The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro-Owusu has led an eleven-member delegation visiting four institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom.
The fully packed week-long engagement during which mutually beneficial discussions wree held, took the delegation to the University of Essex, University of Sheffield, University of Sussex and University of Southampton. The scope of the discussions focused primarily on joint projects related to research, teaching and faculty development; stays and exchanges of lecturers and researchers; stays and exchange of students; the creation and/or development of educational programmes or scientific research common to the institutions; the organization of cultural and scientific events and exchange of best practices.
Members of the delegation were Prof. Kwame Offei, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Andrew Anthony Adjei, Coordinator, Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Teams, Prof. Boateng Onwona-Agyeman, Dean, School of Engineering Sciences, Dr. Olivia Anku-Tsede, Legal Counsel, Dr. Wazi Apoh, Department of Archaeology & Heritage Studies, Dr. Jamal-Deen Abdulai, Head, Department of Computer Science, Dr. Ibrahim Bedi, Acting Director of Internal Audit, Prof. Patrick Ayeh-Kumi, Provost, College of Health Sciences/Ag. Dean, School of Public Health, Mrs. Stella A. Amoa. Director of Public Affairs and Mrs. Mammie Nortey, Research Development Officer, Office of Research, Innovation and Development.
During these institutional visits, members of the delegation took turns to make presentations on various aspects of their work and the University of Ghana as a whole. The feedback from the receiving institutions was largely positive; it was obvious the University’s strategic objective of building stakeholder confidence by demonstrating its impact, both in results and outputs nationally and internationally is gaining grounds.
We bring you a brief report of the visit.
University of Essex
In welcoming the University of Ghana delegation, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lorna Fox O’Mahony. She underscored the University of Essex’s commitment to excellence in research, education and building a sustainable ecosystem that translates science and technology into action. Dwelling on the University of Essex’s research strengths in social science and data science, she said the University had made an impressive performance on the global scale. She was happy for the return visit, following the visit of Prof. Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor, who led a three-person delegation to the University of Ghana.
Discussions were held with faculty at the School of Computer Science & Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex, Professor Anthony Vickers centered on the programmes being run in the department such as big data, data science, artificial intelligence, robotics and bioinformatics. Prof. Vickers noted that the department undertakes health-oriented research projects and collaborates with other departments in the area life sciences, fisheries and agriculture, biological sciences with emphasis on harsh environment penetration and the use of robotics. New programmes to be introduced in October 2019 were, mechatronics and other programmes such as neuro engineering in collaboration with the Psychology Department. Prof. Vickers said the department is consciously including creativity and imagination to attract more women. These programmes he said are in line with futuristic designs and predictions based on market demand.
Later in the evening, the team was hosted to a formal dinner by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Anthony Forster during which a friendship agreement was signed as a commitment to further collaborations.
University of Sheffield
The visit to the University of Sheffield was a reciprocal visit to translate the discussions initiated during an earlier team visit from the University of Sheffield led by the Director of Global Engagements in October 2018. During the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the University of Ghana as well as initial discussions on seed funding to support collaborations between the two institutions.
The delegation was met by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dave Petley and members of faculty. The meeting at Sheffield reiterated existing collaborations with faculty of University of Ghana from the Schools of Public Health, the School of Engineering Sciences, the School of Biological Sciences and the Office of Research, Innovation and Development and Sociology Department. It is hoped by the signing of the MoU, and the high-powered delegation, these collaborations have been consolidated and will provide a lateral expansion to the existing partnership between the two institutions.
A tour visit took the delegation to the world-class centre for advanced manufacturing at University of Sheffield which is a network of world-leading research and innovation centres working with advanced manufacturing companies of any size around the globe. Over 100 industrial members range from global giants like Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE systems and Airbus.
Other tours were made to University of Sheffield’s fluid dynamics laboratory, thermo dynamics laboratory, advanced lecture hall, electrical engineering laboratory and the student-led makerspace.
University of Sussex
At the University of Sussex, there was the opportunity to share successful research collaborations and explore future opportunities. The delegation was received by the Vice-President of the University of Sussex on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Adam Tickel. The Director of the Institute for Development Studies, Prof. Melissa Leach gave an overview of existing collaborations with several units at the University of Ghana, highlighting the IDS’ strong interest in West Africa and building relationships in Africa and, Ghana. Currently there were a significant number of on-going projects which were discussed during the visit, and further interest to look at other potential areas of collaboration.
University of Sussex is keen on deepening existing collaborations considering that the University of Ghana signed an MoU with University of Sussex in 2015.
There was a networking lunch during which the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu took the opportunity to interact with Ghanaian students studying at University of Sussex.
University of Southampton
University of Ghana and University of Southampton have been collaborating through the World University Network (WUN), evident through a significant number of on-going projects. A newly released publication, Prioritising Health Research, Priorities for Infectious Disease Research in Ghana and Kenya was presented to members of the UG delegation by University of Southampton.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mark Spearing received the University of Ghana’s delegation led by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Kwame Offei. In his remarks, Prof. Offei reiterated the long-standing relationship between the two institutions and emphasized projects such as the BRECCIA Project which is a GBP 5.3 million grant.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which seeks to further deepen and expand the scope of the relationship and also to ensure mutually beneficial outcomes was later signed by Prof Kwame Offei and Prof. Mark Spearing.
There was the opportunity to tour the University of Southampton’s Wind Tunnel and the delegation interacted with graduate students on the BRECcIA Project who were holding a two-week ECR and Partners workshop hosted as part of the project with Ghanaian participants from University of Ghana.
Evening with alumni of the University resident in United Kingdom and Ireland.
An Evening hosted by the Universities of Ghana Overseas Offices brought together alumni of the University. The event provided an opportunity for the Vice-Chancellor and other officials to provide updates on the state of the University, as well as seek their support in making suggestions, provide support and mobilise funds for the University of Ghana Endowment Fund which was launched in May 2018.