The University of Botswana and Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) have signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding committing themselves to joint activities, among them collaborative research.
The two institutions signed the MoU at a short ceremony held at the University of Botswana on February 1, 2018. The UB Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, signed on behalf of UB while Professor Shedden Masupe signed on behalf of BITRI.
Under the MoU, the two institutions undertake to pursue research collaboration and joint projects, graduate student co-supervision as well as staff and student exchanges. In this respect, UB and BITRI recognised their potential to collaborate in a wide range of research projects that will require the sharing of resources such as data, technical publications and journals, reference material and research output.
Regarding graduate student co-supervision, the two institutions agreed to make the necessary and specific arrangements to engage in co-supervision whenever the need arose, taking into account students’ interests and availability of required expertise and other resources.
On staff and students exchanges, the MoU commits UB and BITRI to exchange as widely as is practicable staff and students for learning and capacity building.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Professor Norris emphasised the importance of institutional collaboration and multi-disciplinary approaches to solve national challenges.
“Most of the challenges cannot be solved by one discipline. You need different disciplines coming together to solve these challenges. So when we collaborate, then we can come with effective solutions to our problems,” said the Vice Chancellor.
Similarly, Professor Masupe said given the limited resource pool in the country, it was high time Government introduced a dual employment framework to offset the shortage skilled personnel. He said the MoU was just a formalisation of what UB and BITRI had been doing all along.
Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Professor Martin Mokgwathi, said tertiary education institutions must work together instead of competing. Professor Mokgwathi said the MoU must not remain on paper only, but translate into tangible results.