The Research and Innovation Week is a concept of bringing together researchers, teachers, students and university management representatives from all the 40 SASUF partner universities. The week is divided into two parts: Satellite events taking place across South Africa, and the Sustainability Forum hosted by University of the Western Cape.
SLU well represented in South Africa
SLU’s Vice-Chancellor Maria Knutsson Wedel and Pro Vice-Chancellor, international relations, Ylva Hillbur are participating in the R&I Week. With them is a 15-person delegation of SLU researchers and a student also attending the various events.
Erik Alexandersson at the Department of Plant Breeding is one of the researchers. He will give a talk about the global status of biologicals, and participate in a panel discussion to talk about the opportunities he sees in SASUF.
– I look forward to meeting both former and future South African colleagues. The Research and Innovation week has previously given a broad and interdisciplinary view of research in both countries, which has been very fruitful.
– We are for example working on non-invasive remote sensing for food safety, urban planning and agricultural production where the techniques are partly similar but research questions very different. We also have a satellite event on agricultural biologicals for plant protection and growth where the challenges and needs are partly the same, partly very different in the two countries, says Erik.
SLU Global asked Ylva Hillbur about her expectations
What does this cooperation with universities in South Africa mean for SLU and Sweden?
– SASUF is an excellent and dynamic arena for broad interdisciplinary discussions between researchers from almost all South African and Swedish universities. We have seen, as a result from previous iterations of the Research and Innovation Week, the development of several interesting and innovative ideas and projects in totally new constellations, that would probably not have met if it weren’t for the opportunity provided through SASUF.
What are your expectations of the meetings?
– To learn more about research and higher education system in South Africa. Also to consolidate existing and potentially initiate new collaborations. Our Vice-Chancellor will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Nelson Mandela University with whom we have strong collaborative ties both in research and education.
– The strong focus on sustainability aligns well with SLU’s vision and strategy and SLU researchers and partners have been very successful in securing SASUF seed money for developing collaborative projects and activities. I am thus excited to go and very much look forward to the outcomes of this week, Ylva concludes.
Thank you, we wish you and all the SLU staff a fruitful week in South Africa!