The Board of the African Research Universities Alliance, made up of Vice Chancellors from member universities, held two days of annual meeting at University of Cape Town on 3-4 November 2022.
The meeting brought the members together for the first time in three years, following the recent pandemic. The first day of the meeting was devoted to the regular business of the Alliance, at which the members discussed the performance of the Network over the past year. The meeting also discussed progress being made on the ARUA Strategic Plan 2022-2027, especially noting that several member universities were in the process of reviewing their own plans and making them reflect the broader network vision and strategy. The meeting also took the decision to create seven new Centres of Excellence to bring the total number of ARUA Centres of Excellence to 20. In siting these new Centres, preference would be given to Universities that did not already have such a Centre. Another major decision taken at the meeting was the readmission of Obafemi Awolowo University to membership.
At the end of the first day of meeting, ARUA launched its flagship Profiles Report which sheds light on how each of the member universities has performed in the area of students, staff, funding and research. The launch was done by the Vice Chancellor of University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli.
ARUA also hosted a gala dinner for over 150 people to celebrate the launch of its Profiles Report. At the dinner, Dr Mamphela Ramphele delivered a speech on the theme “African Wisdom and Thought Leadership – Opportunities for African Universities”, which was very well received by the audience.
The second day of the meeting saw the ARUA Vice Chancellors being joined by their colleagues from The Guild of European Research-intensive Universities (The Guild). This was the first time that Vice Chancellors from ARUA were meeting with the Presidents/Rectors/ Principals of The Guild. The two networks, which have been working together since 2019, agreed to intensify their relationship through collaboration with a focus on the AU-EU Innovation Agenda. They agreed to develop Clusters of Excellence which will provide opportunities for European and African researchers to do joint research and pursue enhanced graduate training, including at the Master’s and Doctoral levels. The collaboration will be in the areas of Public Health, Green Transition, Innovation and Technology and Capacities for Science. These are areas described as priority and negotiated between European and African Ministers responsible for research earlier. The meeting was addressed by Maria Cristina Russo, Director for Global Approach and International Partnerships at the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission.
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