Collaboration in Higher Education and Research

Collaboration in higher education and research: Development of a Swedish-East African Research Center (SWEARC)

Prof. Horrace Ochanda, Deputy Principal Kenya Science Campus giving his opening remarks

We live in an age of globalization. This is especially true for academic research and education. Research projects increasingly involve researchers from different parts of the world and students are mobile, looking for educational opportunities across national borders. However, institutional bases for global interaction in research and education are still underdeveloped. The proposal of a Swedish-East African Research Centre (SWEARC) is an online based platform for academic cooperation in research and education in humanities and social sciences between East African and Swedish universities. SWEARC is interdisciplinary and will offer seminars of interest for Swedish and East African scholars in humanities and social sciences. SWEARC will be a flexible forum and the content of seminar work and courses offered will depend on the interest and competence of the participating scholars.

This project aims to establish a center for masters and PhD education that contributes to increased opportunities for Eastern African students to achieve masters and PhD degrees. SWEARC will offer master/PhD-courses that are required for all or most programs in humanities and social sciences, like qualitative and quantitative research methods, theory of science and research ethics, as well as specific disciplinary courses offered by institutions in East Africa and Sweden. Both seminars and supervision will be offered online, as well as Open Educational Resource (OER). That the main activities will be online limits the need for travelling, and hence is a climate friendly solution.

Collaboration in higher education workshop at Kenya Science Campus group photo
A group photo: Collaboration in Higher Education workshop held at Kenya Science Campus

This initiative has three main objectives:

First, to organize seminars of interest and relevance for Swedish and East African scholars in humanities and social sciences.

Second, to enhance educational opportunities for students in Sweden and East Africa to participate successfully in postgraduate studies at masters and PhD level.

Third, to establish collaboration between researchers, PhD- and master’s students and academic supervisors from different countries in Eastern Africa, and between Swedish and Eastern African researchers.

Workshops was organized to deliberate interest and challenges, determine the exact scope of the research center, and to develop a concept for implementation. First Workshop took place on 5th and 6th of February 2020 in Nairobi, and the second workshop will be held on the 7th and 8th of April 2020 in Addis Ababa.