Professor Sunil Maharaj, Deputy Vice-Principal of Research and Postgraduate Studies at the University of Pretoria (UP), along with other UP representatives recently met with 11 academics from Belgian institution Ghent University (UGhent) to discuss new platforms of collaboration and to strengthen existing relationships related to academic and scientific research cooperation.
“It is exciting to see yet another group of academics from UGhent looking for further cooperation with UP,” said Prof Maharaj in his welcoming speech. “This gathering means that we are all here to determine where we can meet and find synergies to work together. It is important that we are paired up according to our field of work, departments and facilities, and have high-level meetings to see where we can work together in future or to further strengthen our existing relationships.”
UGhent’s Vice-Rector, Prof Mieke van Herreweghe, indicated that the university enjoys its collaborations with UP, which is why it is looking to expand its relationships.
“We are excited to be here, and looking at the current collaborations, it was important for us to search for new ways of partnership with UP in terms of research and the exchange of staff and students, and so forth.”
The first academic and research institutional-level agreement between UP and UGhent was signed in 1995, and was subsequently followed by other signings. In 2021, during a previous visit from UGhent representatives, UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Tawana Kupe indicated that the two universities share an impressive record of engagement that is characterised by active research collaborations, student and academic exchanges, collaborative academic programmes and course supervisions, among others.
During the discussions, Prof Charles Maimela, Deputy Dean of UP’s Faculty of Law, said that UP Law is a leading faculty in Africa and South Africa, and that it was interested in exploring new working relationships with UGhent.
Setsipane Mokoduwe, Head of International Cooperation in the Department of Research and Innovation at UP, said his department was interested in discussions around student exchanges, joint PhD studies and strategic partnerships.
Both Prof Joyce Mothabeng and Dr Carel Viljoen of UP’s Faculty of Health Sciences also indicated that they were looking at engaging in discussions about areas of possible collaboration in student exchange with respect to clinical interns.