Joint Communique on African-UK Research Partnerships

Africa-UK research partnerships for development – a vision for future success

March 2021

Authors: M. Flint-O’Kane, E. Abbey, J. Tager, J. Williams, S. Marillier, L. Oberlander, L. Shackleton, F. Swanepoel


Now more than ever, we see the importance of equitable international research collaboration as a foundation for building a stronger, more equitable global society.

In the face of challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the social instability created by inequality, collaboration among the global research community can drive the innovation required for a sustainable future.

In this communique, we set out a vision for strengthening UK-African research partnerships, by building individual and institutional capacity, creating a supportive environment for researchers to thrive and grow, coordinating and aligning funding programmes and maximising research impact by enhancing networks and partnerships beyond academia.

It is a call to action for all those working in the international research and innovation community and beyond, and a timely reminder of what can be achieved through sustainable UK-Africa research partnerships.

Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Chair of the ARUA Board and member of ACU Council

ARUA Annual Report 2020

The year began with a lot of promise for ARUA. There was rapidly growing interest around the world in what ARUA was doing to enhance the performance of African research universities, both in the region and globally. The network was set to build on various initiatives from the previous year, which had led to significant agreements and collaborations with leading global research and funding organisations. It was this growing worldwide interest in ARUA that led us to begin working closely with the Guild of European Research Universities, and to collaborate in the mobilisation of resources to support research and innovation in partnership with the European Union and the African Union.

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Vaccine inequities expose fault lines in North-South collaboration

Ernest Aryeetey, Eivind Engebretsen, Åse Gornitzka, Peter Maassen and Svein Stølen  

The gigantic global scientific efforts to develop a vaccine to mitigate the devastating impact of COVID-19 on societies have reached a point where the mass production and use of effective vaccines are a reality. But, in the subsequent race that is unfolding to produce and purchase vaccines, the gross global inequalities in the access to vaccinations, as well as in the science that makes that possible, have been exposed.

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Recommendations for Strengthening African Research Universities

The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and The Guild of European Research- Intensive Universities (The Guild) jointly re-quest investing €1bn per annum in African re-search universities by the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) as part of the re-newed Africa-EU partnership. This is necessary to address the profound demographic, social and environmental changes facing both conti-nents. Investing in research and innovation would have a significant impact in addressing these challenges in both continents.

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