Partnerships between Australian and African Universities: working with the AAUN

The AIFSC delivers on its goal of accelerating acceleration through partnerships. Partnerships are the most effective way to link institution strengthening, research and capacity building. We are proud to be partnering with the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN). The AAUN is a group of leading universities in Australia and Africa, connecting researchers and academics through institutional partnerships in order to address challenges facing both continents, including food security.

The AAUN is initiating a Research Development Fund that will provide small grants to bring researchers from African and Australian universities together to develop project proposals. The Australian chapter has contributed $50 000 to the Fund. The AIFSC is contributing a matching $50 000 on behalf of the African chapter. The Fund is open to member universities and there will be opportunities for researchers from both continents to discuss potential projects at the AAUN’s upcoming International Africa Forum, titled “The Power of Partnerships”. Read more about the upcoming Forum.

AAUN representative Prof Anton Maclachlan announcing the Research Development Fund at the AIFSC Conference. Photo credit Tim Pascoe Photography

The AIFSC is also supporting the African chapter during its establishment phase by contributing up to 50% of the cost of AAUN membership fees for a number of universities.

A powerful university network already exists in Africa - the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). RUFORUM, also an AIFSC partner, is a consortium of 30 universities in eastern, central and southern Africa with a mandate to oversee graduate training and networks of specialisation in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) countries. The AIFSC is supportive of these two networks working together to build capacity and improve food security. To that end, the AIFSC financed a coordination meeting in Entebbe, Uganda from 24-25 June 2013, hosted by RUFORUM with representatives of RUFORUM and the AAUN from both African and Australian member universities. The meeting will provide an opportunity for RUFORM and the AAUN to better coordinate and consider opportunities to create linkages between the two networks. Delegates from AAUN Australia chapter include Prof Shashi Sharma, Chair in Biosecurity and Food Security at Murdoch University, who also visited the AIFSC in June to discuss biosecurity shared agendas.