20 September 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Universities need new funding models and African donors
Faced with donor fatigue and declining public funding, universities across Sub-Saharan Africa should search for new models of financing specific initiatives such as hubs for research and innovation. One proposal from higher education experts gathered in Nairobi recently was to tap Africa’s growing number of billionaires.
Research – Creative responses in a hostile environment
“When the students are at the gate, it’s too late for polite discussion. We need a realistic acknowledgement of what we confront,” said Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor at a recent Research and Innovation Dialogue. Challenges to research were laid bare and hard decisions made – including the need for universities to specialise.
Learning lessons abroad on funding research, innovation
“In South Africa universities contribute 2.1% of gross domestic product – more than textiles and forestry – and they employ 300,000 people which puts them on a par with the mining industry.” Such comparisons could change perceptions of the sector as it strives to boost international competitiveness in research and innovation, says Professor Anastassios Pouris.
Nelson Mandela as an exemplar of lifelong learning
A study of Nelson Mandela’s educational experiences has revealed the global icon to be an exemplar of lifelong learning. Research by Dr Peter Rule of the school of education at South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal shows “deep fascination with education and learning”.
Massaging global models to predict local climate impact
Strapped by a lack of knowledge generation in Africa, researchers are using global paradigms from the north to study climate and other environmental change. “We take northern models and massage them – often beat them – to make them fit and try to trust the answers that come out,” says South African hydrologist Professor Graham Jewitt.
Universities tackle climate change threats
Based on the recent global assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in the next six years 200 million people in Africa will be exposed to a scarcity of clean water because of the impacts of climate change. During the same period, agricultural production from rain-fed farming will drop by 50% while the prevalence of malaria will increase by 5% to 7% by the end of the 21st century. Between 25% and 40% of mammal species in national parks in Sub-Saharan Africa will become endangered.
Galvanising the world’s universities to tackle change
The stark reality of global vulnerability to the vagaries of climate change presented by higher temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and frequent weather-related disasters and conflicts has prompted the United Nations Environment Programme to rope in universities and scientists in search of environmental sustainability solutions.
Making climate change research count
The African Climate and Development Initiative is one of Africa’s biggest university-based climate change efforts. The three-year-old initiative at the University of Cape Town gathers together more than 100 academics from across disciplines to conduct research, train postgraduates and engage the community around climate and development issues.
Universities are tackling climate change with zest
On a planet and a continent increasingly aware of its eco-frailty, South African universities are ramping up their green initiatives and sustainability efforts. ‘Green’ campuses are being established, climate change research features at nearly all institutions and numerous student groups are joining the fight to conserve and protect their environment and the wider world.
Boosting university's role in tackling climate change
To counter the negative impact of climate change in North Africa, several higher education initiatives and scientific programmes are producing scientific workforces with the required skills, as well as carrying out research for promoting renewable energy for sustainable development.
Arab states lag behind in ‘green’ campuses
The Arab world has been late to join the ‘green’ universities movement, which strives for lower emissions and less water consumption. Only 12 out of about 500 universities implement environmentally friendly policies and programmes to reduce their carbon emissions and help to combat global climate change.
New fellowships to tackle Africa’s growing cancer burden
The increasing cancer burden in Africa has prompted efforts in higher education to tackle a scarcity of oncologists. This month sees the launch of a fellowship initiative by the University of Nairobi and German-based pharmaceutical Merck Group, to train experts across Africa.
Shocking lack of experts to tackle rising cancer burden
Cancer has become one of the most serious disease burdens choking Africa’s fragile and inadequate health infrastructure. While health systems are poorly equipped to deal with a rising number of cases, most shocking is the lack of cancer experts to conduct research, diagnosis, prevention and treatment across the vast continent.