DIES Information Visit for Vice Chancellors from Ghana to Germany

Bonn - Cologne - Bochum, 28 November - 1 December 2023

As part of the DIES programme (Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies, the HRK organised a four-day information visit for Vice Chancellors from Ghana to Germany from 28 November to 1 December 2023.

Universities and research organisations call for new framework for cooperation

02.06.2023: Call for action

In a joint effort to promote equal research partnerships and achieve sustainable development in Africa and Europe, higher education institutions and research organisations from all parts of Europe and Africa urge the African Union and the European Union to develop a comprehensive, long-term vision for the AU-EU Innovation Agenda and launch an integrated Africa-EU Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Programme.

The call is supported by the HRK, other European Rectors' Conferences as well as other organisations representing some 2,000 higher education and research institutions in Europe and Africa.

Scientific cooperation between Europe and Africa

21.06.2021: Joint declaration EU - Africa

In the joint declaration "Enhancing Research Excellence at African Universities through European-African Cooperation", the European higher education community appeals to the European Commission to promote and further strengthen scientific cooperation with Africa. The more than 1,100 signatory universities emphasise that intensified research cooperation between Europe and Africa is crucial for both continents' efforts to jointly tackle major challenges such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, inequality, the digital transformation and climate change. The declaration initiated by the HRK was signed by 19 national rectors' conferences and the European University Association.

Enhancing Research Excellence at African Universities through European-African Cooperation

18.01.2021: Online Seminar

To realise the ambitious objectives of the African Union’s Strategic Agenda 2063 and the European Union’s firm commitment to sustainability a new strategic collaboration programme in the area of research, innovation and higher education between African and European universities and research institutions is needed.
The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) offered on Monday, 18 January 2021, in the context of an online seminar a platform for exchange among representatives of European Rectors’ Conferences and experts of African and European partner organisations on future perspectives for the European-African research and innovation partnership.
The meeting comprised a keynote presentation by Peter Maassen, Professor of Higher Education Studies, University of Oslo, Norway and Ernest Aryeetey, Professor of Economics of Development, University of Ghana, and Secretary-General, African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) on new approaches to strengthening Africa’s research and innovation capacity.
The following open discussion and exchange between participants was chaired by Dr Jens-Peter Gaul, Secretary General of German Rectors’ Conference.

  • Excellent science cooperation is urgently needed and is widely supported by the participants.
  • This approach must take place on several levels: Funding organisations (national, European, international), institutional, national rectors' conferences including EUA, EU institutions.
  • Existing programmes must open up thematically and be increased financially. At the same time, massive efforts must be made to raise research cooperation to a qualitatively higher (excellent) level.
  • The participating organisations will communicate the topic to their institutions. Follow-up events are planned to consolidate the discussion and exchange.


11.10.2021: DIES Web-Seminar: Strengthening higher education cooperation with Ethiopia

As part of the joint DAAD/HRK programme to support higher education management in the Global South (Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies-DIES), the HRK held its first online seminar on cooperation with universities in Ethiopia. Various strategies and measures for the internationalisation of higher education institutions were discussed by German and Ethiopian university management, heads of international offices and other experts. The focus was on the possible expansion of cooperation. Both sides showed a strong interest in continuing the dialogue and exchange of experiences.

South Africa

Matchmaking Conference

Group shot of the participants of the Matchmaking Conference

28/29 May 2015, Durban, South Africa

In accordance with discussions of the working group “German-South African Scientific Cooperation”, the German Rectors’ Conference in cooperation with Higher Education South Africa (HESA) organized a matchmaking conference for German and South African scientists.

It took place in Durban, South Africa on 28/29 May 2015, and was hosted by the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
The aim of the conference was to bring together interested scientists from both countries for exchange on structures in study and research, opportunities and challenges. Another focus was the funding of scientific programmes on a national and international/European level.

More than 70 participants discussed ideas of future joint projects in nine different workshops: Environment/Ecology/Biodiversity, Health, Biotechnology and Life Sciences, Economics, Engineering, Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Law, Political Sciences.

German-South African Cooperation in Higher Education

Group shot of a meeting of the German-South African Cooperation in Higher Education

17 September 2013, Berlin, Germany

The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) signed a new framework agreement on cooperation between universities in Germany and South Africa with its partner organisation, the Higher Education South Africa (HESA).

This agreement includes recommendations on cooperation between the universities of the two countries in the fields of teaching, study and research. It is meant to consolidate the long-lasting relationship between the universities of both countries.

In addition, the HRK invited German university presidents to attend a workshop to discuss joint research projects with the leadership of HESA. It was agreed to form a group of experts who are to initiate and monitor future bilateral projects.

In November 2013, the HRK’s assembly welcomed this cooperation and asked its members to join the agreement.

German - South African Year of Science 2013

Group shot of a conference concluding the German-South African Year of Science

15 April 2013: German - South African Rectors' Forum, Leipzig, Germany

To conclude the German-South African Year of Science, the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) organized a conference for German and South African university vice-chancellors in collaboration with Leipzig University.

The Rectors' Forum provided German and South African Vice-Chancellors with a platform for exchanging ideas going beyond specific projects and programmes to topics relating to higher education institution policy. The focus was on questions relating to curriculum reforms in both countries and the consequent opportunities for higher education cooperation, as well as networks for cooperation and research to strengthen individual scientific potential.

South Africa represents an important target country in terms of internationally mobile students and scientists in the global race for the “smartest students”. As a result, issues regarding the development of university profiles through the internationalisation of universities represented a central topic at the German - South African Rectors' Forum. There was a strong need to discuss the fundamental potential of collaboration, which leads to long-term and sustainable partnerships, including with the HRK’s South African partner organisation, Higher Education South Africa (HESA). Read more