Launch of African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)
17 March 2015
An initiative pulling together funding from 15 African universities to train postgraduate students and do research was launched at the African Higher Education Summit in Senegal last week.
Universities involved in the African Research Universities Alliance will jointly supervise doctoral students and boost its members’ research management practices. Six of the universities are from South Africa and three are Nigerian, while Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda have one participating university each.
ARUA’s first activity is to organise a symposium for doctoral students to share their research and training programmes for research managers to upgrade their skills.
The pooling of resources will “build indigenous research excellence”, says Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and a member of ARUA’s executive committee. “This is an opportunity for Africans to thrive and to contribute towards finding the solutions to the complex problems facing the development of our continent today and in the future,” he said in a statement.
The initiative’s partners will also source international funding to complement their resources, says Shirona Patel, communication manager for Wits University. “It is important to have centralised resources on the continent to strengthen research and create opportunities for more collaborative projects to try and address Africa’s challenges,” she says. Through ARUA, she notes, postgraduate supervisors can collaborate across borders, funds can be pooled to buy expensive research equipment, and funding agencies can communicate through a central structure.