Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 125

Thought leader
This is, perhaps, one of the strongest arguments for
internationalisation. Decolonisation of the curriculum is a
hot topic at the moment in South African universities. At
research-intensive universities, the best teaching is fed
and watered by the best research, so decolonisation of
the curriculum depends on the development of Africancentred knowledge. This knowledge, in turn, needs to
feed into global debates.
To do this, however, we need a different pattern of
collaboration. A Nature Index supplement on global
scientific collaborations shows that African universities
most frequently collaborate with universities outside
of Africa. We need to change this. To become a
strong presence in the international intellectual arena
and influence global debates, we need to strengthen
collaborations within Africa – which, in turn, will
strengthen the African voice as a whole.
The African Research Universities Alliance is a network
created in 2015 as part of an attempt to tackle this
challenge. A partnership of 16 research universities
across nine African countries, its focus is to build
research excellence and to boost research capacity, so
that we can address transnational public policy and
development strategies. This will enable the continent to
take control of its future and develop a more assertive
voice, which, in turn, will enable us to assert African
research as a powerful global force.
We should build our partnerships in such a way that
our collaborations with the global north bring African
priorities into the research agenda. An excellent example
of this is the Investigation of the Management of
Pericarditis (IMPI) trial that established for the first time
whether the prescription of steroids to patients with TB
pericarditis – a dangerous form of TB that can cause
fluid build-up and compression of the heart, and kills
a quarter of those who contract it – are effective. Until
then, prescription of steroids depended on whether
The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is a leading global higher education and research network made up of 19 universities across
the globe. Together they work to drive international research collaboration and address issues of global significance. WUN is the most
active global higher education and research network, with 90 active research initiatives, engaging over 2 000 researchers and students
collaborating on a diverse range of projects.
WUN universities
Maastricht University
University of Bristol
University of Sheffield
Chinese University of Hong Kong
University of Cape Town
University of Southampton
University of Alberta
University of Ghana
University of Sydney
University of Auckland
University of Leeds
University of Western Australia
University of Basel
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of York
University of Bergen
University of Rochester
Zhejiang University
Partnerships for the goals 120

Nature Index

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