the study, prevention and management of a range of NCDs and their co-morbidities.

Africa-Europe CoRE for Genomics for Health in Africa

Professor Olwyn Byron, Professor of Biophysics at the School of Infection & Immunity is a partner on this Africa-Europe CoRE. Co-led by Stellenbosch University, South Africa, the University of Tübingen, Germany, and the University of Bern, Switzerland, this Cluster aims to leverage the potential of genomics to revolutionise healthcare in Africa.

Although genomics can provide a better understanding of major health concerns such as rare diseases, cancers, and infections, it remains under-utilised in Africa due to insufficient infrastructure, resources and scientific capacity across the continent. Working collaboratively, this Cluster aims to build capacity for genomics work in African nations, so it can be used as a fundamental tool to revolutionise public healthcare for both infectious and rare non-communicable diseases.

The Clusters will help ensure that a common research agenda is at the heart of the African Union’s Africa 2063 strategy, which envisages Africa’s transformation to a knowledge society; and also strengthen the capacity of research and innovation to make a major contribution to each priority of the European Union’s Global Gateway.

First published: 29 June 2023