Work in Rwanda will start this autumn. 11 Swedish universities take part in the Sida project that will support Univeristy of Rwanda in a new venture for research and research education.
“This project is innovative as well as unique and it’s a perfect match for JIBS”, says Johan Roos, Dean and Managing Director of JIBS. “Our focus areas are entrepreneurship, innovation and ownership and these are areas associated with major challenges. We are working to make JIBS leading in these fields, and this project fits in well with that ambition. For us, the project is also a way to show global social responsibility – we will be involved in developing an exciting country that The Economist has called the future Singapore of Africa”.
Lars Hartvigson, senior advisor and coordinator at JIBS, is looking forward to the project. “It will be intense and exciting work. We will learn a lot that we can bring back to our classrooms in Sweden”. JIBS has had the opportunity to prepare through an earlier, smaller project with the Addis Abeba University in Ethiopia. A group of Ethiopian doctoral students will come to Jönköping this September to study for five weeks. “This is the first group of doctoral students who have done their doctoral studies at the University of Addis Abeba”, says Lars Hartvigson . “It will be historic! And JIBS is a key player in order for this to succeed.” Hartvigson explains the model of doctoral education: “From the beginning , we admitted students from Ethiopia to programmes here at JIBS and they studied our courses. But since they built their networks in Sweden, they often preferred to continue their academic careers in the west. It might seem as natural development, but this meant that few returned home when the actual point of the project was to build greater research capacity in developing countries”.
Because of this, the model was changed. Today, doctoral students still do some modules at JIBS, but they stay in Sweden for shorter periods of time. Instead, JIBS sends teachers to Ethiopia to teach and build more opportunities for research and education there.
It is this model that will also be used in Rwanda, where JIBS now will work on strengthening the local Master’s programmes and developing local doctoral programmes completely funded by Sida. Seven doctoral students will begin their doctoral studies at JIBS in spring 2014. They will be doing their research in Rwanda.
Dean Johan Roos sees both opportunities and challenges in the future: “We will work in a foreign environment and culture, and have to deliver results there. This will be demanding for us and our partners, and we cannot assume that everything will work the same way it does at home. Creativity and innovation will be necessary qualities for everyone working on the project, but that suits us at JIBS. We are international at heart and entrepreneurial in mind.