University of Ghana (UG) receives 9 million DKK funding for BSU II Programme

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA) under the Building Stronger Universities (BSU) initiative has awarded 15 million DKK for phase two of the Building Stronger Universities (BSU) Programme. The BSU, “Building Stronger Universities in Developing Countries” is a partnership between research and higher education institutions in developing countries and Danish universities. The long-term goal of the initiative is to make the participating institutions stronger to play an increasing role in the economic, social and political development of the societies in which they are located; to function as nodes of innovation and knowledge production, providing solutions to local/domestic and global challenges; and produce skilled and motivated graduates that can contribute to the further development of their societies.. BSU I was overseen by the Office for Research Innovation and Development (ORID) at the University of Ghana. ORID continues to oversee BSU II.

BSU II commenced on 1st November, 2014 and will run till 1st November, 2016. The overall budget for the phase two is 15 million DKK. University of Ghana will receive 9 million DKK (60% of the budget) while the Northern (Danish) partners receive 6 million DKK representing 40% of the total budget. The benefits of the phase one of the BSU programme included the training of over a thousand students on varied PhD courses and the award of PhD scholarships to students registered at the University of Ghana to take part of their PhD coursework in Danish Universities such as the University of Copenhagen and the University of Aarhus. In the BSU phase one programme, Universities Denmark was actively involved in the design and implementation of the programme activities. DANIDA has however taken over the management of the BSU programme from phase two and is implementing the programme as part of their portfolio in a direct cooperation with selected universities in the South. DANIDA facilitated a match-making directly between selected universities in the South and Danish universities and research centres.

At the University of Ghana, the BSU II Coordination Team is led by the Director of Research at ORID, Professor Andrew Adjei and supported by scholars from the Department of Geography and Resource Development, School of Public Health, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Department of Marketing and Customer Management at the University of Ghana Business School. ORID provides excellent support through a cohort of administrative and financial personnel. The BSU II coordination team at University of Ghana comprises Prof. Paul Yankson, Dr. Kwadwo Owusu, Dr. Mawuli Dzodzomenyo, Dr. Michael Ofori, Dr. Goerge Obeng Adjei and Prof. Robert Hinson. On the Danish side, the BSU Team is headed by Dr Finn Plauborg of the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University in Denmark.

The processes leading to the acceptance of the inception report and award of the 9 million DKK grant in November 2014 entailed a series of meetings at the University of Ghana and also at Danish Universities that are part of the BSU II programme. These Danish institutions are Aalborg University, AAU (Department of Business and Management); Aarhus University, AU (Department of Bioscience, Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Agroecology, Department of Public Health); Copenhagen University, KU (Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Department of Science Education, Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology); Technical University of Denmark, DTU (National Food Institute) and CG Consulting, CGC.

Organized under 3 work packages, the overall objective of BSU II will be to enhance the capacity of the University of Ghana to achieve its vision to become a world-class research-intensive University. The intermediate objectives are to i) strengthen the University’s institutional capacity to deliver high quality research and PhD education and training; ii) strengthen the University’s newly established Centres of research Excellence to contribute towards the university’s vision of becoming a world-class research-intensive university engaged in high quality research; iii) strengthen faculty capacity for PhD delivery; and iv) improve university-wide research administration-related facilities and processes that support research and training.

The BSU II programme is designed as three work packages. Work package 1 addresses issues of strengthening UG’s institutional capacity for PhD delivery whilst work package 2 deals with improving UG faculty capacity for PhD delivery. Work package 3 also addresses the strengthening of the administrative and financial capacity and improving teaching and research infrastructure support at UG. Work package 1 has the twin outcomes of equipping UG’s doctoral students with stronger theoretical and methodological skills for their research projects and secondly, the upgrading of UG faculty’s ability to deliver high quality (generic and subject-specific) PhD courses. Work package 2 involves the achievement of three specific outputs: strengthening Faculty research, teaching capacity; and supporting experiential learning on platforms of the Centres of Excellence. Work package 3 aims at: enhancing administrative capacity, improving financial and administrative capacity and improving teaching and research infrastructure support at UG.