The Sweden-Tanzania research cooperation aims at enhancing the country's capacity to plan, conduct and use research in the fight against poverty. Through the support the objective is to enhance the country’s analytical capacity and international competitiveness.
There is a great need for increased analytical capacity in Tanzania. The lack of evidence-based knowledge available to solve social and economic problems is a hinder for well-designed policies and well-founded decision making. The society would also gain from more scientific knowledge and technological and innovative solutions to address the real problems and contribute to poverty reduction. These are issues that a strong research community could contribute towards solving.
An example of what is needed is improved quality of research training and education. The aim is to provide evidence based knowledge which can assist the country’s work to solve problems in general and the issues of poor people in particular. Lack of recognition of existing research in the universities and the need for an increased number of students who can teach other university students is another major challenge for the increasing number of universities in the country.
Sweden is currently managing five contributions within the area of Research Cooperation namely the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH and three public universities; University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and Ardhi University (ARU).
The key objectives of the Swedish university collaborations, through Sida, are to promote research and research training and to develop institutional capacity in an effort to strengthen the university system and higher education within the framework of national policies. COSTECH receives Swedish support with the goal to strengthening COSTECH’s competence to fulfil its mandate to promote knowledge based development through adequate coordination of research and technological development for economic growth, social development and increased competitiveness.
The results from research cooperation have been significantly positive. Worth special mention are the programs on HIV / AIDS, malaria, marine biology, SRHR, violence against women and urban and rural planning. Research has in many cases directly influenced policy formulation in the aforementioned areas. Many of the important posts in the government's administrative functions are held by individuals trained to MSc and/or PhD within the Sida supported research cooperation program.
Successful research has been made possible by the long-term capacity building program, which has led to the fact that the universities have access to modern equipment, are computerized with a good connectivity to the Internet and that a large number of Tanzanians have obtained postgraduate degrees. A recent study (Tracing Research Capacities in Tanzania) shows that more than 150 university lecturers have obtained a PhD-degree with Swedish support. Also, more than 500 have been able to achieve an MSc-degree. Currently, there are 76 PhD students that are expected to graduate before June 2015.
Below follows a selection of other results from the Swedish cooperation:
- MUHAS contributes to the on-going HIV / AIDS vaccine trial in collaboration with their Swedish colleagues.
- COSTECH who manages a program to develop innovative business clusters has contributed increased cooperation between academia and small businesses using the triple helix model. Small business entrepreneurs have received training on how to collaborate and develop business plans through researchers they receive technical support to add value to their products. The program who was initiated by UDSM has led to the creation of approximately 70 innovation clusters in several industrial branches, from processing of agricultural products and metal working to cultural tourism.
- Particularly spectacular are the results of the UDSM Marine Science Institute's scientific support to local people in Zanzibar to grow algae for the chemical industrial use, fish and pearl farming. The institute has also teamed up with the village women organization for long-term and continuous monitoring of the coastal zone ecological changes.
Inger Lundgren (firstname.lastname@example.org)