Collaborating Partner Institutions

The ARUA Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems (ARUA-SFS) was established in 2018 as a partnership between the host institution – University of Pretoria – and two collaborating partner institutions – University of Ghana and University of Nairobi.

University of Pretoria

Since its origin, the University of Pretoria (UP) has evolved into a leading higher education institution on the continent and, indeed, the world. The University is ranked in the world’s top 600 universities, and the University’s Strategic Plan 2025 has a Key Target to achieve a ranking in the top 250.

Research excellence is at the apex of the University’s long-term strategic plan to be a leading research-intensive university in Africa. Equally important is the University’s international visibility and the impact of its research on socio-economic development in the Global South – clearly articulated in the UP Vision: “We aspire to be a leading research‐intensive university in Africa, recognised internationally for quality, relevance and impact, and for developing people, creating knowledge and making a difference locally and globally …. we aspire to be an institution that advances the frontiers of knowledge and makes a positive impact by focusing on areas of greatest need.”

The University is strongly committed to research that makes a difference, and the institution has excellent infrastructure to support an African-focused ARUA Centre of Excellence that tackles the multi-dimensional challenge of transforming food systems in a sustainable way. The institution’s capacity to execute high-quality, collaborative, transdisciplinary research in sustainable food systems is demonstrated by the success of its Institutional Research Theme (IRT) on Food, Nutrition, and Well-being (IFNuW, established in 2012), co-hosting of the South African Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation (DST-NRF) Centre of Excellence in Food Security (CoEFS), and lead participation in three USAID Innovation Labs.

UP also has several other initiatives that will support the transdisciplinary research goals of the ARUA-SFS. The Future Africa campus is an initiative that brings together scientists from a range of disciplines to work collaboratively on issues facing the continent and the globe in cutting-edge facilities.  Food Security is one of the four focus areas of the Future Africa campus.  The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) is a collaborative, multidisciplinary space. The centre aims to be an institution that encourages engagement with the ideas, methodologies, and concerns of the art of Africa. Innovation [email protected] is a new business unit within UP that stems from the renaming and repositioning UP’s Hatfield Experimental Farm. It aims to provide a more effective platform for the development of long-term industry-university-government partnerships. The unit draws on a broad base of research expertise across the university, and seeks to develop partnerships with industry to grow research programmes and centres that address important national needs, such as plant health and biosecurity. Finally, there is the Engineering 4.0 facility, which focuses on South African research initiatives related to smart infrastructure, smart cities, and smart transport. Engineering 4.0 will share its vast resources in technology and data sciences with all faculties via the institution’s Future Africa institute and campus, a platform for developing inter- and trans-disciplinary research networks within the University and the global research community. 


University of Ghana

The University of Ghana, the premier largest university in Ghana, was founded by Ordinance on August 11, 1948, for the purpose of providing and promoting university education, learning, and research. It is situated in Accra, the capital of Ghana. The University is run on a collegiate system and comprises the following colleges:  College of Basic and Applied Sciences, College of Education, College of Health Sciences and College of Humanities. In addition, the University has several research institutions and centres for learning and research, including Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Centre for Tropical, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Regional Institute for Population Studies, Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies, Institute of Applied Science and Technology and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research. 

The student population of over 38,000 is made up of students enrolled on regular programmes, sandwich programmes, and distance education as well as students from affiliate institutions.  The growing number of international students come from over 70 countries to join either our regular undergraduate and graduate programmes, enrol in study abroad and other special programmes designed for international students. As part of its vision to become a world-class research-intensive institution, University of Ghana has identified four priority focus areas where the University promotes international collaboration in research initiatives to enhance research output.  These research areas are Malaria Research, Trans-disciplinary Research into Climate Change Adaptation, Enhancing Food Production and Processing, and Development Policy and Poverty Monitoring and Evaluation. As the leading university in Ghana, the University aims to produce the next generation of thought leaders to drive national development. 


University of Nairobi

The University of Nairobi is one of Africa’s top 20 universities. Based in Kenya’s capital, it is the oldest and largest university in the country. Through the college of Agriculture and veterinary Sciences in collaboration with the other five campuses, it has a strong research focus on food systems specifically: agri-food supply chains and changing local conditions, food security and nutrition, Food loss and waste management, led by the college of Agriculture and veterinary Sciences;  Climate change adaptation and mitigation being led by the institute of Climate change and Adaptation; changing lifestyles and food habits effects on human health spearheaded by the colleges of Health Sciences and that of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The college of Agriculture has several complementary strengths that align with and supplement the goals of the ARUA-SFS, cutting across all areas within which the Centre works. Notable synergies include the work at the Departments of Agricultural Economics, Plant Science & Crop Protection, Food Science, Nutrition & Technology, Land Resource Management & Technology, Animal Production, Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology & Parasitology, Clinical Studies, and Public Health. In addition, the College houses three Institutes – the Wangari Mathai Institute of Peace and Environmental Studies, the African Drylands Institute for Sustainability, and the Centre for Agricultural Networking and Information Sharing – whose research and outreach activities are associated with food security and nutrition.

Each of the Departments has MSc and PhD Postgraduate programmes in food systems relevant fields, some of which are undertaken in collaboration with universities in the region, such as the Collaborative MSc in Agricultural and Applied Economics (CMAAE), linking sixteen universities in the region, including UP. Similarly, the University of Nairobi and UP are members of RUFORUM, a vast and influential network of universities in Africa working in the domain of agriculture and related areas, including food systems. Besides, the faculty members are engaged in food systems research to develop interventions needed to create an enabling environment for smallholders to participate and benefit from the rapid transformation of the food system such as the collaborative project involving University of Nairobi, Kyambogo University, Uganda, Nong Lam University, Vietnam and Lund University, Sweden that is focusing on Smallholder Agriculture within Transforming Food Systems.


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