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SANORD June 2023 Newsletter

Strategy 2023

Designed to further multilateral academic cooperation between the Southern African and Nordic regions. Read More:


New SANORD Chair: Dr. Lavern Samuels

Dr. Lavern Samuels: Director of the International Education and Partnerships (IEP) Directorate at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

The SANORD conference will take place between 20-22 September 2023, hosted by INN University, Hamar campus

It is our pleasure to invite you all to Hamar for the 2023 SANORD conference. 

The topic for this year’s conference is “The role of higher education in contributing to just and sustainable futures.” The world is facing several immense crises, and as part of our mission at INN University, we seek to contribute to solving some of these. We have excellent research communities working on topics such as education, health, natural resource management, agriculture and biotechnology, among others.

Registration is now open. 

Important dates

Notification of accepted abstract: 1 May 2023

Registration opens: 1 May 2023

Registration closes: 15 August 2023

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University of the Free State expert to attend the WHO Traditional Medicine G20 Health Ministers Global Summit

Prof Matsabisa Motlalepula, an African traditional medicine expert from the University of the Free State (UFS), will attend the first World Health Organisation (WHO) Traditional Medicine Global Summit in India in August after being invited to serve as a member of the Summit External Advisory Group for the WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit (“Advisory Group”). Read More


The International Education and Partnerships Directorate at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in partnership with the DUT Library hosted the spectacular Africa Day 2022 celebrations, at the Curries Fountain Sports Ground on 27 May 2022.
The Durban community organizations had the chance to rejoice with the DUT faculty, staff, and students during the festive day events. Additionally, they had the chance to participate in discussions about food security and nutrition in Africa, bringing up issues that would alter perceptions and allow for best practices in policies and initiatives that support the continent of Africa. Read More:

A delegation from University of Limpopo, South Africa faculty of health and life sciences visited Linnaeus University in Sweden

A delegation from University of Limpopo, South Africa faculty of health and life sciences visited Linnaeus University counterparts in Sweden in April this year after a linkage was made during the SANORD conference in South Africa in December 2022. During the visit the delegation met with Linnaeus University faculty to explore future planning and collaboration opportunities. The plans entail a seminar in conjunction with the SANORD conference in Hamar. The idea is to send 12 students who have completed their PhDs and masters in health sciences at Limpopo University to Linnaeus University for a joint seminar, presentations and discussions in the area of global and sustainable health linked to SDG 3.  The outcomes may in some way be shared during the upcoming SANORD conference in Norway.

Limpopo delegations’ visit to one of the health centers in the city of Kalmar.

University of Free State choir music represented on the world stage

Being "an agent of change in this ever-changing world" is a lesson Werner Stander, Choirmaster of the University of the Free State's (UFS) institutional choir and part-time lecturer at the Odeion School of Music, learned from the recent World Symposium on Choral Music.
Stander participated at this year's symposium at the Atatürk Cultural Centre in Istanbul, Turkey from April 25 to 30, 2023, along with choir conductors from all over the world as a member of the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM). The symposium's focus was on the 'changing horizons' subject, which asked participants to consider both the state of choir music now and what it could sound like in the not too distant future. Read More

SANORD 2022 Conference in Limpopo

The SANORD Central Office (SCO) would like to thank all the 2022 conference delegates for your contributions towards the conference in the beautiful province of Polokwane, South Africa. Read More: 

University of Cape Town ranks in top 1.4% of universities worldwide

The largest academic ranking of international universities is published by CWUR. Only the top 2 000 of the 20 531 institutions evaluated were given a ranking, placing UCT in the top 1.4% of universities worldwide.

"By doing well in this important world ranking, UCT has once again demonstrated its brilliance in higher education. We will continue to strive toward integrating excellent and relevant research and to be at the forefront of cutting-edge discovery and impact, said Professor Sue Harrison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalization. Read More:

CORDIALIS Project Supports Cultural Heritage with Digital Tools

The University of Turku's School of Languages and Translation Studies is a participant in the CORDIALIS initiative, which develops instructional materials and tools for hybrid education and interaction. The project's first national gathering will be held at the University of Turku on March 21, 2023. Read More:

Rare honour for computing sciences professor

One of two African teachers for a prestigious international mentoring program has been chosen from among professors at Nelson Mandela University.
Prof. Brenda Scholtz, a professor in the NMU department of computing sciences, was also chosen to be one of three panelists at the MIS Quarterly Scholarly Development program earlier this month from among 44 foreign mentor
Throughout the academic year, the curriculum will be delivered as intensive virtual contact sessions. Read More: 

International Conference On Communication And Information Science

Some academics describe the times we're in as "past-truth" times. Facts no longer play as large a role in influencing public opinion as they once did as compared to emotional pleas and personal convictions. The information ecosystem is changing as a result of the technologies. On the other hand, these technological advancements are praised for advancing democracy and democratizing the communication of science, technology, and related matters of the climate and public health. However, there are also increasing worries regarding the rapid rise in the deliberate spread of false and possibly harmful information. The result has been a worsening of the distrust in public dialogue. Read More:

Multidisciplinary Collaboration with African Partners on Sustainability

Through the Internationalisation Programme of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the University of Turku issued an internal appeal in 2022 for seed financing for international projects. Four partnerships that aim to increase and deepen the University's operations with partners in Africa in areas related to sustainability were among the projects chosen for financing. The four programs align with the University's larger strategic goals, which include encouraging transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, education, and innovation in Africa as well as promoting sustainable development as a unifying theme in all activities. Read More:

Doctoral Researcher Arno Ylitalo from the Institute of Biomedicine won the Three Minute Thesis competition of the University of Turku.

On March 8, 2023, the Turku School of Economics' OP lecture hall hosted the 3MT tournament, which featured seven doctoral researchers from the University of Turku. The doctoral researchers have three minutes to summarize their work in order to win the challenge.

Arne Ylitalo discussed his research into novel leukaemia treatments in his winning presentation. According to Ylitalo, it was challenging to summarize a difficult study topic in three minutes, but he came up with the idea to explain the topic through a patient case.

"Considering how excellent every presentation was, I'm amazed I won. Although I wasn't expecting to win, it's wonderful to represent the University of Turku in the international tournament in Coimbra, said Ylitalo. Read More:

CPUT showcases the Centre for Business Innovation and Incubation in Kenya

The Head of the Centre for Business Innovation and Incubation (BIIC), Prof Michael Twum-Darko, was the guest of the British Council at the Commercialisation and Entrepreneurial Institutions Leaders’ (CEIL) Summit 2022 in Mombasa, Kenya.

The intensive two-day summit brought together entrepreneurial driven universities in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Tanzania as well as leading Kenyan government, international organisations and institutions involved in commercialisation of universities’ research, incubation centres and venture capitalists interested in funding innovative projects from universities in Africa.

Twum-Darko showcased the BIIC’s British Council sponsored “Inclusive Industry-linked Technopreneurship Development Infrastructure for graduate employability as a sustainable model to create the culture of research commercialisation-based industry-linked partnership to turn CPUT campus to an engine room for disruptive start-ups”. Read More:

New SANORD member. Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

New SANORD member Tshwane University of Technology , South Africa (TUT).

It is with great pleasure to announce TUT as a new SANORD member.

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) was formed in 2004 following the merger of three Technical Universities, and has since grown into the largest contact University in South Africa, which 
offers programs in science, engineering and technology, business and management, education, humanities and the arts.

TUT positions itself as a people’s university, providing an academic home for all and especially those who are at the margins ofsociety, rural and urban, and maximizes access to higher education to address the trident challenges: poverty, inequality and unemployment.

- Roseanna Avento, Nominations Committee


Finnish academia and companies lead the way towards sustainable nonwoven products in SUSTAFIT research project

Sustainable fit-for-purpose nonwovens project boosts the competitiveness and broadens the export potential of the Finnish nonwovens sector in the growing markets.

The 2,6 MEUR project is conducted by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) and Aalto University and supported by 17 industry partners. Read More: 

The University of Pretoria (UP) hosts international law conference on Hague conventions

The Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria (UP) recently hosted a high-level regional conference focusing on the Hague on Private International Law (HCCH) and the relevance of its work for Southern Africa.

To effectively address global needs, the HCCH creates international legislative measures such as conventions and guidelines. Read More:

Call for papers: Archive, materiality and Nordic literature

Photo: Anno museum

The research group NORLITT (Scandinavian literature and literature didactics) at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences is happy to invite to a conference on archives, materiality and Nordic literature at Campus Hamar, 27–28 September 2023. Read More: 


Africa Month: Focus on Africa is key to UFS internationalisation process

A focus on the African continent is central to the University of the Free State’s (UFS) internationalisation strategy, which envisages an Africa-imbued internationalisation process that advances Africanisation and decolonisation and includes a focus on expanding researcher networks across Africa.

The UFS considers internationalisation, Africanisation, and decolonisation as complementary processes, and prioritises engagements with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African countries. The university’s Vision 130 emphasises the UFS’s commitment to the development of the African continent. Read More

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) signs historic Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union

Our many months of arduous work at the AU have paid off with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AU Commission (AUC) and the University of the Western Cape. The MoU was signed in Addis Ababa in the AU Commissioner's Office, which houses the AU's main offices.

With the signed MoU are Prof. Vivienne Lawack and Ambassador Minata Samaté Cessouma.

On behalf of the University, I had the pleasure of negotiating and signing the MoU. The African Union was represented by Her Excellency, Ambassador Minata Samaté Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development. Read More: 

SANORD DAY April 19th 2023

On April 19, 2023, at UiB, Bergen Global, Jekteviksbakken 31, Bergen, a regional engagement was held as SANORD Day in collaboration with UiB and HVL. Umesh Bawa, Director of SANORD, was there to encourage network-wide collaboration and research opportunities. Read More:

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at Faculty launches 4IR Research Chair

Setting the tone for the launch during the official proceedings, Dr. Etienne van Wyk, Executive Dean of the Faculty of ICT and acting Campus Rector of the Soshanguve Campus, gave the opening and welcome comments. He emphasized how the world is changing due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is a new period of technological development.

In the context of the 4IR, he continued, "the rapid development of the ICT sector and the rise of global interactivity will play an increasingly essential role in fostering economic growth and favorable societal change." Read More:


The Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a Norwegian sailing vessel, is sailing around the world as part of the One Ocean Expedition.
The objective is to raise awareness and share knowledge about the ocean & critical contribution to a sustainable global development.

The SCO in partnership with HVL and UWC had organized a Beach Clean in honour of this expedition. The SANORD communnity being able to do our part at Black River Park in  strenthneing our partnerships in Higher Education and doing our part as engaged universities.

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The school teaches young people financial skills - discussions at home strengthen confidence in one's own competence

According to a recent research based on PISA data from 2018, financial education in schools increases both financial knowledge and self-confidence in teenagers, whereas talking to parents about money only boosts self-confidence. Financial literacy is also promoted by self-assurance in one's capacity to use digital financial services. Boys were more confident in their financial abilities than girls. Read More:


Discussing the frontlines of water at the United Nations

Out of 1,300 submissions, the University of Bergen's idea for a side event at the 2023 UN Water Conference was chosen as one of 200 official side events inside the UN building. For the conference, a small delegation is traveling to New York. Read More

AI helps researchers understand the machinery of cells

Our bodies rely on proteins for almost everything. They serve as the foundation of our cells and help the cells stick to one another in tissue. Additionally, and perhaps more significantly, proteins serve as the cells' operating system. Proteins carry out a wide range of tasks, including signaling within and between cells, repairing Genetic damage, and controlling blood sugar. This frequently calls for an intricate system of many distinct proteins that coordinate at the appropriate moment, carry out their functions, and then dissolve. Read More


Paul Kah developed a keen interest in welding technology at a young age. Paul is currently a welding technology professor and program head at the University of the West's Department of Engineering. He studies how lithium batteries in electric cars may be made to be more dependable and lasting here, among other things. Read More:

She knows how to gather power around energy solutions

Cecilia Boström is accustomed to finding solutions as an engineer. She kept doing this when she was the department leader for the electrical engineering department. There, the researchers are frequently asked which energy options will help society's requirements  be met the quickest. Cecilia Boström, a university lecturer in electricity, says it's wonderful that there is so much interest in creating a sustainable and reliable energy system. Read More: 

Prof Alvaro Viljoen, DSI-NRF Chair in Phytomedicine, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has bagged the prestigious SFE-Zandu Award 2023, for his remarkable scientific contribution in the field of medicinal plant research.

Prof. Vijoen received the honor at the 10th International Congress of the Society for Ethnopharmacology in Imphal, the capital of the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. 

Prof. Vijoen expressed his excitement at receiving the honor, saying it was for his work on the medicinal plants of South Africa. He says it supports the value and significance of recording the security, effectiveness, and caliber of South Africa's Materia Medica. Read More: 

The thought behind the Coffee Breaks

The SASUF Student Network hosts free, digital activities called International Coffee Breaks every four weeks. By providing this chance for students from South Africa and Sweden to interact, learn, and develop relationships, we hope to promote cultural exchange. Read More: 

Investigating the effects of cooling on neurons

Cooling therapy is employed in medicine as a neuroprotective treatment for critical diseases, such as those that follow cardiac arrest or birth asphyxia. "The mechanism underlying this effect is poorly understood, but cooling appears to shield neurons from damage that would have otherwise occurred after restricted blood flow," says doctor and PhD candidate Salvör Rafnsdóttir. She is currently engaged in research to determine which genes and physiological processes are turned on when cells are chilled to 32°C. A potential medication that appears to activate the body's cooling reaction without actually cooling has also been discovered by Salvör and her team. The team recently won the 2023 University of Iceland Science and Innovation Competition first place because to this finding. Read More

SASUF Research and Innovation Week 2023

A groundbreaking initiative called SASUF 2030 brought together 40 universities from South Africa and Sweden. The initiative explored collaborative solutions to the problems presented by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030 by bringing together prominent researchers, educators, students, university officials, and other stakeholders.Read More:

The University of the Western Cape, Ghent University and the University of Missouri’s joint symposium on Precision Medicine: Therapeutic Targets

The term "precision medicine" refers to a relatively new branch of medicine that uses a person's genetic profile to inform choices about disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Doctors can choose the best treatment and deliver it with the right dosage or regimen by being aware of a patient's genetic makeup. In other words, the nature of diseases, their onset, their course, and their reaction to medications are all very individually influenced by each person's specific clinical, genetic, genomic, and environmental information. It is extremely difficult to translate research from the areas of genomics, pharmacogenomics, and related -omics into clinical applications that can lower the impact of chronic diseases. Read More:

"The world needs more easily accessible information about scientific research,’ UP Africa Week scientific leadership summit hears

Leaders of scientific networks, higher learning institutions, academics, and government entities from across the world have called for reform of the “broken system” related to how scientific research is published and disseminated. The calls were made during the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Africa Week 2023 scientific leadership summit, which took place at UP’s Future Africa Campus in Hatfield from 24 to 26 May 2023.

Participants in the discussion agreed that there are fundamental obstacles that limit the potential of open science as a tool to tackle the world’s greatest challenges. Open science is a global movement to make information about scientific research easily accessible at all levels of society. Read More:

MoU signing: Internationalisation of the Health Sciences in Africa

Senior representatives from the International Centre for Medical Research in Franceville (CIRMF), Gabon, were recently welcomed at the University of the Free State (UFS) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations.

A non-profit medical research facility, CIRMF was founded in 1974. Its main objective is to identify infectious diseases that are currently causing difficulties in Gabon and the Central African region. Through a number of programs, including teaching Gabonese health executives in doctorate and post-doctoral education, the center is committed to enhancing public health. Read More:

The landscape is different, but the connection to nature is the same

Indigenous people typically possess specialized local knowledge that they have gathered over generations of recurrent visits to the same places. Since reindeer herders in Sápmi have been moving their animals from winter pasture to summer pasture for hundreds of years, they are intimately familiar with these places. They can consequently be a resource for choosing between different natural places. The locals can therefore be a resource of information when decisions about natural areas are to be made. Nevertheless, those with the most local knowledge are not always listened to. Read More

The Call for NORPART is now open: Norwegian Partnership Programme for Global Academic Cooperation

NORPART aims to contribute to all facets of the 2030 Agenda, but the program is especially pertinent to SDG 4 – ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all; SDG 5 – achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls; SDG 13 – taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; and SDG 17 – revitalizing the international partnership for sustainable development. Looking through NORPART Projects that have previously gotten financing from HK-dir may be helpful for finding ideas. For more information, please refer to the NORPART programme document and website. Read More

Karlstad University is starting a new research school in collaboration with nine companies and several industry partners.

The aim is to contribute to a sustainable manufacturing industry and future-proofing of the Swedish process industry through needs-driven research.

According to Karin Granström, professor of environmental and energy systems and head of the research school, "Karlstad University has long had a close relationship with the companies and we know that there is a need for research on renewable materials and to improve control and data management in the manufacturing processes." The EXACT research school is focusing on two megatrends: digitalization and a move away from fossil fuels. Read More

The African Network for Women in Astronomy (AfNWA) has announced Dr Al-Shaimaa Hassanin as winner of the newly named “Prof. Carolina Ödman Early Career Award” for Women in Astronomy in Africa.

The nomination recognizes Dr. Hassanin's outstanding contributions to science, her efforts to increase the representation of women in science at various stages of their careers, and her guidance of the following generation of female astronomers. The award's purpose is to recognize and encourage the contributions made by women in astronomy in Africa to science and society. As a result, AfNWA and ISP are thrilled to give this prestigious award to a deserving recipient who exemplifies the goals and ideals of both organizations. Read More


Björn Sjöstrand's study on more energy-efficient paper manufacturing techniques was chosen for the 100 list of 2023 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). The list this year places a focus on research initiatives in the areas of energy production, welfare technologies, cyber security, and disaster preparedness. Read more: 

109-year-old Norwegian vessel ‘Statsraad Lehmkuhl’ docked at Table Bay

The 'Statsraad Lehmkuhl' is partway through the 20-month One Ocean Expedition research expedition circumnavigating the globe.
On the Couch with Pippa Hudson, Umesh Bawa (Director of SANORD and the International Relations office at UWC) and Erlend Eidsvik Professor in geography, at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway.

“It’s a lovely place where students and researchers from around the world…doing research work, having a traveling university, assessing the condition and status of the ocean.”
– Umesh Bawa UWC’s Director of the Southern African Nordic Centre and International Relations. Read More: 

University of Pretoria (UP) and Aviro Health launch app for diabetes management

The Aviro Pocket Clinic app for diabetes was recently released by the University of Pretoria's (UP) Diabetes Research Centre and health tech company Aviro Health. It includes features like patient registration, guided clinic and home visits for type 2 diabetes insulin initiation, lifestyle counseling, and more.

"A single person cannot bring about significant change, but working with businesses and sectors and focusing on innovation can. Partnerships and collaborations are crucial, according to Professor Tiaan de Jager, dean of the UP School of Health Sciences. Read More: