A two-day workshop was organised by the Worldwide University Network (WUN) Global Africa Group (GAG) to formally launch the group’s inaugural strategic research workshop at the Graduate Building of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS).
The workshop which was held on the 8th and 9th June, 2017, was in line with the WUN GAG’s strategic plan from 2016 to 2018, which sets out the group’s objectives, research priority themes and approaches to developing Global-Africa research collaboration through the Network’s mechanisms. The workshop is the first stage in the operationalisation of the strategic plan, among other aims, through physical mobility, to connect researchers from the WUN global university members.
Speaking at the inaugural launch, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, formally welcomed all participants to the University and expressed the University’s delight and readiness to assist the group in coming out with cutting- edge impactful research. The Vice chancellor then officially declared the WUN GAG workshop duly launched.
Professor Christopher Gordon, keynote speaker for the event and the Director, Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, College of Basics and Applied Sciences University of Ghana, spoke on the inaugural theme, “ Building sustainable mountain systems in the sub-Saharan Africa: assessing the linkages between communities, ecosystem services, environment and health”. He stated that systems do not sit in isolation and as such building mountain systems requires a comprehensive, holistic evidence based line of action led by comprehensive research.
Prof. Gordon cited the lack of resources and limited funding, exposure, critical mass human capacity and infrastructural challenges in communication, especially internet bandwidth as some of the reasons why African Universities experience hitches in getting the critical mass of researchers to unravel mysteries surrounding systemic challenges. Against this background, Prof. Gordon noted that the WUN GAG brings together researchers from member universities to unravel various complexities surrounding African countries. He stated that lack of funding should not be the major hurdle of member universities in the WUN, but trust and respect for the mutual benefit of the group.
Participants were split into five groups under the following priority research themes: Environmental Change and Food Security; Public Health; Governance, Inequality and Social Inclusion; Higher Education and Research Capacity; and Natural Resources for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development. The outcome was to form specific research project teams under each of the five respective research priority themes and for those projects teams to be in position to competitively apply for external funding after the workshop. The WUN GAG emphasises and supports the physical mobility of researchers, including early career and postgraduate researchers as a means to achieve genuine research collaborations and partnerships.
A day tour was organised to give participants a Ghanaian cultural experience on Saturday, 10th June, 2017, to the historic Cape Coast Castle and the Kakum National Park.
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