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University of the Free State signs MoU with International Centre for Medical Research in Franceville

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The University of the Free State (UFS) recently welcomed senior members from the International Centre for Medical Research in Franceville (CIRMF), Gabon to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two entities.

CIRMF is a non-profit medical research centre that was established in 1974. Its primary focus is on diagnosing infectious diseases that pose immediate problems in Gabon and the Central African sub-region. The centre is dedicated to improving public health through various initiatives, including the training of Gabonese health executives in doctoral and post-doctoral education.

“The signing of the MoU with CIRMF is a step in the right direction as the UFS continues to strengthen its footprint on the African Continent. This is seminal in driving the university’s internationalisation processes and opening an avenue to expanding research networks, especially in the African continent,” said Bonolo Makhalemele, Coordinator of strategic projects at the Office for International Affairs, UFS.

In the interest of developing broader research collaborations, the CIRMF delegation met with some UFS academics in a series of engagements, particularly in the Health Sciences Faculty and the Natural and Agricultural Sciences Faculty. “The integration of knowledge and practices that emanate from the continent provides opportunities for the co-creation of knowledge that can be shared with the rest of the world,” said Kagiso Ngake, Coordinator for Partnerships, Collaborative Degrees, and Outgoing Mobility at the Office for International Affairs, UFS.

A concrete roadmap was established to formalise the collaborations that resulted from these engagements and will commence as soon as April 2023. “We have laid a solid foundation and are on the way to a strong and rich partnership!” exclaimed Prof Jean Bernard Lekana-Douki, Director General at the CIRMF.

Prof Francis Petersen, Rector, and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, further highlighted how the newly established partnership with the CIRMF aligns with the mandate of the UFS Vision 130 of expanding the UFS Africa research network.