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Building Stronger Universities is fit for purpose

Photo: Vibeke Quaade

The Building Stronger Universities, BSU III (2017-21) programme is to a large extent fit for purpose. In short, this is how the executive summary of the newly released mid-term review of the programme sums up the outcomes and results. The review also recommends extending the programme period to 2022 to finalize activities delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the mid-term review here

Some of the key conclusions in the review is that the strong project ownership and commitment across various university levels and functions, including from the senior management level of all institutions involved, have led to sustainable and improved research capacity development at all partner universities.

The review also points to the positive outcomes of the mentorships provided by the Danish partners and the involvement of administrative systems and staff in the development process that has improved the internal procedures and benefitted the researchers as well, especially at the smaller universities.

In terms of research structures and improving the quality of research quality, the programme has also contributed to the establishment of several research Centers of Excellence.

Finally, the review highlights the significant impact on the capacity and quality of lectures and also the positive impact on external funding opportunities on which the universities are heavily dependent.

The recommendation to continue the programme up to the end of 2022 is to secure time to finalize the planned activities, which were affected and delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides sufficient time to consider and eventually formulate a follow-up programme to support capacity building at selected African Universities, starting from 2023 if so desired.

It began in 2011
The Building Stronger University collaboration all started in 2011.
Its aim was to increase the research and teaching capacity of universities in selected Danida priority countries. The focus was therefore mainly on PhD studies and administrative structures at university level.
In the second programme phase from 2014 – 2017, the scope widened. The focus became the establishment and improvement of the administrative frameworks in order to lay the foundation for improved research capacity at university level.

The objectives and the partners of the present programme phase
The overall objectives of the present Building Stronger Universities III programme is that
African universities will enhance their role as providers of education and research and their outreach to society.

The Building Stronger Universities III aims to contribute to i) enhanced learning and graduation, ii) more and better organised research, and iii) more university interaction with the private and public sector.

Participating in the programme are the Danish universities and six universities in Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana respectively.

The six African universities involved are:
• State University of Zanzibar (Zanzibar, Tanzania)
• Sokoine University of Agriculture (Morogoro, Tanzania)
• Kilimajaro Christian Medical University College (Moshi, Tanzania)
• Gulu University (Gulu, Uganda)
• Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, Ghana)
• University of Ghana (Accra, Ghana)

The mid-term review has been conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department for Evaluation, Learning and Quality Assurance (ELQ) in collaboration with the Research Department at The Danida Fellowship Centre.

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