New centre to drive academic collaboration between Australia and Africa
The new centre will provide research expertise in agriculture and food security to engender new policies that will improve technological uptake in African agriculture.
The University of Western Australia (UWA) has launched the Africa Research and Engagement Centre (AfREC) to drive ethical and innovative collaborations between Australia and Africa. The centre will leverage the knowledge, ideas and experiences of growing African-Australian communities.
The new centre, formally launched at the Australia-Africa Universities Network (AAUN) Annual Forum and Annual General Meeting on Monday, was established on July 13 in Perth, Australia, with the aim of developing and promoting research, teaching, training and other academic collaborations with UWA’s partners in Africa and Australia. The aim is to address mutual sustainable development challenges and responsibilities while strengthening wider Australia-Africa relations.
The AfREC, according to a statement by UWA, will work with multiple industries across a wide range of research disciplines including agriculture, mining, law, public policy, international development, environmental science, engineering, archaeology and heritage, population health, biological science, history and economics.
“AfREC will have a direct impact on society and policy through ongoing consultation with key stakeholders in academia, government, industry, the not-for-profit and community sectors,” said Dr David Mickler, the interim Director of the Centre. “Based in Perth, Australia’s ‘gateway’ with Africa across the India Ocean, the centre will enhance Australia-Africa relations by deepening research and education partnerships and creating new opportunities for engagement between the two continents.”
Mickler also stated that the establishment of AfREC builds on UWA’s engagement with Africa and African-Australian communities through its flagship institutes such as the Institute of Agriculture, Oceans Institute and Public Policy Institute.
The new centre will provide research expertise in agriculture and food security to engender new policies that will improve technological uptake in African agriculture. Similarly, it will oversee collaborative research, teaching and training programmes that will address development challenges in Africa.
AfREC will also enhance UWA’s active role in key international networks such as the AAUN, the Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group (WUN GAG), the Matariki Network and the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP).
The AAUN is a group of leading universities in Australia and Africa. It connects researchers and academics through institutional partnerships in order to address challenges facing both continents.
The African university-members include Makerere University, Uganda; University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of Ghana; University of Ibadan, Nigeria; University of Malawi; University of Mauritius; University of Nairobi; University of Zambia; and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
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