Workshop on: “Promoting Sustainable University-Stakeholder Linkages through South-South and North-South Partnerships”
Venue: Lemigo Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda
Dates: 14-16 October 2015
Universities are recognised as sources of knowledge creation, innovation and technological advancement in society. In pursuit of these, they endeavour to create and strengthen their linkages with external stakeholders through partnership frameworks for the utilisation of their products and competencies. Many of them are guided in these actions by mission statement and institutional charters and values, and carry out environmental scans to identify opportunities, national needs and challenges which could be addressed by their efforts.
In Africa, although there are a few good examples of technologies and businesses that have been nurtured in African universities in partnership with entrepreneurs and governments, it is known that generally many African countries lack the enabling environment for their universities to sustain these synergic partnerships. But there are examples of other countries, such as Malaysia and South Korea, which have enacted good policies around knowledge creation and capacity building in developing a critical mass of science, technology and innovation systems. They are therefore not only able to adopt and adapt technology transferred from developed countries but also generate new technologies from within.
Given this background situation, in 2010, the Association of African Universities (AAU), in collaboration with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and with funding from the Department of Foreign Aid, Trade and Development of Canada, commissioned a scoping survey to map the extent and nature of such university-stakeholder relationships in Africa. The responses from the 133 universities surveyed confirmed that some steps were being implemented to stimulate as well as deepen university linkages with the productive sector, but also revealed that many of the institutions lacked complementary and supportive policies and mechanisms to regulate these interactions.
It was in that context that the AAU commissioned follow-up studies on the subject matter to find out what was additionally needed to provide a strengthened and more comprehensive platform to promote, build and manage these linkages. The findings identified strong government support, the development of institutional capacity, relevant research and training, and the enhancement of communication between university and industry as some of the factors that could strengthen such partnerships.
The AAU is organising a high profile consultative workshop validate the findings of three of its commissioned reports on university-industry collaboration, as well as to synergise experiences and good practices from universities in the North and South on their strategies in building and sustaining partnerships between and among themselves (i.e. North-South and South-South), and with external stakeholders, including but not limited to the private sector, civil society and the State. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to the external stakeholders for sharing information about their success stories of engagement with universities, and strategies that they gauge will boost their collaboration with African academic and research institutions.
Day 1 will be dedicated to validating the survey findings of the following reports:
Strengthening University-Industry Linkages in Africa: A Study of Institutional Capacities and Gaps
Perspective of Industry’s Engagement with African Universities
The Relevance of University Training to Labour Market Demands
On Days 2 and 3, the workshop will, beside plenary presentations, have parallel sessions for showcasing and holding in-depth discussions on the following:
Working with Strategic Stakeholders and Partners – the Private Sector, Civil Society, the State and the Donor Community, etc.; and
Strengthening Interface Structures in African Universities – Policy Framework, Human Resources (including strong Leadership/Champions), Research Infrastructure, Code of Business Ethics/Intellectual Property Rights, Effective Communication, etc.
The three-day workshop, to be held in Kigali, Rwanda on 14-16 October, 2015 will bring together university international/liaison officers from Africa, Canada and Europe, champions of industry in Africa, and participants from the public sector as well as civil societies and representatives of international and regional organisations and development partners to share extensive experiences for the furtherance and enhancement of linkages of African universities with their external stakeholders through partnerships . It will be facilitated by two eminent resource persons on university-stakeholder relations, one from Africa and the other from Canada.
The expected outcomes of the workshop include:
Greater awareness of the needs and capabilities of the various stakeholders to foster enhanced networking for synergetic relationships;
Successful strategies to harness the potential of university research and education to the benefits of industry and other relevant social actors;
The importance of developing favourable policy frameworks that enable R&D partnerships to flourish;
The importance of leveraging university policies with stakeholder (government, industry, civil society, etc.) strategies towards national development; and
A range of adaptable strategies for African universities to produce quality outputs (e.g. graduates, research findings, teaching) to foster stronger external stakeholder relations.
The AAU extends an invitation to strategic stakeholders of higher education in Africa to register and attend this workshop.