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Robert Lensink co-head of new Africa-Europe research cluster that addresses inequality, poverty and deprivation

21 July 2023
Vice dean research Robert Lensink
Vice dean research Robert Lensink

Professor Robert Lensink, vice-dean research at the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), will lead the new Africa-Europe Cluster of Research Excellence in Inequalities, Poverty and Deprivation (CoRE IPD) together with professor Murray Leibbrandt (University of Cape Town, South Africa), who is the director of the African Centre of Excellence for Inequality Research (ACEIR). This research cluster is one of the 17 clusters launched by the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities (The Guild) to pioneer a new approach to collaboration and capacity building.

Other partners in the Africa-Europe Cluster of Research Excellence in Inequalities, Poverty and Deprivation (CoRE IPD) are the universities of Aarhus, Ghana, Göttingen and Nairobi. CoRE IPD aims to grow indigenous African research capacity with a work programme that addresses the (multidimensional) inequalities that are targeted in several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and which intersect with and perpetuate poverty and deprivation. The key scientific challenge that this cluster will focus on is how to reduce inequality in such a way that it reduces poverty and deprivation in Africa. The continent has the largest interregional differences in inequality in the world, with southern African countries amongst the most unequal globally. This challenge is a common thread running through almost all the SDGs.

Six interdisciplinary themes

The CoRE IPD has identified six interdisciplinary themes to direct its focus, namely: 1. historical determinants of inequality; 2. structural change, employment, and inequality; 3. agricultural development, food and nutrition security, and inequality; 4. climate change, migration, social cohesion, and equity within societies; 5. health inequalities; and 6. financial inclusion and inequality. Within each theme, the research cluster will give specific attention to understanding the situations of women and youth and the possibilities for their sustainable futures.

Impactful and innovative joint research

The cluster differs fundamentally from conventional research cooperations, as the mutual commitments to long-term cooperation provide opportunities for a longitudinal approach to building research and teaching capacities. The six universities that constitute the CoRE IPD have all pledged to leveraging institutional excellence into an impactful and innovative joint research program, graduate training, and broader capacity building. All this will eventually create a program at a scale that does not yet exist. “We also aim to develop joint Master’s and PhD programs, as well as training programs for policymakers, civil society, and business enterprises”, Lensink adds.

CoRE IPD will be supported by the University of Groningen’s Rudolf Agricola School for Sustainable Development and its Department of International Strategy and Relations (ISR). At FEB, CoRE IPD strongly relates to the Groningen Growth and Development Centre (GGDC) and the faculty’s interdisciplinary theme ‘Future Prosperity and Sustainability’.

Questions? Please contact Robert Lensink.

Last modified:20 July 2023 4.37 p.m.

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