New collaboration takes Africa to Switzerland

5 February 2015

The University of Cape Town has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, a leading European university focused on innovation and the natural sciences.

The agreement will strengthen a collaboration that will facilitate a two-way exchange of high-level ideas on issues crucial to both continents, including urbanisation, infectious diseases, material science and data-intensive research.

African voice

Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price signed the MOU with ETH Zurich in January, en route to the Global University Leaders Forum at Davos. He was the only African university head to be invited.

Both platforms have enabled Price to ensure that there is an African voice in global debates around issues such as health and urbanisation, and that international leaders inform research (and teaching) on the continent.

Future cities

There are already useful collaborations in place between the two universities. For instance, in the study of urbanisation, ETH Zurich’s Future Cities Laboratory has a similar interdisciplinary approach to UCT’s African Centre for Cities.

Both centres bring together environmental challenges, such as landscape resource consumption, with social development, such as inclusion and housing.

Technical engineering is the core of the Future Cities expertise, which would add great value to the work of the ACC, says Professor Danie Visser, the deputy vice-chancellor responsible for research.

A hub of major networks in Africa, the ACC is the continent’s leading university-based urban research centre and has become a sought-after research partner.

ETH Zurich is where Albert Einstein received his diploma in 1901.

Source: UCT