Strategic partnership signed

24 May 2010

Prof Sarah Worthington and VC Dr Max Price celebrate an agreement between their institutionsSealed: Prof Sarah Worthington of the London School of Economics and Political Science and VC Dr Max Price celebrate an agreement between their institutions.

UCT has joined forces with the London School of Economics and Political Science at the University of London to develop and enhance their academic, research, knowledge-transfer and fund-raising activities.

On 11 May the two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding that will benefit the Faculties of Humanities, Law, Commerce and Health Sciences.

Both parties reported a commitment to academic excellence which they said would be enhanced by working together. Future developments between the two institutions could include faculty and student exchanges and collaborative research projects, as well as knowledge-transfer activities such as jointly-branded public lectures, seminars, summer school offerings and training programmes. The school has nurtured a small but strategic partnership network, including Columbia University in New York, Sciences Po in Paris and Peking University in China.

Professor Sarah Worthington, Pro-Director Research and External Relations at the school, said the agreement is important, as her institution has long held the ambition to form strong links with a Southern African university. UCT was a clear choice because of its academic standing, and because the two institutions share the same ambitions, commitment and imagination.

"This is the end of the beginning, and the beginning of the real work," she noted.

Vice-chancellor Dr Max Price said UCT had shifted from a mode of internationalisation characterised by multiple agreements with many partners - with few results - to a more targeted approach. Now the university intends signing fewer agreements with a smaller number of strategic partners.

"Also, in selecting partners, we choose people we think will support certain areas of our work," he explained.

In this instance, humanities is an area under threat in South Africa, Price said, and partnerships like this will help strengthen it as a field, making it appealing and exciting to potential students, funders and the government.

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