African solutions to Africa’s problems

Tue, 28 May 2019 10:23:00 BST

Dr Dawn Edge, a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Psychology & Mental Health, was part of the University's delegation, led by Professor Stephen Flint, Associate Vice-President for Internationalisation, who were invited to take part in a joint workshop at the University of Ghana at the beginning of May with colleagues from the N8 Research Partnership and the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

Whilst the key theme for the workshop was African solutions to Africa’s problems, presentations and discussions had a truly global context with a continued focus on the UN’s sustainable development goals. And as part of this, it was acknowledged that the continent’s health and educational issues cannot be resolved without:

  • An ongoing need to maximise new technologies to facilitate internationalisation and influence change.
  • Enhancing African higher education by building capacity and creating environments capable of dealing with scope, complexity and pace of change.
  • Producing world-class, high-quality, Africa-relevant research publications.
  • Recruiting and equipping capable researchers with a global perspective on learning via split-site PhDs, distance learning and mentorship.

With a view to facilitating future collaborations in line with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), Dawn shared SHS research with ARUA in the key areas of mobile health technology, mental and physical health interventions, public health, health literacy and inequalities.

Dawn commented: "The workshop was a great opportunity to both share knowledge and create new relationships with African universities. In addition, new GCRF funding for ARUA Centres of Excellence and joint projects with UK universities means that there is potential for FBMH to develop new collaborative research initiatives, principally in the areas of digital technology and co-creating culturally-appropriate approaches to tackling health inequalities experienced by Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LAMICs). In this context, it was made absolutely clear in our discussions with our ARUA and N8* partners that we must adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to research in order to develop - and ultimately deliver - effective, sustainable health interventions in Africa.”

*TheN8 Research Partnership is a collaboration of the eight most research-intensive universities in the North of England: Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York.