future Africa

Bernard Slippers, Founding Director, Future Africa, University of Pretoria, South Africa

This article was first published in 2018 in the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network eZINE Volume 1 no 2

Collaboration is the future

There are a multitude of complex challenges that face the world. They include diverse issues such as climate change, food security, biodiversity loss and water resource management. Due to the complex nature of these challenges, it has become necessary to seek solutions through collaboration across many disciplines. 

Creating the right space

Although the need for trans-disciplinary research is being recognised globally, there is still a shortage of spaces that encourage and enable collaboration by scientists from different disciplines. 

A new “Future Africa” campus,  which is under construction at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, aims to drive this much-needed collaboration by offering a dynamic living, learning and research environment.  Here,  a community of African and international scholars will engage in scholarship, dialogue and social responsibility across disciplines, cultures and generations.  

Image credit: University of Pretoria

An holistic environment 

On-site facilities will include offices, living quarters for postgraduate students, accommodation for visitors and a dining facility/function venue. African orphan crops, grown in the campus gardens, will be integrated into the organic food menus prepared and served in the dining hall.

Leading the way

Bernard Slippers, Professor in the department of Biochemistry Genetics and Microbiology, has led the project since its inception in 2014 and is Acting Director of Future Africa.  He says “We hope to have the first people working on site from November 2018, to welcome  our first residents in January 2019 and have the official opening in March 2019.”

Future Africa will help shape a new generation of researchers and academics.  The project will also provide a platform to promote the very best research and innovation from and for Africa. ◼️

Applying the Mindset

This project recognises that accommodation influences the types and quality of collaboration.  Do the spaces you work in stimulate collaboration or reinforce a silo-mentality?   Coffee bars & canteens can facilitate joint work on planned projects and can also stimulate ideas about new opportunities.  Who should you offer to buy lunch or a cup of coffee?