Mission complete: Building Stronger University programme at Sokoine University of Agriculture ends
“I strongly believe that research, knowledge creation and the publication of knowledge research are the core of a university’s growth”, says Charles Kilawe, Senior Lecturer, Sokoine University of Agriculture. He has published 12 research papers since he finalized his PhD under Building Stronger Universities.
When Building Stronger Universities was initiated at Sokoine University of Agriculture in 2011, the aim was to enhance institutional capacity building for research, training and outreach in agriculture. Ten years down the line, it is now fair to say that the mission is accomplished.
By Vibeke Quaade
The Building Stronger Universities programme has been in operation at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania for the last decade. The aim was to strengthen the institution’s research, training and outreach capabilities in agriculture. At a three-day exit workshop at Sokoine University of Agriculture, on 22-24 March 2023, researchers, PhD students, university staff, private sector representatives (including farmers) and policymakers from the agricultural community in Tanzania and Denmark met to celebrate and take stock of the results.
The power of interdisciplinary university cooperation
The Building Stronger Universities programme at Sokoine University of Agriculture focused on agroecology, aquaculture and agribusiness, and the participants in all three fields shared their progress and benefitted from the interdisciplinary collaboration. The results included the development and implementation of three postgraduate programmes, the completion of seven PhDs (plus three in progress), and the publication of 31 research papers in esteemed journals. The collaboration capacity build over 100 staff members in research and administration, and there was an overall improvement in the university’s learning and research infrastructure, in line with the Tanzanian government’s efforts to increase the quality of education and services across the country.
Representatives from the consortium of Danish universities that had partnered with Sokoine University of Agriculture under Building Stronger Universities were also present at the exit workshop. These representatives from University of Copenhagen, University of Århus, Aalborg University, DTU and SDU also expressed how they had benefited from the collaboration with their Tanzanian colleagues. Especially a deeper understanding of the importance of multidisciplinarity and collaboration between the different disciplines of agroecology, aquaculture and agribusiness was emphasised as a benefit from the side of the Danish researchers.
Next step: A Centre of Excellence tackling climate challenges
Moving forward, the participants strategized on further multidisciplinary collaborations in research beyond the Building Stronger Universities programme, and one of the main ideas was to establish a Centre of Excellence in Agroecology, Aquaculture and Agribusiness to tackle the impact of climate change on agriculture.
The centre will build on the capacity and collaboration developed during the ten years of the Building Stronger Universities programme to create science and technologies that support green growth, circular economy and bio-economy models with the aim of ensuring that Tanzania’s agricultural resources are sustainable and consistent.
The successful completion of the Building Stronger Universities programme has cemented Sokoine University of Agriculture’s position as Tanzania’s number one research university. The multidisciplinary approach to tackling the challenges facing the agricultural sector has yielded great results, and the establishment of the Centre of Excellence in Agroecology, Aquaculture, and Agribusiness is set to continue the legacy of the Building Stronger Universities programme.
Facts about the investments
The Danish Government has invested a total of DKK 190 million (approx. USD 29 million) in the Building Stronger Universities programme from 2011 to 2023, covering partnerships with several universities, including Sokoine University of Agriculture.
Sokoine University of Agriculture was allocated a total of DKK 23.700.150 (approx. USD 3.6 million) for BSU I, II, and III. (BSU III has been extended until December 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) Danida Fellowship Centre has administered all three phases of the Building Stronger Universities programme.
Watch videos of selected partners and beneficiaries of the Danish-Tanzanian university collaboration at Sokoine University of Agriculture.
“Building Stronger Universities as a sustainable programme”
“The importance of having a good PhD programme”
“More productive fishery industries and more technology”
John Peter Hewa Kinyage
“From BSU Master at DTU, to CEO of Aquacom”
“BSU and extension information in aquaculture”
“An App to connect extension and fish farmers”
“BSU has now gone beyond the borders of the University”
“The important focus on agroecology”
“Training students and professors to build capacity”
“A Centre of Excellence for agroecology, aquaculture and agribusiness”
“Changing the way you eat fish to benefit the environment and productivity”
“A joint understanding of the importance of multidisciplinarity”