Since 2007, the Department of Mathematics is involved in a number of projects in collaboration with universities in low-income countries in Eastern and Southern Africa and in South East Asia. It started with a project in Rwanda that is still going on and then continued in Tanzania and Uganda from 2015, Mozambique from 2017 and Cambodia from 2019. In all projects, the department collaborates with other universities in Sweden. These projects are part of bilateral research programmes that are funded by Sida.
Postgraduate training: At the core of these projects is PhD training of staff of the partner universities, aiming at increasing the share of qualified staff in the departments that we collaborate with. This PhD training takes place either in Sweden in the sandwich mode or locally. Supervision of the PhD students is done jointly with supervisors both in Sweden and at the university that the PhD students come from. Many staff members from LiU and the partner universities in Sweden are also involved in developing Master’s and PhD programmes as well as in the teaching in these programmes.
A goal that is common for all projects is to support the establishment of a conducive environment for research in mathematics and statistics. This involves activities like collaborative research projects, postdoc fellowships, workshops and conferences. We have also organised trainings of supervisors and workshops on publication strategies.
In these projects, we are trying to promote the use of mathematics and statistics in other disciplines within academia and in society, for instance through multidisciplinary research projects. In Rwanda, we have been involved in organising celebrations of the International Mathematics Day or π-day as well as national mathematics competitions.
The regional perspective
To secure sustainability of the results already achieved, the focus of the projects has over the years more and more shifted towards regional collaboration. This includes joint curriculum development and review as well as using regional staff for teaching and supervision. A series of network meetings were furthermore arranged in Sweden, Uganda and Ethiopia, which has led to the formation of 11 international research groups. In 2019, the East African Centre for Mathematical Research was established. The centre aims at promoting and coordinating research and postgraduate training in pure and applied mathematics in the East African region in order to meet the needs of the society.
Collaboration with International Science Programme
The Department of Mathematics has collaborated with International Science Programme, Uppsala University, for about ten years. Through this collaboration, the Department has hosted PhD students and postdoctoral fellows from Eastern Africa and has also organised a number of common activities together with International Science Programme like the network meetings for PhD students and Postdocs.