Loughborough University VC Fosters Strategic Partnerships in Nigeria

Loughborough University Vice-Chancellor and President, Prof. Nick Jennings, recently concluded a visit to Nigeria to develop strategic partnerships with key sector stakeholders.

During the visit, Jennings met with stakeholders in the education sector and government officials to discuss varying issues related to sport, education, health and well-being, climate action, and inclusive communities.

“At Loughborough, our research is about real-world impact, helping to make changes that improve the quality of life for individuals and the planet,” said Jennings while on a visit to Governor Babajide Sanwoolu, represented by the Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Tolani Sule, and Commissioner for Youth & Social Development, Mobolaji Abubakre.

“We are interested in equitable partnerships, so when we work in any region, we want to be clear that the research we do is beneficial to everyone. This is why a lot of our partnerships are co-designed and co-created by our local partners,” he added.

Following this meeting, the vice-chancellor later met with officials of the British Council and the University of Lagos, where he engaged in high-level discussions with the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola. He wrapped up his official visit to Nigeria with a networking dinner reception organised for university alumni and offer holders.

During a press briefing in Lagos, Jennings emphasised the pivotal role prospective Nigerian students will play in achieving a holistic goal on a global scale, with research areas spanning sports, health and well-being, climate change and net zero emissions, and vibrant and inclusive communities.

“Doing research that impacts societies around the world is really important to the way that we want to structure ourselves. We are number one in the UK for affordable, renewable energy,” he said.

Some of the sustainability projects undertaken by the university are modern energy cooking systems that ingeniously replace fossil fuels with electrical alternatives to provide cleaner forms of energy. Through its Aftrak partnership, which comprises four organisations in the US, UK, and Malawi, it has produced solar-powered farm vehicles. Other projects it has embarked on include flood management systems and early warning systems for landslides.

Jennings attributed the successes of the various projects to the power of equitable partnerships, high-quality teaching that has earned the university three gold stars from the Teaching Excellence Framework, and a student satisfaction survey that ranks top five in the UK.

With two campuses, the main campus situated in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, and the London campus nestled within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, the university accommodates approximately 20,000 students, including around 3,500 international students primarily from China, India, and Nigeria. Both campuses boast over 130 nationalities. Jennings stated that this level of diversity has helped the university flourish by exchanging ideas and addressing intricate global challenges.

Jennings was accompanied on his trip by Prof. Malcolm Cook, Dean of the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering; Dr. Sola Afolabi, Senior Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering and University International Special Envoy to Sub-Saharan Africa; Dr. Hibbah Osei-Kwasi, Lecturer in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and University International Special Envoy to Sub-Saharan Africa; and Florence Mutero, Global Engagement Officer, Africa.
The vice-chancellor’s visit to Nigeria came on the heels of a similar one to Ghana, where he met with the country’s Minister of Youth and Sport, Hon. Mustapha Ussif, to discuss Ghana’s sporting aspirations and ambitions based on Loughborough University’s reputation as the world’s best university for sports-related subjects.

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