Ugandan university signs sustainable development deal with Bangor

Bangor University sustainable development experts are visiting Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda (MUK) this week (February 14-19) to sign a five-year collaboration deal. Bangor University will contribute expertise putting sustainable development into action.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Bangor and Makerere Universities will work as a platform for collaboration under the recently commissioned EC programmes Joint European-African Research and Innovation Agenda on Waste Management, to boost collaborative research and innovation. The partnership could also attract Ugandan and east African students, coming to the UK for extended study and research, to choose Bangor.

The visit will explore ways to collaborate over technical assistance to Makerere University’s implementation of resource efficiency and the wider` network of the Innovations Systems `Cluster Programme, (part of the East African and Continental Pan African Competitiveness Forums). Makerere University also plans to work with Bangor University to embed sustainability in all its work, through teaching, research and developing practical solutions for businesses in Uganda.

Leader of the visiting team, Dr Einir Young, Bangor University’s Director of Sustainability said, “Sustainability and the environment are moving to the top of the international agenda, and our expertise as a University enables us to offer businesses and institutions the knowledge and technical means to put sustainable alternatives into practice, helping them lower costs, increase productivity and be more environmentally and socially responsible.”

The discussions between the universities will focus on:

  • embedding the principles of sustainable development, with particular focus on energy savings and resource efficiency;
  • sharing experiences and best practice on interaction between academic institutions and business, with a view to developing an innovation cluster around alternative materials;
  • identifying collaborative projects for the future.

The visit has also been arranged to lay foundations for pursuing commercial opportunities for Welsh social enterprises looking to find similar SME partners in Africa. It is planned that the relationship with Makerere University and its network of universities across east Africa will help open new doors for sustainable development businesses in Wales.

Dr Young added, “As a consequence of our continued commitment to sustainability, Bangor University is now rated among the top 10% of the world’s greenest Universities, according to an international league table of environmentally friendly institutions.

“We are developing an international reputation for expertise in sustainable development, not just for large corporations and public bodies but for small businesses where every penny lost or won is crucial. We hope that the relationship with Makerere will flourish and that the many students who travel to the UK for further study and research will deepen the link by coming to Bangor.”

The academic delegation visiting Uganda to lay the foundations for the collaboration and discover the extent of the potential are from Bangor University’s Synnwyr Busnes Business Sense (SBBS) and Bio-Composites groups. Both groups have years of experience in supporting businesses in Wales and the UK to adopt economically and environmentally viable innovations, developed through applied research.

SBBS under Dr Young has specialised in embedding sustainability within institutions and has emerged as the corporate focal point for the sustainability agenda within Bangor University. Bio-Composites uses biomaterials including waste and plants, to make bio-products for industry as a way of reducing negative effects on the environment.

Professor John Ddumba Ssentamu, Vice Chancellor Makerere University said, “The collaboration with Bangor University will enable us to offer our students and business partners access to their teaching and practical expertise. As one of the world’s leading universities in applying effective solutions to issues such as energy efficiency, waste management, sustainable recycling and reuse of materials, they are ideal partners.”

The Bangor University team will work with colleagues at Makerere University to embed sustainable practice across the institution, incorporating action research programmes to facilitate the promotion of efficient use of available resources (waste etc.) and adopting cost-reducing sustainable strategies and innovations.

Publication date: 17 February 2015