New Centre of Excellence opening the way for collaboration and world-class research. 

The Wits African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) has been awarded the right to host a new Centre of Excellence (CoE) which is opening the way for collaboration and world-class research in migration.

The five-year research programme which ACMS will be working on is entitled ‘Mobility and Sociality in Africa’s Emerging Urban’. The project will explore the changing nature of urban life in an era of mass migration.

According to Professor Loren Landau who is coordinating the programme, ACMS submitted a proposal to the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) secretariat which decided that Wits could “best forward [ARUA’s] mission of developing research and training on core African issues”.

Director of Research Development at Wits, Dr Robin Drennan, said that ARUA offered Wits “a wonderful platform to network with some of the more research active universities across Africa”.

This, he added, would “allow our scholars to tackle important questions that may not be bound by national borders”. The question of human migration is a perfect example of a topic that requires a regional and even continental approach.

The work ACMS will be doing as part of the new CoE is in line with ARUA’s vision of making African researchers and institutions globally competitive and to promote collaboration in Africa.

According to Drennan, “The nature of these centres is that they must involve other ARUA partner universities in similar research questions.”

Head of School of Social Sciences Professor Mucha Musemwa said that, “It needs to be stressed that Wits University already hosts a number of CoEs but this particular one has a different and much broader thrust in that it is deliberately intended to attract world-class researchers from member universities in the ARUA … to carry our inter/cross-disciplinary research.”

Partnering universities on this initiative include the universities of Nairobi, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Cape Town. The ACMS is working towards opening up other connections that will develop supportive networks to the benefit of African societies.

Landau added that this opportunity was part of ACMS’s continuing efforts to build research capacity and perspectives that are globally relevant, but shaped by African interests and engagements.