The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is funding a total of eight interdisciplinary “Global Centers” to address global challenges in a new program. The University of Bonn is involved in two of the projects: One project focusses on the future of African savannahs and the other on early detection and management of infection risks in West Africa. The funds are granted by the German Federal Foreign Office and amount to around 2.8 million euros per center until 2025.
German universities were invited to apply for the DAAD program with partners from the respective countries and other international partner organizations to set up the “Global Centers”, which will be established in countries of the Global South. The centers will teach and conduct research on an interdisciplinary basis and engage in close exchange with academia, politics, business and civil society to ensure the transfer of new findings into practice. Networked among each other, they will contribute to global solutions.
“The fact that the University of Excellence Bonn is involved in two of a total of eight new ‘Global Centers’ is a great success on which I warmly congratulate our globally networked researchers,” says Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch. “The funding is not only an impressive confirmation of our networking and internationalization strategies, but also of our scientific focus on sustainable development, the Global South and global health.”
Savannas: Important ecosystems and habitat for humans
The Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn is responsible for the project “African Climate and Environment Center – Future African Savannas” (AFAS). “Nature-based solutions approaches can contribute to the protection of savannas regarding climate change and at the same time offer people prospects for the future,” says ZEF Director Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister. Together with the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire), the University of Nairobi (Kenya) as well as the University of Cologne, representatives from science, politics and the private sector will identify relevant research questions and train experts. “AFAS will take an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to education and research with strong digital teaching, learning and research components and link it to the diverse research activities at ZEF as well as to the virtual learning management system that has recently been established there,” the ZEF director added. A joint master’s program is planned in Abidjan and Nairobi. Doctoral students and postdocs will also be integrated into the program, in close cooperation with the Bonn-Cologne Collaborative Research Center (CRC) Future Rural Africa, among others.
Early detection and management of infection risks
The “German-West African Centre for Global Health and Pandemic Prevention” (G-WAC) is concerned with the early detection and management of infection risks in West Africa. “With pandemic prevention, the center is dedicated to an important part of the large field of global health, which is particularly visibly represented in Bonn by its own course of study,” says Prof. Dr. Walter Bruchhausen, head of the Global Health Section at the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health at Bonn University Hospital (UKB). Together with Prof. Dr. Achim Hörauf from the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology (IMMIP) at the UKB, he conceived the Bonn part of the project. A new Global Health degree program is to be established in Kumasi (Ghana). Joint courses are also planned for the field of “One Health”. About 15 doctoral students from West Africa will be supported in their research by supervisors from Ghana and Germany, including study stays in Bonn and Berlin. In addition, there will be short courses for further education. The Berlin School of Public Health (Technical University and Charité Berlin) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana are equally involved in the project.
The DAAD is funding a total of eight interdisciplinary “Global Centers” to address global challenges. Four are conducting research and teaching on climate issues, and four others on health issues and pandemics. The German Federal Foreign Office is supporting the establishment of the centers with a total of around 22 million euros until 2025.