Africa-Europe centers of excellence in research total 20

by MMC
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EUROPE-AFRICA

Three new Africa-Europe Centers of Research Excellence (CoRE) have been launched by the Alliance of African Research Universities (ARUA) and the Guild of European Research Intensive Universities (the guild) on September 25, bringing the total to 20.

This follows the launch of First 17 clusters in June.

Each of the clusters links several African and European universities in a multilateral manner to collaborate on a thematic area of ​​common interest, addressing major scientific challenges through interdisciplinary research and higher education that leverages the skills and excellence of the participating institutions .

The CoRE initiative has now grown and involves more than 250 researchers in 60 universities and research institutes or centers on both continents.

AU-EU Innovation Program

In their statement this week, ARAU and the Guild said the new clusters are a “direct response to the official launch of the joint partnership”. Innovation program of the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU), which recognized the importance of research and education – including in the social sciences and humanities – to achieve the EU’s objectives . Global Gateway strategy and that of the AU Agenda 2063“.

The AU and EU adopted the final version of their joint innovation agenda in July. It “will represent the pillar of cooperation in science, technology and innovation between Africa and Europe for the next decade,” the European Commission declared in a press release.

Global Gateway

The joint innovation agenda is supported by the EU’s Global Gateway, a strategy to strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. It commits EU institutions and member states to jointly mobilize up to €300 billion ($318 billion) in investments between 2023 and 2027 for high-quality, sustainable projects.

The first of the Global Gateway initiatives to be launched was the €150 billion funding Africa-Europe Investment Program. This was announced in 2022 and aims to help Africa achieve “strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation”, focusing on sustainable investments in key areas, ranging from infrastructure and health to education and the environment.

“In this particular period, when the European discourse on Africa is increasingly dominated by migration and crisis, it is more crucial than ever to show that Europeans and Africans can only progress by rising together our common challenges, in a true partnership”, declared the secretary of the Guild. said Professor General Jan Palmowski in a statement this week.

The CoRE initiative is “based on the ambition to create equitable research partnerships, to pool expertise between academics and institutions from two continents and to create a research agenda that is focused on society and not on donors,” he said. News from the academic world.

The three new clusters “significantly broaden the societal reach of our initiative, focusing on areas that are often less in the crosshairs of funders supporting research in Africa, and yet each of them will make a critical and lasting contribution to global science and will strengthen the societal reach of our initiative. academic collaboration within and between Europe and Africa,” he added.

New centers of research excellence

The new CoRE on “Creative Economies: Cultures, Innovation and Sustainability” aims to support the development of more equitable, innovative and sustainable “creative economies” – a notion that has been described as the “missing pillar” of sustainable development, according to Palmowski. .

“Creative economies” are a sector recognized for its potential to contribute up to 10% of global GDP by 2030, ARUA and the Guild said in their statement.

Co-directed by Professor Duro Oni of University of Lagos in Nigeria, Professor Jen Snowball of Rhodes University in South Africa, and Professor Roberta Comunian and Dr Eka Ikpe from King’s College London in the UK, the cluster brings together cultural policy organizations and academic researchers from across Africa and Europe.

According to Snowball, this cluster will examine the transformative potential of cultural and creative economies.

“We want to identify, empower and protect the value of creativity for inclusive and sustainable growth and development,” she said. News from the academic world.

Researchers will focus on three main themes: sustainable and inclusive business models and markets for the creative industries; technology and innovation as well as the protection and development of cultural and creative producers; and development models that take into account heritage, communities and socio-cultural value.

In the new CoRE “Engineering for the Future”, researchers co-led by Professor Wynand Steyn from University of Pretoria (UP) in South Africa, and Professor Barbara Shollock from the king of college will establish an engineering education and research ecosystem to train future engineers to play a key role in mitigating complex challenges, including climate change and food security.

With a clear focus on AU Agenda 2063, this CoRE is deeply committed to collaboration with government and industry, ARUA and the Guild said in their statement.

In the new CoRE “Politics of Sustainable Development: Squaring the Circle of Science and Democracy,” researchers from the social sciences and humanities, as well as the natural sciences and law, will collaborate to uncover the nature of policy around sustainable development, how it affects political discourse and decisions, and how these are contested.

This cluster seeks to provide “a completely new understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals, asking who wins and who loses,” Palmowski said. News from the academic world.

Researchers led by Dr. Heide Hackmann from UP and Professor Dan Banik from University of Oslo in Norway will also develop innovative doctoral programs, focused on leadership for sustainable societal transformation.

New opportunity

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary General of ARUA, noted at the launch that “these three additional clusters are a good indication of CoRE’s ambition to showcase a more diverse portfolio of academic disciplines.”

He said: “They further integrate the social sciences and humanities and offer the possibility of greater interdisciplinarity in the work of our institutions. They reflect an essential break with the status quo in many institutions and a desire to be more creative and innovative. CoRE offers African and European universities a new opportunity to confront the challenges of our time differently and in a more focused way.

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