AfREC builds research collaboration through international networks

International research networks have been an important mechanism through which AfREC has built collaborations across Africa and the globe. Below, we highlight updates from four of AfREC’s key international networks for developing Africa-related collaborations: the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU), the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN), and the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP).

Worldwide Universities Network

WUN is a leading global higher education and research network made up of 23 universities, spanning 13 countries on six continents. The most talented researchers and educators are ever more dispersed globally. Capitalizing on this, WUN brings together major universities that sit in widely diverse geographical and cultural contexts, and which in partnership provide an unparalleled richness of talent and resources that are brought to bear on major research problems. Through its Research Development Fund WUN provides support to establish collaborative research that falls within four globally significant themes:

Within each of these major Global Challenge areas, collaborating researchers from partner universities are at work on a range of focused problems.

From 2016-18, UWA (and through it, AfREC) Co-Chaired the WUN Global Africa Group (GAG) with the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The other African WUN member universities are the University of Nairobi and the University of Ghana. Following a series of collaborative projects and workshops in Accra, Cape Town and Nairobi, and a public forum at UWA in May 2018 on ‘Africa and Sustainable Development Agendas’, GAG was invited to present its work as one of seven “WUN Success Stories” at the WUN Annual Conference & AGM held in Dublin from 19-24 May 2019. The GAG presentation can be viewed here.

Matariki Network of Universities

MNU is an international group of leading, like-minded universities, each amongst the most historic in its own country, and recognised as being:

• A premier place of advanced learning, nationally and internationally; • Research-intensive across a broad subject base; • Focused on providing a high-quality student experience; • Flexible, modern, innovative, comprehensive and globally-orientated.

MNU member institutions promote excellence in research-led education, in which students receive education from researchers at the cutting edge of their field. Each member institution conducts transformative research across a broad subject base in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Each promotes a combination of academic learning and personal growth through extracurricular activities in diverse scholarly communities so as to develop rounded citizens of the world and leaders of the future.

Matariki Network partner the University of Durham recently launched the Researching Africa Network (North East) as a “newly-established organisation which acts as a regional hub for scholarship on Africa. Launched in 2018, the Network brings together scholars from Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities. Its members include researchers working across the spectrum of African Studies; scholars from other disciplines who carry out research in African contexts; and a large number of students attending Universities in the region who are either from Africa, doing research in Africa, or both. The network recently held the official launch of its new website and Twitter page, which they hope will increase both awareness and engagement: and @RANnortheast. Working with and in African countries is a theme which runs right across the Matariki Network in a wide variety of academic disciplines; with the hugely successful Africa Research & Engagement Centre (AfREC) at UWA opening its doors in August 2018.”

Australia Africa Universities Network

The Australia-Africa Universities Network will focus engagement of Australian universities in sub-Saharan Africa to enable the provision of specific expertise across areas of priority for Australia and Africa. Key objectives for the network are:

  • Provide an intelligence and advisory portal for government institutions, the corporate sector and media to access, via a ‘one-stop-shop’, a range of expertise on Africa.

  • Develop institutional research partnerships on Africa.

  • Develop capacity building and training programs for example in governance, public sector reform, education, mining, agriculture and health.

  • Produce innovative policy solutions through position papers with key academics, non-government organisations, business and political representatives.

  • Provide post-training support for African scholars, including an alumni network, linking with African communities in Australia as appropriate.

The next AAUN Africa Forum & AGM will be held at the University of Mauritius on 22-23 July 2019. Please click here to register and for the draft program.

The next AAUN Australia Forum & AGM will be held at UWA on 2 September 2019. Please click here to register and for the draft program.

African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific

The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) is a national network of academics, students, consultants, activists, diplomats, artists, community leaders, and others who share a mutual interest in the promotion of African Studies in Australasia and the Pacific region.

AFSAAP was founded in 1978 with the following specific goals that continue to the present:

  • to promote research and teaching of African Studies in Australia and the Pacific.

  • to facilitate contact among scholars and students in the field of African Studies through conferences, regional meetings, and publications.

  • to coordinate African Studies programs and the acquisition of African materials by Australian and Pacific libraries.

  • to serve as the professional body representing Africanists’ interests to governments and the community.

  • to contribute towards an understanding of Africa in the community at large.

  • to establish contact with African universities and scholars, other overseas scholars and African Studies associations, and to promote interchanges with them.

  • and to publish, distribute and sell the bi-annual peer-reviewed journal “The Australasian Review of African Studies” and other occasional publications.

AFSAAP publishes the Australasian Review of African Studies (ARAS), which aims to contribute to a better understanding of Africa in Australasia and the Pacific. It is published twice a year in June and December. ARAS is a multi-disciplinary journal that seeks to provide critical, authoritative and accessible material on a range of African affairs that is interesting and readable to as broad an audience as possible, both academic and non-academic.

The 42nd Annual AFSAAP Conference ‘Africa: Diversity and Development’, will be held at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, on 26-27 November 2019. Please click here for further information.

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