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Stellenbosch University and the University of Groningen strengthen their strategic partnership

15 May 2024
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From 7 to 12 April, 2024, a delegation from Stellenbosch University (SU) visited the University of Groningen (UG) to strengthen their strategic and comprehensive partnership. The SU delegation, comprising the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, three Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Deans and senior faculty, participated in a series of plenary sessions, individual and group meetings, and visits to UG's various cutting-edge research facilities.

The week featured intense discussions on "Academic Leadership in Turbulent Times" and "Responsible Internationalization," framing the next phase of collaboration between the two institutions. A major success of the partnership, the high number of joint PhD students, was celebrated with presentations by current students and reflections by supervisors on their experiences.

One of the highlights of the week was the working dinner hosted at UG’s Energy Academy, aimed at fostering transdisciplinary collaboration through public-private-academic partnerships. Discussions before and during the dinner between representatives from business, government and academia centred around three main themes – energy transitions, digital transformation, and biomedical solutions – reflecting key areas of cooperation between SU and UG.

The visit further focused on collaboration between the SU and UG interdisciplinary schools, developing research and science capacities, educational innovation and leadership, co-appointments of academic staff, fundraising, information governance and institutional planning, and policy alignment.

Apart from the strong bilateral collaboration between SU and UG, the two institutions also collaborate through multilateral networks, notably the recently established Africa-Europe Clusters of Research Excellence (CoREs) – an initiative of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities. Cooperation within the CoRE in Renewable Energy was a particular focus throughout the week.

The visit served the important purpose of developing concrete plans for the future. These include specific joint funding applications, scaling up the joint PhD programme, establishing a joint SU-UG Postgraduate School and project office, and ambitious “Moonshot” projects to address global challenges through public-private-academic partnerships.

Following the visit, SU and UG issued a joint statement, summarising the outcomes and future directions of their collaboration.

Next steps include a series of follow-up engagements over the coming month to set clear targets and finalise plans. Additionally, upcoming activities through the SU-UG partnership include:

  • A summer school on Polarisation, which forms part of a pilot project to eventually develop the summer school into a minor at both SU and UG;
  • The 7th edition of a very successful rotating summer school on Financial Inclusion, coordinated by SU, UG and the University of Laval;

More information

  • Stellenbosch University: Sarah van der Westhuizen
Last modified:15 May 2024 2.53 p.m.
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