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UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA (UB): SANORD Annual Scientific Conference 2019

The 12th SANORD Annual Scientific Conference was hosted by the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana during 11-13 September 2019. The theme for the conference was "The Role of Higher Education in Forging Sustainable Livelihoods" particularly in its alignment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A total of about 170 participants, including Vice-Chancellors of universities, scholars, staff and students attended the conference.

The 2019 SANORD Conference was a great success and we thank all participants and organizers for their preparations and efforts. In particular, we would like to thank UB for making all participants feel welcome, introducing them to the life and culture of Botswana and providing a vibrant platform for thought, exchange of ideas and frutiful discussion. Read more

For the first time in SANORD history, a President inaugurates the Annual Conference!

Since assuming office in 2018, His Excellency has served as the fifth President of Botswana. In his career, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has also served as Minister of Education and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. When officially inaugurating the conference, Dr Masisi said the conference's theme was relevant and timely, "given our increasingly fractured world". His Excellency has challenged institutions of higher learning to take a proactive role in constantly addressing challenges that confront humanity in its endeavour to achieve sustainable development. Read more

SANORD Board Meeting 2019

The SANORD Board Meeting took place on 10 September 2019 at the annual conference. The Board discussed issues such as the 2019 conference updates, the 2020 conference preparation progress, the proposals and applications to host the 2021 and 2022 conferences, the Brian O'Connell Scholarship Programme and Theme Group Project updates, new membership applications and other important matters at hand.

Present at the meeting were the Board Members listed above and here. Tampere University was represented by Sami Pirkola and Kaisa Kurki substituting Juha Teperi. 

Gala Dinner

The Gala Dinner took place on 12 September 2019 at Avani Hotel in Gaborone, Botswana. The evening programme included addresses by Yohana Mashalla, David Norris and Umesh Bawa, a presentation of the 2020 SANORD Conference in Bergen, Norway, dances by a local dance group, music and delicious food. The evening ended with an open floor for everyone to dance. 

Networking at Gala Dinner 

Presenting the SANORD 2020 Conference

Dance Group Performance

Enjoying Gala Dinner

Game Drive & Bush Braai

On 13 September 2019, participants of the conference enjoyed a game drive and bush braai (barbeque) at the Mokolodi Natural Reserve in Botswana. They had the opportunity to see wildlife and have a lovely meal at a serene lake.

Ready for the Game Drive

Bush Braai

CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (CUT): Study Abroad Fair - Information Session

Central University of Technology hosted a Study Abroad Fair - Information Session on 23 May 2019 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Postgraduate students and staff members got the opportunity to meet and liaise with international and local organizations, and learn about a wide range of study and exchange opportunities. SANORD, Campus France, Neso Nuffic, DAAD and the Embassies of the USA, China, Hungary and Ireland presented on the day. The aim of the fair was to create awareness amongst CUT stakeholders.

Leolyn Jackson, Director, International Office, CUT, and Maureen Davis, SANORD Central Office

SANORD Presentation

UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE (UFS): Scholarship & Exchange Mobility Fair

University of the Free State hosted a Scholarship and Exchange Mobility Fair on 22 May 2019 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. This was a great opportunity for postgraduate students and staff members to meet and network with international and local organizations, and learn about a wide range of study and exchange opportunities. Maureen Davis (SANORD), Mervin Bakker (Nuffic Neso), Agnes Juhasz (Embassy of Hungary), Matshaba Mothiane (Fulbright USA), Changhong Wu (Embassy of China) and Jozet Muller (Study in Europe) were among the guest speakers on the day.

Presenters, Organizers and Participants

Maureen Davis with UFS students


SANORD 2020: Welcome to Norway!

The 13th SANORD Annual Scientific Conference will take place in Bergen, Norway, in September 2020. The hosts, University of Bergen and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences are already preparing! The themes of the 2020 conference and more information can be found here

MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: We Welcome Three New Member Institutions!

Linnaeus University (LNU), Småland, Sweden, joins the SANORD family! LNU was formed in 2010 when the former Växjö University and Kalmar University merged into one instutution named after the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. This vibrant instutution is home to more than 33,000 students studying in 150 degree programmes. The Linnaeus community is characterized by knowledge, development and opportunities. Click here for more information on the university.

University of Eswatini (UNISWA), Eswatini, Swaziland, is now also part of the SANORD family. Since 1982, this institution has been excelling in conducting research and carrying out community service and initiatives. UNISWA has three campuses and offers a wide range of academic degrees. Click here for more information on the institution.

We also welcome The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) to the SANORD family. UiT is the northernmost university in the world: it is situated right at the edge of the Arctic. Such location explains UiT's special interest in the exploration of the Arctic and environmental change. UiT attracts students from all over the world. Click here for more information on the university.

EAIE 2019 and 2020: The Largest International Higher Education Conference in Europe

The 31st Annual EAIE Conference took place on 24-27 September 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. The 2019 Helsinki Conference theme was "Encompassing all Voices"The conference was well attended by SANORD members from the Nordic and Southern African regions. Read more

The 32nd Annual EAIE Conference will take place in Barcelona, Spain, on 15-18 September 2020. The 2020 conference theme is "Forging Creative Pathways". We encourage SANORD members to apply as presenters and attend the event. Read more

SANORD Members at the EAIE Conference

EAIE Participants and Contributors

Brian O'Connell Scholarship Programme

The Brian O'Connell (BOC) Scholarship programme aims to provide sponsorships to deserving students from SANORD member universities in the Southern African region to spend 3-5 months at a Nordic member institution. Preference will be given to those research themes aligned with our 2022 SANORD Strategy. The due date for applications was 1 September 2019. Successful candidates will be announced shortly!

Research Theme Group Funding

Theme Group Funding for research aims to support collaborative projects between northern and southern SANORD members. Selected projects receive ZAR 60,000 in support. The due date for applications was 1 September 2019. Application results will be announced shortly!

SANORD Student Internships 2020

In the spirit of supporting student mobility between the Nordic and Southern African regions, the SANORD Central Office offers internship opportunities to students from Nordic institutions. Interns are an important part of the everyday functioning of the office. There are two internships available for one calendar year, each usually a duration of 6 months. Click here for more information about the new Call for Applications.

UNIVERSITY OF GOTHENBURG (UG): Top of Global Ranking of Universities' Sustainability Work

The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings aim to depict the social impact of universities by measuring how they live up to the SDGs. The University of Gothenburg ranks 6th in total, which is the highest amongst the Nordic universities, and 3rd of all European universities. Read more

UNIVERSITY OF TURKU (UTU): Partnership with UNECA to Advance Sustainable Development

To help advance Africa's sustainable industry, innovations and infrastructure, the former Rector of the University of Turku Kalervo Väänänen and Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Carlos Haddad have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. In this collaboration, UTU and UNECA promote SDG 9 with research, science, technology and innovation. Read more

UNIVERSITY OF GOTHENBURG (UG): A Joint Platform for Sustainable Development in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Chalmers University and the University of Gothenburg have decided to establish a joint collaboration platform for research, education and utilization to contribute to sustainable development in the global South, namely countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The new platform is based on the strengths of the research and knowledge centre Mistra Urban Futures and will be established as part of the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development. The new organization will start as of 1 January 2020. Read more


Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies opens the application call for the 2019 Iso Lomso Fellowships. Iso Lomso Fellowships provide a unique opportunity for Africa’s brightest minds in the early career stages in academia. All disciplines are elligible. The application deadline is 15 October 2019. Read more


The 2nd South Africa – Sweden Research & Innovation Week was a great success and we thank all participants and organizers for their preparations and efforts. 450 researchers and 1,500 participants took part in the satellite events during the week. The South Africa – Sweden Joint Declaration, drafted during the SASUF Leadership Summit, has been received by the Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research, Matilda Ernkrans.

The 3rd and final South Africa – Sweden Research & Innovation Week will be held on 4-8 May 2020 in Sweden, with the main research seminar taking place at Uppsala University. In order to attend, please contact your home university to receive a nomination. Find contact details for applications here.

UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND (UEF): Finnish-Namibian Collaboration in Education

University of Eastern Finland has been running the project "Teachers of the future: Finnish-Namibian Collaborative Teacher Education. The paper on the project by Havu-Nuutinen, Avento & Leppänen (2018) is available here

UEF is also working on science, technology and innovation collaboration between Finland and Africa, which Roseanna Avento presented on during the 12th SANORD Annual Scientific Conference in Gaborone, Botswana. The report "Bridging existing and new approaches for science, technology and innovation cooperation between Finland and Africa" by Kagiri-Kalanzi & Avento (2018) is accessible here.

Of interest to SANORD members may also be Master's theses linked to the project, which are available for study and perusal here.

UNIVERSITY OF TURKU (UTU): Change of Rectors

Kalervo Väänänen's term as the Rector of Turku University, Finland, has come to an end in July 2019. SANORD thanks Väänänen for his service and welcomes Jukka Kola as the new Rector, who has taken the post from 1 August 2019.

For more about Kalervo Väänänen’s time as Rector, click here.

For more about the appointment of Jukka Kola, click here.

Kalervo Väänänen.

Photo: University of Turku.

Jukka Kola.

Photo: Helsinki University.


University of Johannesburg welcomes Ylva Rodny-Gumede as the new Senior Director for the Division for Internationalisation. Rodny-Gumede has assumed her new role on 1 August 2019. Read more

Photo: University of Johannesburg.


UNIVERSITY OF TURKU (UTU): Immunological Discovery Opens New Possibilities for Using Antibodies

Doctoral candidates Laura Kähäri and Ruth Fair-Mäkelä, as well as Docent Kaisa Auvinen from the research group of Professor Marko Salmi at the University of Turku have discovered a new route that transports subcutaneously administered antibodies into lymph nodes in just a few seconds. The discovery can have a far-reaching influence on medicine. Read more

"The subcutaneously administered antibodies have been transported into the lymph node and have bound to their specific targets in the blood vessels (magenta), T lymphocytes (green), B lymphocytes (blue) and antigen presenting cells (white). The outside surface of the lymph node is at the very top of the picture."

Photo: Ruth Fair-Mäkelä.

UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA (UP): Engineering 4.0 to Take Transportation into the Future

The University of Pretoria's state-of-the-art Engineering 4.0 building will host Africa’s first independent transport reference and testing facility. It will also be a research hub for smart transport systems. In terms of the SDGs, innovation, infrastructure and sustainable cities and communities are critical for developing any economy. This new hub is aimed at installing UP as a leader in the field and making a distinct contribution to these goals. Read more

Mo Phala of ARC Architects passes virtual reality goggles to UP Vice-Chancellor Tawana Kupe so he can experience what the completed building will look like

Photo: University of Pretoria.

UPPSALA UNIVERSITY (UU): Discovery of Mechanism for the Formation of New Blood Vessels

A group of researchers from Uppsala University, headed by Lena Claesson-Welsh, have discovered a mechanism for the formation of new blood vessels and have shown the importance of this mechanism for embryo survival and organ function. The results can help to control the formation of blood vessels in a variety of diseases. Read more

Source: Elin Bäckström

AARHUS UNIVERSITY (AU): Rethinking how Cholesterol is Integrated into Cells

Cholesterol is best known in connection with cardiovascular disease, but cholesterol is also vital for many fundamental processes in the body. In an international collaboration, researchers from Aarhus University have now presented a completely new, ground-breaking model for the integration and incorporation of cholesterol into cells, with great impact on our understanding of this important process. Read more

Figure: Bjørn Panyella Pedersen

UNIVERSITY OF THE WESTERN CAPE (UWC): Speaking Out for Science and Society

"Everyone needs a vision of what they want to be like when they grow up. For young women to dream of becoming the next big innovator or scientist, they need to be exposed to women who represent those things" (Nicklaus Kruger). Researcher at the University of the Western Cape, Natasha Ross, is one of these women and she will be sharing her work as an advocate of alternative energy at Soapbox Science 2019. Her niche is photovoltaic solar cells, transforming solar energy into electrical energy - something that is crucial for fighting climate change and South Africa’s ongoing energy crises. Read more

Natasha RossPhoto: University of the Western Cape.