University of Exeter team visits Kabale University under the SEBU Project

University of Exeter team visits Kabale University under the SEBU Project

On Monday, June 19th, we were delighted to host a team from the University of Exeter, Great Britain. A team of five graduate students from the same university was led by  Ilya Maclean.  Ilya is an Associate Professor of Global Change Biology at the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus. The top management of Kabale University was met by the delegation. In addition to the biodiversity project between the two universities, they discussed potential areas for collaborative interest between them. As a result of the meeting, both teams agreed to continue their collaborative research efforts.

The University of Exeter is collaborating with Kabale University on the Site Selection to Protect Papyrus Endemic Biodiversity in Uganda (SEBU) project funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. Through its experts and collaborating graduate students, the University of Exeter provides critical technical support to the project. When receiving these guests at Kabale University’s main campus located on Kikungiri hill, the Vice Chancellor Professor Joy C Kwesiga expressed her appreciation for their partnership with Kabale University. She noted that the collaboration will enable Kabale University students to gain valuable insights and skills from their counterparts at the University of Exeter. She also expressed her excitement at the prospects of the partnership and the opportunities it will create for the students and the two universities.

Professor Kwesiga, along with some members of the University management, stressed the importance of academic synergy in order to address the current world problems through collaboration and international partnerships. Her delight at hosting the distinguished guests was reflected in her emphasis on the shared commitment to excellence in research. She specifically congratulated them on being part of the winning proposal team. Furthermore, she stressed the importance of breaking down barriers in order to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing. Her appreciation for the visitors’ presence, as well as their enthusiasm for the project, were expressed.

Aside from acknowledging the expertise and reputation of the University of Exeter, the Vice Chancellor expressed her enthusiasm for the potential collaborations that may be a result of the current partnership. A major theme of the Vice-Chancellor’s address was the importance of such visits to broaden academic horizons and foster global connections. According to her, Kabale University is committed to providing an environment that fosters knowledge exchange and academic excellence. She was confident that the relationship between both universities would be mutually beneficial. She also believed that the partnership would lead to expanded opportunities for students and faculty alike. She concluded her speech by wishing the visiting University of Exeter team a successful visit.

Prof. Ilya Maclean also expressed his gratitude for Kabale University’s warm welcome and hospitality. His remarks acknowledged the shared values and aspirations of the two institutions and expressed optimism about future collaborations, which would undoubtedly contribute to the advancement of knowledge and research. As the principal technical adviser for the SEBU project, Ilya has conducted research around Lake Bunyonyi. Bringing a wealth of experience to the project, he serves as the lead supervisor of the Exeter University team of students. During this visit, KAB University is extending its international network, fostering academic collaborations, and launching SEBU project. The event promoted collaboration among leading scholars and researchers as well as the institution’s commitment to providing a vibrant academic environment.

At the meeting with the University management and guests from the University of Exeter, the project consultants were also present. Mr. Steven Kigoolo  is a herpetologist who is also the herpetofauna consultant for the project. Steven brings over 20 years of experience in the field to the team. Godfrey Sempungu, the project communication consultant, and Dr Julius Arinaitwe, the co-principal investigator and coordination consultant, were also present at the meeting.  

As part of the meeting, students who will be participating in the first year project activities were also present. These students included Billy Rolls, Sam Rude, Evan Chad, Polly Hughes, and Peter Oldcorn, all of whom are graduate students at the University of Exeter. Loy Natukunda and Shafati Natukunda are Ugandan graduate students who participated in the meeting and are involved in the project. Dr Phiona Mutekanga is another key project member in the meeting who is  Master student supervisor on the project. Students involved in the project are all enrolled in graduate programs at the two universities participating in the project.

Through the seeds of collaboration sown during this visit, the future holds great potential for fruitful collaboration in research, innovation, and academic excellence for both institutions, making a lasting impact on society and the academic community. Clearly, a synergy should result in greater results as demonstrated by the SEBU project. 

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