Edinburgh Global

Principal’s African Partnership Fund: One year on

One year on from the launch of the Principal’s African Partnership Fund, Edinburgh is about to embark on a series of collaborative events in Ghana and Zimbabwe.

Group photo of Principal Sir Peter Mathieson's visit to Ghana in March 2023

These upcoming events will bring academics, students, pan-African institutions, and policy leaders from across the continent together to participate in workshop and debate on crucial subjects such as climate change and sustainability. They will be led by African researchers and thinkers, with a crucial emphasis on the decolonial perspective.

Promoting diverse viewpoints

Supported by the Fund, Edinburgh has made a multiyear commitment towards making collaborative, innovative and impactful contributions to the African education and research landscape.

The planned events seek to recognise the importance of diverse viewpoints in academia; to incorporate a decolonial perspective into research partnerships; to enhance the skillsets of researchers; promoting academic leadership and ensuring that African voices are heard globally.

This work echoes and complements the values and approach of the University’s Review of Race and History work, ensuring all collaborations are rooted, needed and sustainable.

Collaborations are the order of the day if scientists are to find solutions to the many complex challenges facing the world. However, what is unique about this partnership is that it is Africa-centric with a focus defined by Africans for Africa in search of social justice for development. That is a historic first in a new dawn.

Professor Felix Dapare DakoraPast president of the African Academy of Sciences

Key upcoming events:

‘Africa Must Decolonise to Effectively Address the Scourge of Climate Change’

As part of Ghana’s 67th Independence Day anniversary, the Advanced Higher Education National Independence Debate will take place in Ghana.

This structured public forum-style event will focus on articulating the youth perspective on the intersections of decolonisation, climate change and sustainable development.

This innovative approach to engaging the youth in critical discussions aligns with the University’s commitment to fostering a new generation of leaders who are well-informed and actively involved in shaping the future.

Representatives from four of Ghana’s top universities, including the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast, and the University of Development Studies, will participate.

Knowledge grounded in African contexts

Empowering African Researchers - Workshop in Harare, from 11-15 March

An academic writing workshop will take place to enhance the skillsets of early career African researchers.

It is a practical step towards ensuring that African voices are heard globally. The immediate outcome of the workshop will be submission of manuscripts by all participants and the overall outcome will be the acceptance / publication of manuscripts submitted by participants within one year from date of submission.

By enhancing researchers' skills and supporting the publication of their work, the University is helping spread knowledge that is grounded in African contexts.

‘Responsive Engagement and Academic Leadership’ - workshop

The ‘Responsive Engagement and Academic Leadership’ workshop will take place in Accra on 4-5 March 2024 and will bring together academics, pan-African institutions, and policy leaders from across the continent.

The goal is to promote co-creation and co-learning that transcends conventional disciplinary boundaries, fostering a holistic approach to research partnerships.

The workshop places a strong emphasis on incorporating a decolonial perspective into research partnerships, recognising the importance of diverse viewpoints in academia.

It aims to empower African researchers and thinkers to lead the debate, ensuring that it is rooted in the unique experiences and challenges faced on the continent.

I am delighted and excited that we are launching these new collaborations. We hope that by pump-priming these projects, and that by listening and reflecting, we generate truly sustainable, impactful, and transformational new ways of working, shaped by African partners – to the benefit of all.

Professor James SmithVice Principal International at the University of Edinburgh

About the Principal’s African Partnership Fund: A multi-year commitment

In March 2023, during a visit to Ghana, the Principal, Professor Sir Peter Mathieson announced the establishment of the Principal’s African Partnership Fund.

This multi-year commitment is geared towards exploring innovative educational opportunities for African students and fostering a more responsive approach to research partnerships across the continent.

By aligning with the University’s three strategic research priorities—Health and Care, Harnessing data, digital, and AI, and Climate and Sustainability—the fund positions itself at the forefront of innovations in healthcare, developing and utilising new technology and tackling the climate and environmental crisis.

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