NRF Participates in the 2024 University Partnership Summit

NRF Participates in the 2024 University Partnership Summit

The National Research Foundation participated in the 2024 University Partnership Summit, which took place at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, USA on 26 April 2024. The summit was hosted by the US Department of State in partnership with Guilford College and Cornell University and focused on identifying strategies that higher education institutions in the United States of America and Africa can implement to enhance partnerships, exchanges, and impact.

The summit was attended by several US federal agencies including the Department of State, Department of Education, Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. Other institutions in attendance included Michigan State University; Rutgers University; Howard University; National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; Council for Independent Colleges; US Africa Institute; and Carnegie Corporation. African institutions in attendance included the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Makerere University and University of Pretoria.

The summit’s agenda included panel-led discussions that shared perspectives and lessons on partnerships from the different stakeholder groups, as well as small group breakout sessions focused on the exploration of sustainable models of partnership in Entrepreneurship, Youth Development and Education, STEM and Health, and Innovation in Doctoral Training Collaboration. Dr Thandi Mgwebi, the NRF’s Group Executive: Business Advancement spoke on a panel focused on how partnerships can be made more sustainable.

Dr Mgwebi shared the NRF’s lessons on making partnerships more sustainable and equitable with remarks that included “We have to cultivate an environment in which internationally based researchers are well supported so that they can forge networks and relationships and build the skills required for sustainable partnerships. Mentorship should become a key part of these relationships. We’ve learnt a lot from the ARUA partnership and Centres of Excellence at the World Bank which have emerged as successful models for supporting internationally based academics. We also need to strengthen the capacity for multi-sectoral relationships so that we can maximise the potential to address global challenges”. Dr Mgwebi also shared the growing benefits the NRF is seeing in split-side scholarships and Fellowships that recognise both the African context and mobility of researchers, particularly young researchers.

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