Universities gather for celebration of first anniversary of partnership

Published on 5 September 2023

An alliance between the University of Dundee and Malawi’s six public universities celebrates its first anniversary this year, highlighting enormous opportunities for developing the skills and solutions to address global challenges.

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Building on Scotland-Malawi climate cooperation at COP26, the seven University leaders came together in 2022 to co-develop academic connections, address mutual challenges, and further develop cultural ties. 

The result was the Blantyre Declaration; a blueprint for good partnership and reducing inequality. The declaration represents the shared commitment of all signatories to empower individuals, both in Scotland and Malawi, through a combination of education, research, and community service. 

In its first year, the partnership has already delivered a new doctoral scheme, co-designed with partners to address shared priorities in areas of mutual strength.  

In celebration of the anniversary, partners gathered in Malawi in August for a Malawi Summit, kicking off activities with memorandum of understanding signings, reaffirming commitments to the Blantyre Declaration and plans for partnerships going forward. 


Objectives have been set between Dundee and each Malawian partner university, with a strong focus on research, learning and teaching, and student recruitment and engagement. Numerous collaborative projects are already underway to help achieve these goals, with plans for many more.  

The agreed action plans and MoU signings are an example of how partners are developing a truly equitable approach to identifying key challenges and working together to empower communities to meet them. 

Other summit activities included the latest event in the University’s Africa Lecture Series, which brought together two of Malawi’s leading minds for a shared conversation on social purpose.  

professor aggrey, speaker at the university's africa lecture series

Professors Aggrey Ambali and Richard Mkandawire, experts in their respective fields of science and technology, and socioeconomics, delivered public lectures to highlight challenges and opportunities in terms of research and innovation and transforming agri-food systems.   

Speaking on the partnership between Dundee and Malawi’s universities, Professor Ambali welcomed “a new era of co-creation and collaboration”, while Professor Mkandawire said, “We need collective voices to really facilitate change. Global North institutions, such as UoD, bring new research perspectives that are important.” 

professor richard, speaker at the university's africa lecture series

Another summit activity included a roundtable discussion with representatives from the National Planning Commission for Malawi, including Dr Thomas Munthali, Director General, to explore opportunities to collaborate toward achieving the country’s development vision, Malawi 2063. 

The Government of Malawi launched the Malawi 2063 First 10-year Implementation Plan in 2021, later launching a National Research Agenda (NRA) to guide research, innovation and technology development initiatives with which to meet Malawi’s development aspirations. 

The NPC and partners explored how Malawian universities’ can help operationalise the NRA, and how current and future research in their particular expertise can help realise the country’s development plan.


The final summit activity was a celebration of the three successful Malawian awardees in the 2023 round of the Africa Doctoral Fellowship (ADF) scheme.  

The University of Dundee has recently launched the multi-million pounds scheme, offering 25 fully funded postgraduate research places over 10 years to candidates across Africa, with a particular focus on PhD projects that aim to tackle issues throughout the continent.  

The three Malawian individuals, from Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, the University of Malawi, and Malawi University of Science and Technology, are among the first five successful awardees of the scheme. They will undertake PhDs at Dundee that focus on healthcare, deforestation and groundwater sustainability.  

Professor Iain Gillespie congratulated the three awardees and gave them an early welcome to Dundee.

Learn more about the University’s Africa Doctoral Fellowship scheme

an adf scholar receiving a gift from professor iain gillespie
Africa Initiative

Our long-term commitment to working in equitable partnership in research, education, and engagement, to enrich lives both in Scotland and Africa.


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Story category Africa Initiative