AfREC Discusses Collaboration with Leading European African Studies Centre


On 10 February 2020, AfREC Fellows and the UWA Global Engagement Office met at UWA with a visiting delegation from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, which houses one of Europe’s leading African Studies programs. The meeting was with Dr Arnim Heinemann, Director, Bayreuth International Office, and Dr Irina Herrschner, Manager, Bayreuth Gateway office Melbourne, and separately via Skype with Prof. Cyrus Samimi, Director, Bayreuth Institute of African Studies (IAS), to discuss potential research and education collaboration between Bayreuth, UWA and other Australian and African university partners.

The University of Bayreuth (UBT) is a research-orientated public university. UBT was founded in 1975 as a campus university focusing on international collaboration and interdisciplinarity. The mission of the university focuses on furthering interdisciplinary research and science as well as profile creation and the development of interdisciplinary subjects. UBT has a tightly knit network of strategically selected international partner universities and research project partnerships. The research programs and offered courses encompass nature and engineering sciences, law and economics studies as well as language, literature and culture studies which are constantly being developed. Several undergraduate and graduate study programs as well as numerous individual courses and seminars are offered in English. Research and PhD programs as well as UBT’s international summer programs are conducted in English in general. UBT has defined the following focal areas in research: Nonlinear Dynamics, Polymer and Colloid Science, Molecular Biosciences, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, New Materials, African Studies, High Pressure and High Temperature Research, Cross-cultural Comparison and Intercultural Processes, Innovation and Consumer Protection, Food and Health Sciences, Energy Research and Energy Technology and Governance and Responsibility. UBT is a member of the Elite Network of Bavaria (Elitenetzwerk Bayern), an educational policy concept of Bavaria for the promotion of gifted pupils and students in the higher education sector.

The Institute for African Studies (IAS) promotes and coordinates Africa studies from 12 curricular groups of the University of Bayreuth, which are distributed over all six faculties. This broad curricular spectrum of scientific studies of Africa is one of a kind worldwide. To this IAS coordinates research and teaching and the training of scientific young talents and promotes the exchange of information with persons and institutions which teach and research in- or about Africa.

The Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS) is now part of the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence funded by the German Research Foundation in the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the German Federal and State Governments. In the focus of this unique structure of creative and innovative training are approximately 80 Junior Fellows from 24 African, American, Asian and European countries. The doctoral students benefit from a clearly structured, academic and career-oriented training as well as a genuine expertise in the African studies which has increased continuously since the foundation of the University of Bayreuth. The international network with Partner Universities on the African continent creates even more so excellent conditions for the research of our Junior Fellows.

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