The University of York welcomed a delegation of senior University of Pretoria (UP) academics, including Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe and Vice-Principal: Research, Innovation, and Postgraduate Education Professor Sunil Maharaj, between 15 and 18 November 2022, to strengthen academic ties and explore common interests between the two universities.
Earlier this year, UP accepted an invitation to become a member of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a global community of like-minded universities who leverage partnerships and collaboration where York is a fellow member. UP and York colleagues had already enjoyed fruitful discussions with York throughout 2022 and this latest visit built on talks held in May and June in Lausanne at the WUN annual general meeting and at the University of York respectively.
Professor Andy Dougill, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at York, and Professor Frans Swanepoel, Director: International Strategic Partnership at UP, facilitate discussions between the leadership of both universities based on established ties with external higher education funders and areas of common interest.
University of York Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Charlie Jeffrey, describes York as a university for public good, built on the values of impact, inclusion and diversity – values that UP also stands for.
Prof Kupe noted that both York and UP have roles to play in higher education, saying, during his keynote that: “UP’s vision is to be an African university with global relevance and impact, and this cannot be done without strong international partners. York is a strong, like-minded institution with which we would like to develop a long-term relationship as a core partner under UP’s Africa Global University Project.”
In addition to critical and timely research in just transitions, climate change, and green energies, the visit followed-up on initial areas of interest identified by UP and York leadership. The universities also introduced additional areas of research collaborations in the political science and applied human rights, social sciences, computer science and (safe autonomy), engineering and technology, health sciences, and environment and geography fields.
Critical to the scope of research, the UP-York partnership will be driven by the faculties and their world-class researchers and teaching and learning teams. UP’s four transdisciplinary platforms; Engineering 4.0, Innovation Africa @UP, the Javett Art Centre, and the Future Africa platform, will play a significant role.
“Both institutions are aligned in the mission to increase access to education, to broaden pathways through embracing digital transformation,” Prof Maharaj said, adding that the universities seek to “form a long-term partnership that covers both discovery and applied research, innovative teaching and learning solutions, and most of all, ensuring that our activities are undertaken for impact in the real world.”