Last week (2–3 October), representatives of seven Swedish and 22 South African universities met at the University of Pretoria in South Africa to plan the contents of the internationalisation project South Africa–Sweden University Forum. This forum is coordinated by Uppsala University and is a cooperation project that will bring together researchers and other actors from Sweden and South Africa through activities in both countries from 2018 to 2020. The project has a budget of approximately SEK 18 million, with the funding coming from both countries via STINT (the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education), the participating Swedish universities and the National Research Foundation and Department of Higher Education and Training in South Africa. Apart from Uppsala University, the Swedish universities participating are Lund University, the University of Gothenburg, Karlstad University, Umeå University, Malmö University and University West.
During the meeting, the participants formulated research challenges that are common to both countries in preparation for the South Africa–Sweden Research & Innovation Week that will take place in Pretoria on 14–18 May 2018. The meeting was opened by Karin Hernmarck Ahliny, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria. The participants in the discussions were deputy vice-chancellors, researchers and internationalisation officers from universities in both countries. During the Research & Innovation Week in May 2018, Swedish and South African researchers, research funding bodies, business representatives and senior university officers will meet in research seminars, guest lectures, workshops and network meetings with other actors in society.
Researchers at Uppsala University will be able to seek funding to participate in the various activities under the following six challenges:
- Climate change, natural resources and sustainability
- Transforming higher education curricula: the nexus between academia and society
- Social transformation through change: knowledge and social development strategies for society
- Understanding the burden of disease in Sweden and South Africa and its impact on the health systems of the two countries in future
- Urbanisation and cities in the 21st Century
- Digital technologies, big data and cybersecurity
The participants from Uppsala University were Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation Leif Kirsebom, Ashleigh Harris from the Department of English, and Erika Dabhilkar, Gustaf Cars and Erika Andersson from the International Office. For more information about the project and cooperation with South Africa, please contact Project Manager Gustaf Cars at the International Office, Gustaf.firstname.lastname@example.org.