Oct. 19, 2021

Join the growing number of UCalgary staff introducing capacity-building projects in low- and middle-income countries

Academics Without Borders and UCalgary partner for positive change
Half a small wind turbine blade being made by infusing resin through a glass fibre layup in a mould made at UCalgary.  This work was done by Dr. Wood’s summer student, Deep Patel to provide the background knowledge – and maybe blade moulds – to support the Uganda project.
Half a small wind turbine blade being made by infusing resin through a glass fibre layup in a mould made at UCalgary. Deep Patel

Academics Without Borders’ mission is to help people in low- and middle-income countries realize their dreams through higher education because education is the key to a flourishing society. A call for project proposals is open until Nov. 8, 2021. AWB projects are involved in a full range of university activities from expanding and improving existing institutions and programs to helping create new ones.

  • Photo above: Half a small wind turbine blade being made by infusing resin through a glass fibre layup in a mould made at UCalgary. This work was done by David Wood’s summer student Deep Patel to provide the background knowledge — and maybe blade moulds — to support the Uganda project. Photo by Deep Patel

“UCalgary International has a growing partnership with Academics Without Borders and I strongly encourage more to get involved in this initiative,” says Dr. Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost and associate vice-president research (international).

“Building on our legacy in global development, we leverage our expertise to work with partners in support of sustainable development, capacity building, research and innovation. The development initiatives we support also create opportunities for our students and staff to develop effective intercultural skills and unique areas of knowledge.”

Between October 2020 and April 2021, five UCalgary staff initiated new projects or got involved as volunteers with an existing AWB program.

Dr. David Wood, PhD, professor, Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, joined AWB’s Strengthening Engineering Education and Research (SEER) program at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Uganda, which aims to enhance teaching and research capacity in low- and middle-income settings through training and mentorship.

“I am mentoring two of the MUST participants in a project to develop a small wind turbine for distributed power production in rural Uganda. This project has won financial support from AWB and more recently from the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology. In my lectures to the SEER participants, I described my research with PhD students at the University of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia to demonstrate to the Ugandan participants that high quality research can be done with limited resources, “ says Wood.

“I look forward to continued involvement in the project. It has been fun and inspiring to work on the project with participants who are thirsty for the skills and experiences we have shown to them. AWB intends to run the program in other universities in developing countries and they need more potential supervisors to work with them.”

AWB is not a funding agency but a nonprofit organization that mounts projects in partnership with universities in low- and middle-income countries.

“Our fundamental operating principle is that our partners in the developing world must themselves identify the areas in which assistance is needed, and they take the lead in project design and implementation,” says Corrie Young, associate executive director – projects and network, Academics Without Borders. “We assist our partners by providing the expert volunteers necessary for these projects. After the volunteers have completed their assignments, it is these institutions, themselves, which sustain the projects’ activities.”

About the call for project proposals

Learn more about the call for project proposals.

Given the uncertainties regarding international travel during the course of the pandemic, in this call for project proposals, AWB will prioritize submissions that can be implemented in whole or in part online.

Contact Jamie Charlebois, manager international development for more information and for support with developing and submitting a proposal to AWB.