Strengthening collaborative efforts with Ghana

Leiden University is set to enhance its cooperation with African knowledge institutions. During a recent visit to Ghana, a delegation including ASCL director Marleen Dekker engaged with several African institutions to discuss strengthening their collaborative efforts.

Leiden University researchers are already partnering with African colleagues in various fields such as vaccine development, climate change, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Driven by its Africa strategy, which aligns with the university’s Strategic Plan to bolster strategic partnerships, the university aims to deepen these collaborations. This strategy includes consolidating internal knowledge, improving the status and influence of African researchers (especially early-career researchers), and co-producing knowledge.

From May 21 to 25, the delegation attended the University of Ghana’s International Week in Accra. The delegation comprised Leiden researchers, the Dean of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) strategic alliance, and representatives from the University of Edinburgh, a strategic partner of Leiden. They engaged with institutions from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa to discuss collaborative priorities in biomedical research, sustainability, and cultural heritage. "The workshops provided concrete collaboration opportunities such as PhD training, field schools, and thesis labs," said Associate Professor David Ehrhardt (LUC and co-chair of LeidenASA).

A key element of Leiden’s Africa strategy is transforming the current LeidenASA network into an Africa Platform, where those focusing on Africa can connect. This platform will unite researchers, students, funding opportunities, and educational initiatives to foster synergies. Scheduled to launch officially at the end of 2024, the platform will also serve as a conduit for external questions and ideas.

Photo: Marc Holtkamp.