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19.04.2012 Education

University of Nottingham establishes New Africa Office in Accra

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Accra, April 19, GNA - The University of Nottingham's commitment to global reach, partnership development, supporting diversity and widening participation is to be enhanced with the opening of a new office in West Africa, Accra.

The new facility, which officially opened in Accra last Tuesday, underpins the University's commitment to supporting development across the region through capacity building, collaborative support and knowledge transfer.

The office would provide a focus for encouraging staff and student mobility between the UK and Africa, supporting alumni and extending links with current partners in the region.

In a statement issued in Accra, Professor Christine Ennew, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation at The University of Nottingham, said: “This is truly an exciting initiative for the University of Nottingham. Accra provides an ideal location for us to extend our higher education collaborations in both Ghana and elsewhere in West Africa. In particular, we hope to expand and extend research and teaching partnerships in the region as well as encouraging greater mobility of staff and students between our respective countries.”

The West Africa Office will provide a regional base for the University's increasing collaborative work across Africa, encouraging greater staff and student exchange and widening access to the University's campuses through increased awareness of the University's extensive scholarships portfolio.

The University has a number of existing initiatives in place with universities in Ghana, including the University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, to promote collaborative research, student and staff exchange/mobility and partner PhD study routes where students spend part of their studies at Nottingham in the UK and the other part of their study in Ghana.

Staffs from the University's School of Nursing are currently working with KNUST on a Problem Based Learning (PBL) initiative comparing patient symptoms in the UK and Ghana to look at how they would be treated differently, leading to a sharing of knowledge and ideas and cultural exchange with specific medical practices.

One of Nottingham's flagship research projects Crops for the Future — which aims to identify alternative crops that have the potential to feed the world and improve the wealth of developing countries — is being conducted in partnership with a number of African collaborators.

Professor Sayed Azam Ali, an academic based at the University's Malaysian campus in Seminyih near Kuala Lumpur, who is leading the research has forged links with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria, the Crops Research Institute in Kumasi and the Forum for Agricultural Research, Accra.

The University's Developing Solutions scholarship programme, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, will have a key role to play in West Africa.

One of UK's largest scholarship programmes for the developing world, it offers full or partial tuition fees to support students on one-year Master of Science (MSc) programmes that have development and sustainability at their core. Developing Solutions is an investment in the development and growth of nations through individuals.

The University's vision is for Developing Solutions to grow into a UK flagship scheme for international scholarships. Already recognised for its commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to end poverty by 2015, the Developing Solutions scheme is being extended through the University of Nottingham's Impact Campaign, which hopes to raise £150 million over the next five years to create bigger and better scholarships for the most talented individuals.

Funding allows students who would otherwise be unable to benefit from a UK education to influence development in their home countries through their work for governments, universities, charities and private organisations.

Their presence at Nottingham also strengthens the wider international experience for the University's students.

The programme is expanding from its foundation as a scholarship programme to: Developing Futures: Supporting University staff to travel to partner universities in Africa to share skills and knowledge, and Developing Horizons: Supporting exchanges of UK-based students with a partner university in Africa to enable UK and African students to live and study abroad to broaden their cultural understanding and global outlook.

To-date, the Developing Solutions programme has helped almost 1,000 students worldwide to achieve a Nottingham degree. This includes 34 students from Ghana itself.

Ghanaian Amma Adomako-Bonsu received a scholarship through the programme when she came to Nottingham to study for a Masters degree in toxicology and now works as a research associate with the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for training and advocacy in pharmacovigillance in Ghana.

She said: “Studying at The University of Nottingham was a wonderful experience. Having come from a developing nation, I was delighted at how accessible numerous academic resources were to students.

“With my current job position, I am advocating for the availability of safer medicines through pharmacovigillance, for the implementation of good health policies. Having obtained an MRes. in Toxicology from the University of Nottingham, I can confidently say that I am in a much better position to improve the health of Ghanaians and Africans at large through effective health research, which is my passion.”

Nottingham has a vibrant community of African students, including around 60 Ghanaian students across its faculties and a very active student-run Ghanaian Society, which is aiming to organise a Ghanaian International Students Conference in Nottingham in 2013, with the aim of extolling the virtues of a UK education to the Ghanaian populace.

The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Peter Jones said: “This is a bold move by a British university and one which I am sure will help support relationships between Ghana and the UK. Education is highly valued in West Africa and I'm sure The University of Nottingham will benefit greatly from this endeavour. I know that Nottingham's staff and students will be warmly welcomed during study and research periods here in Ghana.'

The new presence in Ghana will join the University's existing global network of in-country offices which include China, Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico.


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