Opera Handa and Students
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Robert Bosch Stiftung: New European Donor Relations for Regional Research Talent

Given the growing need for more senior African academics in universities across the continent, largely due to the ‘brain drain’ of talented students to global north countries, UCT started a ‘brain re-gain’ initiative. The goal is to grow research talent within the continent and recruit African academics who are working abroad. The idea was most appealing to the Robert Bosch Stiftung, based in Stuttgart Germany, who invest in science and education projects that straddle international cultural exchanges. The foundation has pledged support to the value of €150,000 over two years for the purpose of recruiting and training two candidates per year, to be mentored and groomed for senior academic positions at UCT or other African universities. The plan is to include partnerships with global north universities, aggregating the experience and skill of research fellows through international collaborative research projects.

The Robert Bosch Stiftung is a first time donor to UCT, through this initiative, and the donation culminates concerted efforts to increase new funding relations in Europe. The partnership has likewise opened new perspectives on Africa from the foundation to consider further philanthropic investments on the continent. The Robert Bosch Stiftung is one of the largest German foundations associated with a private company and has managed the philanthropic bequest of company founder Robert Bosch for over 50 years.

The donation will cover full time fellowships for successful candidates, inclusive of travel and conference allowances, and research expenses. The partnership will enable UCT to insert young, ambitious, productive and motivated researchers into a network of global colleagues. The value of such collaboration is shared by the Robert Bosch Stiftung who are keen to follow a fundamental objective of UCT to strengthen a cohort of senior African academics in the global sphere. In this way the university will ensure its contribution to growing the knowledge production base and building socially responsive research, developing theory that is appropriate to regional contexts on the continent.

Story by Merlin Ince

For Giving@UCT Volume 3 May 2016