The University of Bath has become the latest university to endorse the Africa Charter for Transformative Research Collaborations.

Formally launched in July 2023, the Africa Charter for Transformative Research Collaborations calls on higher education/research institutions and networks, research funders, research and HEI assessment bodies, international science bodies, science publishers and governments to align their policies and regulatory frameworks to require, enable and reward inquiry that adheres to the principles for a transformative mode of research collaboration.

The Charter is an Africa-centred framework that will serve to advance and uphold the continent’s place in the global production of scientific knowledge. It accords with core values of the 2022 UNESCO framework on Open Science and builds on ongoing, significant efforts to promote equity in research partnerships.

The Charter was co-created by Africa’s major higher education constituencies, including the Association of African Universities, African Research Universities Alliance, African Academy of Sciences, CODESRIA and International Network for Higher Education in Africa and the Charter initiative is co-facilitated by the Perivoli Africa Research Centre at the University of Bristol, in partnership with the University of Cape Town and the University of South Africa.

The Charter aims to redress entrenched power imbalances in global knowledge production and foster more equitable and impactful research partnerships between Africa and the rest of the world. The charter is framed explicitly as the start of what will become a much wider initiative and dedicated programme of work to advance the implementation of its principles and aspirations.

The Charter sets out a number of key objectives, including:

  • Creating a radically new approach to research collaboration that redresses deep-seated divides in the generation of scientific knowledge
  • Championing this reformed equitable way of working as standard and best practice
  • Introducing an Africa-centred framework setting out guiding principles and measures of success and accountability

The Charter’s principles and aspirations have been endorsed by major African and global university networks and foremost public and private higher education institutions within the continent, to key universities from Europe, North America and Latin America. Additional support for the pursuit of the Charter has come from international bodies such as the International Science Council – while several funding agencies have signalled their willingness to engage seriously with the initiative.

On signing up to the Charter, Professor Julian Chaudhuri said:

I am delighted that we have signed up to the Africa Charter. This reinforces Bath’s commitment to international research, and to deeper partnerships with the global academic community. This Charter aligns with our strategic vision of fostering transformative research collaborations that respect and enhance the global production of knowledge.