The University was named Education Provider of the Year in this year's Annual African Achievement Awards Scotland.
Each year the University welcomes about 500 African students, many of whom are looking to develop careers in the global energy, IT and business sectors.
The awards organised by the African Forum Scotland pay tribute to African success across all walks of life, recognising and promoting excellence, best practice, and innovation in the worldwide African Community with emphasis on inspirational achievements and role models in the areas of business, sport, entertainment and music, community work, philanthropy, education, leadership, arts and culture.
Dr Hilary Homans accepted the award on behalf of the University from Sierra Leone’s Ambassador His Excellency Edward Mohammed Turay, at a ceremony in Glasgow on Friday 22 November.
Dr Homans, who is Director of the University’s Centre for Sustainable International Development (CSID), expressed her delight at this recognition, saying “This is a tremendous achievement for the University in recognition of the role it is playing in building capacity of African students and institutes in research and education. It is also an acknowledgement of the work the University is doing in educating over a 100 students a year about sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. We are extremely honoured to accept the award from the African Forum Scotland."
Also at the awards ceremony were staff and doctoral students from the University: Dr David Muirhead (Director, MSc Oil & Gas Enterprise Management), Lesley Hetherington (representing the Business School), Adokiye Omoghoyan (Doctoral student in Mathematical Sciences and representing the CSID Nigeria Research Group) and Ponfa Roy Bitrus (Doctoral student in Petroleum Geology).
Subjects which are particularly popular with African students at the University include Petroleum Geology, Oil & Gas Enterprise Management, Petroleum Engineering, Oil and Gas Law, Hydrocarbon Exploration, Oil and Gas Engineering, Safety and Reliability Engineering for Oil and Gas, Computing, Business Studies, Energy Economics and Finance, Global Health and Management and Social Sciences.
As part of the reform of the University curriculum an interdisciplinary undergraduate course in Sustainable International Development has been developed, which was recognised as an example of good practice in internationalising education by the British Council at their 2011 conference 'Going Global.' The Centre for Sustainable International Development has also established a Nigerian Research Group for staff and students working in Nigeria and this provides an interdisciplinary forum for sharing latest research findings.
Following more than 30 years of hosting postgraduate education and research collaboration with sub-Saharan nations, the School of Geosciences is focusing on stimulating the growth of internal capacity in specific academic institutions in Ghana, Namibia and Uganda. These initiatives combine Petroleum Geoscience research and teaching and will raising the international academic profile of participation through collaboration with University of Aberdeen. Similar, though earlier-stage, collaboration is ongoing with Nigerian, Angolan, Gabonese, Kenyan and Tanzanian institutions.
The Immpact research programme directed by Professor Wendy Graham works to improve maternal health throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and . Professor Pamela Abbott inf Sociology has been working in Rwanda for the last ten years conducting research and building capacity in Higher Education. More recently the University has been building research partnerships in Energy Law (Angola, Ghana and Nigeria), Environmental Research (Cameroon, Ethiopia and Uganda), Chemistry (Ghana), Plant and Soil Sciences (Nigeria), Population Health (Nigeria), Peace and Reconciliation (Sierra Leone) and in Medical Science through the Institute of Medical Sciences’ collaboration with South Africa and researchers from Rwanda and Uganda.