Professor Bjørn Enge Bertelsen represents GRIP as co-investigator in a new WUN funded project, “The New African Urban University: Building partnerships to realise the promise and potential of sustainable urban transformations”.
The project is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Bergen; the University of Bristol; the University of Cape Town; the University of Ghana; the University of Sheffield; the University of Western Australia; the International Science Council and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. The project’s Primary Investigator is Dr. Zarina Patel, Associate Professor of Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town.
A sustainable shape for urban development
“What is really important about this project, is that it contributes to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) by rethinking both the co-production urban knowledge and the future of African universities. Crucially, instead of seeing African cities as characterized by lack or failure, the project is based on the assumption that we must harness the promise and potential of African cities and that this hinges on amplifying and supporting what we call the New African Urban University,” says Enge Bertelsen about the new WUN project, which is led by the University of Cape Town, another major UiB partner institution in Africa.
Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, the Executive Director of the Global Research Programme on Inequality (GRIP), is already strongly engaged in urban development through his research, including the Research Council of Norway-funded Urban Enclaving Futures project, and through work at GRIP, a collaboration between UiB and the International Science Council (ISC).
“For us at GRIP, the project provides a unique chance to work with four African, two British and one Australian university to co-develop innovative and transdisciplinary modes of urban research at African universities. As this is quite a fundamental and experimental rethinking of universities, we hope to learn a lot that can be used for connecting universities and the urban also in non-African contexts. If we are successful, African universities may pioneer pathways to just and sustainable urban transformations.”
He believes that resilience is key to build back better.
“Working towards reshaping knowledge processes and conceptualising universities in a way that acknowledges the key role of the urban, does, in a very concrete way, contribute towards more resilient societies and relevant research and education institutions,” says the anthropologist.
The Worldwide Universities Network
The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is a leading global higher education and research network. WUN is made up of 23 universities, spanning 15 countries on six continents, and has established a Research Development Fund to promote collaborative research.
This post was originally published at UiB’s website.