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UK and African universities form new partnership to strengthen ties across Europe and Africa

Tuesday, 07 February 2023

Academics in the UK and Africa are joining forces to advance research and education across the continents of Europe and Africa.

The University of Nottingham and the Association of African Universities (AAU) have signed a five-year agreement which will promote close collaboration on new international studies and projects.

The University of Nottingham will also host the AAU’s first-ever European office and act as its representative institution in Europe.

The Association of African Universities (AAU), headquartered in Accra, Ghana, represents more than 400 higher education institutions across Africa.

The two institutions have agreed to collaborate in specific areas such as building capacity in staff, researchers and students, as well as quality assurance, resource mobilisation, ICT and other infrastructural development.

Professor Robert Mokaya, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement at the University of Nottingham, and Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole, General Secretary at the AAU signed the memorandum of understanding last week.

The partnership will be hosted by the University of Nottingham’s School of Education and led by Professor Juliet Thondhlana, who is also the UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development.

Dr Juliet Thondhlana
International collaboration is essential to teaching and research. The university is developing a new strategy for engaging with partners in Africa, at the core of which is developing equitable partnerships with collaborators, so we are delighted to be partnering with the AAU to advance research and innovation across our continents.
Juliet Thondhlana, Professor of International Education and Development at the University of Nottingham

Professor Thondhlana added: "I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together as our collaboration grows further.”

Despite the AAU having a number of partnerships with institutions in Europe, the University of Nottingham has become a home and focal point to AAU member universities and its other networks for effective partnerships with European counterparts, particularly with the University of Nottingham itself that has emerged as a world-class, research-intensive university whose research transforms lives and shapes futures.
Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole, General Secretary at the Association of African Universities

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Juliet Thondhlana in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham at or; Felicia Nkrumah Kuagbedzi, communications at Association of African Universities at

Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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