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Upcoming Events:

University of Jyväskylä (JYU) : SANORD Conference 2018

SANORD Conference 2018: The local conference committee of University of Jyväskylä completed the selection of abstract process. The selected abstract owners have been informed about their acceptance.  Online Registration is now open and we urge all prospective delegates to register online to benefit from the Early BIrd registration fee, deadline is 31 May 2018. Various Registration fee rates are available to Southern African, Nordics, Students/Doctorals and non-SANORD members. Please find more information about the conference programme, registration and practicalities on the conference website:   http://www.jyu.fi/sanord2018

SANORD 2018 Partner Days: Prior to the Annual SANORD Conference, SANORD Partner Days are organized on the 13th August 2018, by all 3 Finnish SANORD member universities, providing the conference participants an opportunity to visit and explore the partnerships with the wider SANORD community in Finland. Partner days will be organized by University of Eastern Finland, University of Tampere and University of Turku. For more details see partner day outlines on the conference website or contact the partner day organizers. Read more:

UniPID - Finnish University Partnership for International Development

FinCEAL Infobank: Are you looking for Finnish academic partnerships? Check out and search for Finnish expertise in the FinCEAL Infobank, a multidisciplinary database of research and capacity building projects carried out by the Finnish research community on/in/with Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The purpose of the Infobank is to facilitate knowledge exchange, communication and cooperation opportunities between the research communities in the above mentioned regions and Finland. The database can be found here: http://www.unipid.fi/infobank/

University of Pretoria (UP) to co-host International Sorghum Conference in 2018

The first world conference on Sorghum in over 30 years will be hosted jointly by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet of Kansas State University, USA, and the University of Pretoria (UP) in April 2018.

Prof John Taylor and Dr Janet Taylor of the Department of Consumer and Food Science at UP are serving respectively as Chair and Secretary of the local South African organising committee of this conference with the theme 'Sorghum in the 21st Century: Food, Feed and Fuel in a Rapidly Changing World'.view this email in your browserRead more


University of Bergen (UiB) in the world’s top ten

UiB is the eighth most quoted university in the world within Humanities, according to a new ranking from Times Higher Education. “Although scholars of Humanities like ourselves tend to take these kind of rankings with a pinch of salt, I must admit it is encouraging news”, says Jørgen Sejersted, Dean at Faculty of Humanities, UiB. Read more:

Top ten most quoted: Dean at Faculty of Humanities Jørgen Sejersted finds it encouraging that UiB is the eighth most quoted university in the world within humanities. Here togehter with Anne Beate Maurseth, Vice Dean of Research and Communication.

University of Pretoria (UP) GIBS selected as United Nations PRME Champion for 2018-2019 Cycle

University of Pretoria (UP) GIBS selected as United Nations PRME Champion for 2018-2019 Cycle

The University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) has been selected as one of 38 global business schools to take part in the 2018-2019 Champions cycle presented by the United Nations Global Compact and Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). The PRME officially announced the 2018-2019 Champion schools at the Global 100 Executive Roundtable which took place during Davos 2018.

To be considered as a PRME Champion business schools need to be committed to contributing to future leadership development through responsible management education as outlined in the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development.     Read more:

University of Tampere - Faculty of Social Sciences joins the publishers of a leading gender studies journal

At the beginning of 2019, the Faculty of Social Sciences (SOC) of the University of Tampere will participate in the publication of NORA  -  Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research. For 2019 – 2020, the editorial office of the journal will transfer to Finland from the University of Oslo, and the three editors will come from the University of Tampere.

Published by Taylor & Francis, NORA is a prestigious journal in its field. It is placed in the second highest classification for leading journals in the Finnish Publication Forum (JUFO). Read more:

Uppsala University (UU) Major collaboration on Sustainable Development starts with South Africa

The South Africa–Sweden University Forum (SASUF) involves 23 universities in South Africa and 7 in Sweden. At a first Research and Innovation Week in Pretoria in May 2018, around 400 researchers, senior university officers, and representatives from research funding bodies and ministries will discuss sustainable development in Sweden and South Africa. Uppsala University will be represented by 17 researchers from a range of disciplines.

A new international collaboration has just started between Sweden and South Africa. The South Africa–Sweden University Forum (SASUF) is one of the largest projects of its kind, involving a total of 30 universities and a number of research funding bodies and other actors. The aim is to create research cooperation on global challenges. Uppsala University is the coordinator. Read More:

CROP-UIB PUBLIC LECTURE - Perspectives on the Democratic Developmental State

Workshop participants: Cape Town, February 2018

Workshop participants: University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, February 2018

The Faculty of Social Science at the University of Bergen, Norway, the Comparative Program on Poverty Research (CROP), UNESCO, and the Southern Africa-Nordic Center (SANORD) hosted a Public Lecture on 27 February 2018 in honour of Emeritus Professor Chris Tapscott.  Prof Tapscott served the University of the Western Cape, School of Government for more than 20 years and has promoted a deep and long-lasting cooperation with academics, students, university leaders, and administrators from the Nordic countries. In the process he also succeeded in eliciting the support of the Norwegian government in funding the construction of the building which now houses the School of Government, and which, over the years, has been the site of many fruitful academic engagements between Nordic and South African scholars and students. 

The lecture was presented by one of Norway’s most prominent academics, Professor Stein Kuhnle, (picture) who spoke on the topic: “The Nordic welfare state, the Nordic development model”. Professor Kuhnle is widely published and through his life-long interest in, and writings on, the welfare state he has contributed more than most to public understanding of the particularities of the Nordic model of development  Read more:

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)

New Research Chair: Biotechnology:

The new Research Chair of CPUT’s Institute of Biomedical and Microbial Biotechnology (IBMB) plans to take the institute to the next level over the next five years. Prof Jeanine Marnewick is no stranger to the IBMB, having previously served as Co-chair to Prof Wentzel Gelderblom.

Prof Jeanine L Marnewick (picture), who also heads up the Oxidative Stress Research Centre in the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, made the headlines in 2011 when her clinical trial revealed that drinking six cups of rooibos per day holds definite health benefits, and specifically helps to reduce oxidative stress in the body and improves the cholesterol profile – all aspects that modulate the development of heart disease. Read more:

5th IAU (International Association of Universities) Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education

The International Association of Universities (IAU), a global Higher Education membership-based organisation under the auspices of UNESCO is currently conducting its 5th Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education.

This is the longest running internationalization survey of its type, with the first survey being undertaken in 2003. More information and executive summaries of all surveys are available at                        https://www.iau-aiu.net/Internationalization?onglet=2  https://www.iau-aiu.net/Internationalization?onglet=2

Please take the survey in:

English at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BB97JTJ
French at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BB97JTJ?lang=fr
Spanish at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BB97JTJ?lang=es

University of Iceland - A large grant to research the challenge of terrorism in the Nordic countries

Three scientists at the School of Social Sciences at the University of Iceland and their Nordic partners have received a grant of 120 million Kronur from Nordforsk to research the impact of the threat of terrorism on citizens, and the impact of counter-terrorism legislation on people's views on democracy, and their trust towards the authorities. Read more:

University of Cape Town (UCT) performs in 2018 subject rankings

UCT has been ranked among the top 50 universities in the world in three subjects in the 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject: Development Studies, Geography and Sport. A further eight subjects are in the top 100. Read more:

With 11 subjects in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018, UCT graduates have every reason to be proud of their Alma Mater.

Central University of Technology (CUT) - FameLab: confidence boost for young scientists

FameLab is one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world where young scientists get the opportunity to present scientific concepts to the general audience in three minutes. In South Africa, the competition is led by the British Council, South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and Jive Media Africa. Read more:

From left: Ms Refilwe Moleyane, Academic Exchange Coordinator: International Office (judge); Ms Mamosa Makaya, Deputy Director: Communications at UFS (judge); Ms Sylvia Mokuoane from CUT (winner), Prof. Alfred Ngowi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research Innovation and Engagement; Dr Vanessa Agbedahin from UFS: Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development panellist (UFS), and Ms Emmie Chiyindiko from UFS (winner).

UCT - A new laboratory for visualising the universe

The Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) has launched a new visualisation facility at the University of Cape Town: a shared space where astronomers from around the country can explore their data – and find answers to some of the biggest questions about our universe.

This is particularly relevant ahead of the development of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – an international effort to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope in South Africa and Australia. This project, which will generate data at an unprecedented rate, signals a new frontier in data-intensive research. Read more:


UP - Finding simple ways to maximise the strength of your bones

UP: Finding simple ways to maximise the strength of your bones

Needless to say, without bones in our bodies, we would not be able to survive. Bones provide support, give bodies shape, provides protection to other systems and organs, provide attachments for muscles, and contain the bone marrow where blood cells are produced. The rebuilding of bone is a slow process and maintaining a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle is essential.One cannot expect a quick fix when ailments such as low bone density present themselves, stresses Dr Magdalena Coetzee, senior lecturer in the Department of Physiology and Head of the Cellular Bone Research Group at the University of Pretoria (UP). 

The Cellular Bone Research Group:

Back row from left to right: Abe Kasonga, Travers Sagar, Kayla Howard, Bernadette van Heerden Front row from left to right: Shaakirah Moosa, Dr Magdalena Coetzee, Sumari Marais

The Research Group aims to gain a better understanding of bones and such diseases in order to find ways to improve the health of bones by preventing, slowing down or stopping the degradation of bone. Read more:

UP - African genetic diversity could hold answer to unlocking disease susceptibility

A team of South African researchers which includes researchers from the University of Pretoria (UP) recently completed a study aimed at unlocking the unique genetic character of southern African populations.

Professor Michael Pepper, (picture) Director of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and a Professor in the Department of Immunology in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The study involved the genetic sequencing of 24 South African individuals of different ethnolinguistic origins, the results of which revealed a high level of genetic diversity and highlights the potential implications for disease susceptibility in Africans. The study was the first government-funded human genomics research study to be performed on African soil. Read more:

UP - Collaboration leads to breakthroughs in Cancer therapy

The Department of Nuclear Medicine has entered a collaboration with the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), to develop a new breakthrough treatment for cancer patients.

The collaboration enables the Department to treat advanced-stage prostate cancer patients using targeted alpha therapy (TAT). TAT is very expensive and there are strict international security standards regarding nuclear safety. Thus, were it not for this collaboration, the Department would not have been able to treat its patients with this form of therapy. TAT using 225Ac-PSMA has proved to be very successful, with an 85% success in treating patients with advanced-stage prostate cancer,’ explains Prof Mike Sathekge, Head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine. The Department is the only platform in Africa, and one of only three in the world, to offer this treatment. It is situated at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria and treats its patients at the hospital. Read More:

UU - Current brain research on mental illness, memory and sleep

Current brain research on mental illness, memory and sleep

Is there a connection between immunological diseases and mental problems? Is it possible to counter memory loss in dementia? How significant is sleep to the health of the brain?

For example, there has been a clinic for autoimmune psychiatry in Uppsala since January 2015.

It was founded by Janet Cunningham, M.D. and Associate Professor in Experimental Psychiatry, who researches the immune system’s role behind certain kinds of severe mental illness.  Read More:

UCT researchers discover bone disease in a 265 million-year-old mammal ancestor

Researchers from the University of Cape Town's Biological Sciences Department have discovered an unusual bone tissue pattern that was suspected to be osteomyelitis in the femur of an omnivorous therapsid, more specifically known as a Dinocephalian. Osteomyelitis is a degenerative bone disease caused by a bacterial infection which eats away bone. It is common in modern mammals and reptiles as well as in their earliest prehistoric ancestors, which predated the dinosaurs.

Christen Shelton, Department of Biological Science and first author of the paper published in the International Journal of Paleobiology, Historical Biology, said: “While analysing thin sections of the femur under a microscope, I noticed that the bone tissue did not follow the normal growth pattern as that observed in other specimens.”         Read more:

University of Zambia (UNZA) : Unza Dons develop a new instrument for testing Ebola Virus.

Researchers at the University of Zambia in the School of Veterinary Medicine in conjunction with their counterparts at the Center for Zoonosis Control, Hokkaido University, Japan have developed a new tool for testing Ebola Virus. One of the designers Dr Katendi Changula reported at the recent media briefing held in Senate Chamber of the University of Zambia that “….the new instrument can test Ebola viruses in 10 minutes as compared to the current tests which takes several hours for a patient to know the results”. Read more:

Aarhus University (AU) - A small protein with many applications

Researchers from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and from the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University have collaboratively developed and described a llama-antibody that might have significant impact for future diagnostics and treatment of, e.g., kidney diseases.

In a healthy person, our own cells are protected against the effects of the C3 cleavage. However, as a result of mutations in our DNA, this protection might be lost, increasing the risk of developing chronic inflammatory disorders or autoimmune diseases. For a long time, the researchers have been focussing on developing agents that prevent such undesirable complement activation. For this reason, they developed the llama-antibody to prevent cleavage of C3. Llama-antibodies are also known as nanobodies due to their small size, and compared to normal antibodies, they are easy to develop and significantly cheaper to produce. Read more:

CPUT Students’ innovation to transform healthcare services

Three CPUT students have started a commercial enterprise that seeks to bridge the gap between the public and private healthcare systems by focusing on innovative solutions to transform primary healthcare services.Wela Healthcare was founded by third-year Entrepreneurship students, Siyanda Mdukulwana, Naledi Loni and Phila Zita.The trio says they seek to provide accessible, affordable, and efficient primary healthcare services in pre-urban areas using innovative methods. Read more:

Malmo University - Researching atoms sheds light on stars and galaxies

Malmö University researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding how atoms interact with light. Henrik Hartman and Per Jönsson are two of the Physicists working on mapping the chemical elements found in stars. They are joined by PhD students Asli Pehlivan and Madeleine Burheim.

“Our research merges atomic physics with astronomy. We map different elements; essentially, we look at atoms to see how the electrons inside them structure around the nucleus. Atoms are sensitive to different colours of light, so by finding out more about their structure, we can learn what type of light they emit and absorb,” explains Hartman. Read more: