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Bristol and UCT launch Researchers without Borders PhD Programme

Bristol's Vice-Chancellor and President, Prof. Hugh Brady, with University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng.

From left (standing): University of Bristol Pro-Vice Chancellor International, Dr Erik Lithander; Bristol Doctoral College Director & Associate Professor, Terry McMaster; Carolyn Newton, Specialist: Global Strategy & Visibility, University of Cape Town; Kevin Higgins, Global Bristol PhD Programme Manager; (seated) Prof. Hugh Brady and Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng.

Press release issued: 23 July 2019

The Universities of Bristol and Cape Town have joined forces to launch a new and exciting ‘Researchers without Borders’ PhD Programme.

Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, Professor Hugh Brady, welcomed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, to Bristol, where the signing took place.

Professor Phakeng took part in Monday’s Graduation Ceremony where she was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Science in recognition of her significant contribution to the fields of science and mathematics.

The Researchers without Borders PhD Programme is a Framework that will build research capacity within and across the two Universities, providing new opportunities for students to work on exciting research projects that exploit the strengths and capabilities of both partners. The participating PhD students will be registered at both Universities, with supervisors and co-supervisors at both, and will spend approximately equal amounts of time at each location.

The environment and supervision provided by both Universities will underpin the development of a cohort of richly supported, globally agile researchers who will go on to make a leading impact in their future roles.

Welcoming the start of this programme, Professor Hugh Brady, said “I am delighted to mark the signing of this agreement with our colleagues at the University of Cape Town. It is a watershed moment in our relationship and partnership work in Africa and will support world-class research in new exciting co-evolved projects.”

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, said “This novel programme, with its focus on early career researchers, has great potential to support future leaders and shapers in research and society, whilst bringing two great Universities together in a profound collaboration.”

The Director of the Bristol Doctoral College, Associate Professor Terry McMaster, who instigated and led the development of the Programme, said “Researchers without Borders” signifies our two graduate student communities working in harmony, to support, train and develop the next generation of researchers – they will be uniquely equipped to be globally mobile and will be enabled to make significant contributions in their research and personal leadership.”

The initial support for this Programme has come from the two Universities, the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) and the Alumni community of the University of Bristol. The first cohort of seven students will start projects in 2019 across the diverse research areas of Migration and Mobility, Public Health, Exercise, and Epidemiology.     

Further information

About the Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College grows, develops and supports our thriving community of postgraduate researchers across all research degree programmes at the University of Bristol.

Our team has two key leadership roles in the University: to enhance the environment for all research students and to support the growth of our postgraduate research community.

We work with teams across the University to help ensure that the postgraduate research environment is the very best it can be to enable research students to thrive during their research degree - and beyond.

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