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Joint Fellowships and Professorships awarded by the Universities of Bristol and Cape Town to deepen strategic partnership

(Left to right, top to bottom) Dr Eyob Balcha Gebremariam, Dr Francesca Bartoli-Leonard, Dr Ailish Craig, Dr James Duminy, Dr Shanaaz Hoosain, Prof Mark New, Prof Susan Parnell, Prof Leon Tikly

Prof Sue Harrison (left) and Prof Evelyn Welch at the signing of the Professorship agreement in March 2023

Press release issued: 24 January 2024

Six academic staff at the University of Bristol have been awarded joint Fellowships and Professorships to work closely with the University of Cape Town (UCT) on developing opportunities for engagement, impact and longer-term collaboration between the universities and their communities.

In return, up to six academics from UCT will be visiting Bristol as part of the collaboration programme.

Bristol has awarded four Fellowships and two Professorships focused on research themes including climate change impacts and opportunities for health, equitable and sustainable health outcomes (with underpinning themes of social justice, data and digitalisation) and environmental and social sustainability.

The Fellowships are due to run for two years (six months of which will be based at UCT) while the Professorships are due to run for three years (12 months of which will be based at UCT), and the first visits to UCT are already underway.

The participating Professors and Fellows are expected to co-publish papers and submit joint grant applications to continue building the partnership between UCT and Bristol. They will also develop  a programme of engagement with the host university and wider community, which will include giving lectures/talks to relevant audiences during their visits and   contributing to the wider research culture of the university.

The Bristol award holders are:

Dr Eyob Balcha Gebremariam, Research Associate, School of Policy Studies, Perivoli Africa Research Centre

A comparative study on the multiple layers of power imbalances in scientific knowledge production: the case of public health in Ethiopia and South Africa 

UCT host: Associate Professor Divine Fuh, Institute for Humanities in Africa


Dr Francesca Bartoli-Leonard, Senior Research Associate, Translational Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School

Novel markers to risk-stratify paediatric patients with congenital heart disease

UCT host: Professor Tim Pennel, Chris Barnard Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery 


Dr Ailish Craig, Research Associate, School of Geographical Sciences

Climate resilient decision making in the health sector in southern African cities: Characterising and communicating climate information for climate resilient decision making in the health sector in southern African cities 

UCT host: Alice McClure, Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences


Dr James Duminy, Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geographical Sciences

Life-course cities: planning for long-term human health and wellbeing in the Anthropocene

UCT host: Associate Professor Andrew Tucker, African Centre for Cities


Professor Susan Parnell, Professor in Human Geography, School of Geographical Sciences

Mobilising sustainable global alternatives through African cities

UCT host: Professor Edgar Pieterse, African Centre for Cities, and Professor Frank Eckardt, Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences


Professor Leon Tikly, Professor in Education and UNESCO Chair in Inclusive and Quality Education for All, School of Education

Transforming knowledge and research for just and sustainable futures in Africa

UCT host: Professor Azeem Badroodien, School of Education


The UCT award holders are:

Dr Shanaaz Hoosain, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work and Social Development, Humanities

Co-creating knowledge with communities who have a hidden history of slavery

Bristol host: Dr Saima Nasar, Department of History, School of Humanities


Professor Mark New, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, Faculty of Science and Senior Research Fellow, African Climate and Development Initiative

Operational climate impacts attribution

Bristol host: Professor Guy Howard, Cabot Institute for the Environment and School of Civil, Aerospace and Design Engineering


Four further awards will be granted in the second round of the call run at UCT and will be announced once available.

Professor Agnes Nairn, Pro Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement) said: “These Professorships and Fellowships mark an important and exciting moment in our deep strategic research-led partnership with University of Cape Town. It is one of our most important institutional international relationships. These new research collaborations also represent a milestone for our work with the continent of Africa – transforming the balance of research relationships between the global North and South. For the next three years Bristol and Cape Town will be supporting vital cross-fertilisation of ideas, evidence and impact.”

Professor Jeff Murugan, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Internationalisation) said: “The partnership between the Universities of Cape Town and Bristol is remarkable for its depth, breadth and equity, and this latest initiative is an example of deep commitment and trust from both institutions. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who led this partnership and initiative, in particular the previous DVC Research and Internationalisation, Professor Sue Harrison. The Professorships and Fellowships will not only deepen our relationship, sending out roots through some of our best researchers in many directions; it will also produce collaborations that are exemplars of the pioneering work our two universities, together with Universities South Africa, have led in developing a Charter that will transform partnerships between Africa and the global North.”


Further information

Background information on the collaboration programme

Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the University of Bristol has agreed with The University of Cape Town (UCT) to promote academic cooperation between both institutions in areas of common interest. This includes exchanges of staff and information, joint development of research projects and jointly organised scientific and cultural events.

The highly successful ‘Researchers without Borders’ cotutelle PhD programme provides a framework for building research capacity across the two universities, providing new opportunities for students to work on exciting research projects that maximise the complementary strengths and capabilities of both partners. 

The inaugural Bristol Illustrious Visiting Professorship was awarded to former UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Phakeng in 2021 with the aim of fostering engagement between our academic communities and executive leadership teams to identify and develop opportunities for collaborative research, strategic partnerships and mutual learning.

There has also been the conceptualisation and development of a Charter facilitated by the Perivoli Africa Research Centre (PARC) and University of Bristol, in partnership with the University of South Africa Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair and the University of Cape Town Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA). The Charter initiative aims to articulate the principles, goals and guiding frameworks for a transformed mode of research partnerships between Africa and the Global North. The Charter was launched in July 2023. It is envisaged that the research collaborations that emanate from the partnership between UCT and Bristol will reflect the spirit and practice of this Charter. 

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