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Recipients of UCL-Wits University Strategic Partner Funds 2021/22

15 June 2022

This year UCL and University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) awarded up to £25,000 to five projects, and £17,500 to one additional project.

Exterior view of the Great Hall at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg

In the third annual joint funding call from the two institutions, five UCL academics and their counterparts at Wits University received up to £5,000 each.

The funds will go towards supporting their projects in diverse subject areas including the treatment of neurodegenerative disease, voter behaviour in Zimbabwe, and weather and climate models.

This year, UCL and Wits contributed one additional joint award of up to £17,500 to support a trilateral collaboration between UCL, Wits and one additional member of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

Professor Jolene Skordis (UCL Institute for Global Health), and Professor Frikkie Booysen (Wits) said they were ‘honoured’ to receive both UCL-Wits seed funding and the UCL-Wits-ARUA Strategic Partner Fund award. They added:

“This combination of funding has already established a new research consortium (the Lelapa Consortium) and enabled a novel household survey investigating family wellbeing and capabilities in South Africa.  Most importantly, this funding has established new collaborations between Wits and UCL and includes also new work with the University of Pretoria.

“The flexibility of this funding is uniquely enabling and the two funds have built upon one-another seamlessly, to maximise innovation and research impact, including the development of early career researchers, in a short period of time. We are already working on our next grant applications together and have the sense that this is only the start of a long and fruitful relationship.”

Congratulations to all the 2021/22 UCL-Wits Strategic Partner Funds recipients:

Lead UCL academicUCL departmentProject
Prof Marc DeisenrothDepartment of Computer ScienceCollaborative Visit on Scalable Gaussian Processes in Statistical Downscaling of Weather and Climate Models
Amy GeardWits/SAMRC Anti-Viral Gene Therapy Resarch Unit, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health ScienceUpscaling production of adeno-associated viral vectors for treatment of neurodegenerative disease
Dr Adam HarrisSocial and Historical Sciences/ Political SciencePulling for the Party: the impact of party foot soldiers on voter behaviour in Zimbabwe’s polarised political space
Prof Lewis PhilipDepartment of Geography and National Centre for Earth ObservationCrop monitoring in an era of big earth observation data
Prof Jolene SkordisInstitute for Global HealthLELAPA: A Consortium for the Study of Family Health and Development
Prof Jolene SkordisInstitute for Global HealthThe importance of time and resilience: investigating household factors that impact on child development and well-being in rural South Africa (UCL-Wits-ARUA)

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