College of Engineering and Technology propelling inter-university research agenda

Sat, 27.Apr.2024 12.58

By Jackson Isdory, CMU

The College of Engineering and Technology (CoET) at the University of Dar es Salaam has hosted two remarkable international capacity building seminars in PhD programmes in energy technology.

According to the information from CoET, the two strategic seminars included one on testing of taught PhD course in pumps and hydroturbines, and another one on experimental and computational methods. Participants comprised faculty members and PhD students from University of Dodoma, Addis Ababa University and Mekelle University in Ethiopia and UDSM.

In his address during the inauguration of the two events, Prof. Nelson Boniface, UDSM Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor-Research lauded the collaborative spirit that underpinned these initiatives and underscored the pivotal role of partnerships within the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) in propelling research agendas forward across the region.

“The partnership among institutions, particularly within ARUA, serves as a cornerstone for joint initiatives, offering an effective approach to research development. Initiatives as this one of capacity building for PhD programmes signify a pivotal step forward in fostering expertise, knowledge sharing, and research capabilities in this critical field”, said Prof. Boniface.

International collaboration for energy advancement

Meanwhile Dr. Joseph Kihedu, Project Coordinator, PhD Programmes in Energy Technology (UNET) and the Energy Technology Network (ENET) at UDSM, provided details and significance of the two events.

According to Dr. Kihedu, the first seminar on testing of taught PhD course in pumps and hydroturbines, held from 4th March to 17th April 2024 under the UNET project, was a joint inter-university effort of higher learning institutions from Norway, Italy, Ethiopia, Uganda,  Mozambique and Tanzania.

“UNET is the European Union (EU) funded four-year project (2021-2024) implemented by a consortium of universities in Norway, Italy, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique and Tanzania. It serves as a platform for knowledge exchange and skill enhancement, fostering cross-border collaborations in academia”, said Dr. Kihedu.

He explained that the second seminar on experimental and computational Methods commenced on 18th April 2024, and was a component of the Energy Technology Network (ENET) project that aims to elevate research capacities in the energy domain through collaborative endeavours.

The five-year project is implemented by a consortium of universities in Norway, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi, South Sudan and Tanzania, and runs from January 2021 to December 2026. It has facilitated development of 17 taught PhD courses in energy engineering fields. The project developed course contents as well as teaching materials, assignments and typical laboratory tasks”, said Dr. Kihedu.

Impactful collaborative endeavours

Dr. Kihedu further explained that participants in both transformative seminars hailed from diverse academic backgrounds, including faculty members and PhD students from University of Dodoma, Addis Ababa University, Mekelle University in Ethiopia and UDSM.

Dr. Kihedu expressed gratitude for the unwavering institutional support for these research activities. “The successful culmination of these courses marks a significant milestone in advancing research and expertise in energy technology, not only at UDSM but also across the East African region”.

Prof. Donatha Tibuhwa, UDSM Director of Postgraduate Studies, highlighted the profound impact of the courses’ research methodologies on thesis and dissertation quality. “We believe these courses will significantly enhance the quality of research outputs in engineering and energy-related programmes, thereby contributing to both academic excellence and practical impact”.

International participants also commended the conducive learning environment at UDSM and expressed optimism for continued collaboration through the two projects and beyond. They expressed gratitude to the host, UDSM, for the invaluable knowledge and skills gained.

Prof Abdulkadir Aman, from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, remarked, "The hospitality and expertise demonstrated at UDSM have left a lasting impression on us. PhD students from Addis Ababa University find the learning environment at UDSM to be very conducive. We look forward to further collaboration and possible return visits in the near future."

The event was also energised by the presence of indispensable stakeholders and hosts, namely, the Principal of the College of Engineering and Technology, Prof. Bakari Mwinyiwiwa, and Head of Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Dr. Innocent Macha. Their remarks emphasised the pivotal role of international collaboration in propelling research agendas forward and nurturing academic excellence.