Plans afoot for the OSC Transdisciplinary Research Centre for West Africa

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A delegation from the Organisation of Southern Cooperation is in The Gambia, for high-level discussions with senior Government officials, on the establishment of a Transdisciplinary Research Centre (ITRC) for the West African Region.

The three-day mission led by the OSC’s Under-Secretary-General for Research, Evaluation, and Foresight (REEF), Professor Hirut Woldemariam, held fruitful discussions with Gambia’s Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Hon. Pierre Gomez and other experts from the Ministry.

The Institute to be based in the capital Banjul, will provide cutting-edge, contextual, and vital research that will address the multifaceted and interconnected challenges faced by the region. Although the ITRC will be in West Africa, knowledge and research generated is expected to also benefit OSC member states in other regions of the Global South.

The Centre will work to address one of the region’s development priorities – climate-smart agriculture for inclusive development.

In addition to advanced discussions on the Transregional Institute, the occasion provided the opportunity to outline the process of onboarding The Gambia’s Associate Members (non-state actors such as academia, civil society, etc), to one of the OSC’s flagship programmes – the Greater South Information System (GreSIS) – a key vehicle for democratising access to academic and non-academic knowledge. The GreSiS platform is already in use by researchers and students.

Hon. Pierre Gomez appreciated the access to OSC GreSiS and reiterated the Gambian President, H.E. Adama Barrow’s commitment to hosting the Research Centre. The ITRC will also serve as a platform for intergovernmental cooperation and will cut across various stakeholders including member states, academic institutions, civil society organisations, and indigenous knowledge holders, to foster collaboration among them.

Prof. Hirut said that “The Third Way of Development”, which is a collective construct of a new and alternative mode of development, is a critical step to addressing the complex and multifaceted challenges faced by the Global South. She said that the OSC envisions the establishment of similar research centres in other regions, i.e. Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean-Pacific, as part of the organisation’s drive to produce new and contextually relevant knowledge within and among the Greater South.

The Transregional Research Centres will be unique in that they will transcend the traditional boundaries of disciplines, to draw various research methods, including the harnessing of rich indigenous knowledge that offers time-tested solutions to a variant of challenges in OSC member states.

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