African Research Day – Collaboration in Research and Education

27.10.2023 09:00 - 18:00

Publicum, Assistentinkatu 7, 20014 Turun yliopisto, 20500 Turku

Welcome to the African Research Day!

Collaboration in Research and Education – seminar is organised in Turku with the aim to bring together academic experts from various and multidisciplinary fields who can represent diverse voices and are actively engaged in research. The seminar provides a platform to demonstrate examples of excellent collaboration between Finland and African countries and to discuss the importance and measures for success of research collaboration. The event is a great opportunity for networking, knowledge sharing and talking about best-practice in innovation through mutual, responsible and sustainable partnerships.

The seminar is part of the FAPI network and focused on fostering innovations through collaboration with African partners, especially in joint research projects, innovative education cooperation and co-creative social innovation projects. The FAPI network connects 26 Finnish higher education institutions and encourages research cooperation and collaboration with African counterparts.

This event is organised by FAPI in collaboration with Africa themed Global Networks (GINTL, EDUCase, SAFINET) and Diana ry.

The sign up has ended. You can enquire free spots from

How to arrive to Turku?


VR (when booking the trains, choose the stop at Kupittaa)

(Click on the map to open the route)


Matkahuolto (Stop: Turun yliopistollinen keskussairaala)

Onnibus (Stop: yliopisto)

(Click on the map to open the route)

Preliminary programme

On-site event only

(Please note, changes are possible.)

Poster exhibition in the lobby
(all day)
UTU Global South Network
ASAF – African Students and Alumni Forum
Diana ry
Finland Africa Platform for Teacher TrainingGlobal Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL)Carbon Garden activities, Biodiversity unit, University of TurkuDo you want to present a poster? Please e-mail to
9:00 –10:20 8:30 Registration opens and refreshments by FAPI 

Upon the registration we will guide you to the Side Event locations.

Side events 9-10:20 (choose one) 

A) Location: Pub269 (room for 20 people) Global South Network  – Global challenges with international collaborations and institutional representativeness: The narrative experiences of Finland-African reseachers in Global Health and Doctoral Education

Dr. Elizabeth Eta,  Dr. Herman Lule

B) Location: Pub209 (room for 40 people) Diana ry, ASAF – African Students and Alumni Forum, Finland Africa Platform for Teacher Training and Finnish Language Club in Africa

Do you want to have a side event? Please e-mail to 

Small break to move to Pub2 

10:30 – 10:45 Opening of the seminar 

Irinja Paakkanen, Head of International Affairs, University of Turku

Professor Jussi Jauhiainen, Academic Leader of FAPI, University of Turku

10:45 – 11:30 Keynote Speech 

Experiences with North-South Research Collaboration

Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor, University of Yaounde, Cameroon

11:30 – 13:30 Lessons from Successful Collaboration with Africa

Why the collaboration was successful? What/ Who made it a success?

10 minute presentation + 5 min for questions each 

11:30-11:45 Åbo Akademi University and University of Jyväskylä: Social Justice Innovation in Africa. Viljam Engström, Acting professor, Public International Law, Åbo Akademi University 

11:45-12:00 University of Helsinki: Locally-driven co-development of plant-based value chains towards more sustainable African food system with healthier diets and export potential. Dr. Ndegwa Henry Maina, Associate Professor 

12:00-12:15 Aalto University: Aalto WiTLAB. Anahita Rashidfarokhi, Postdoc researcher and programme coordinator at WiTLAB

12:15-12:30 SHORT BREAK

12:30-12:45 Novia University of Applied Sciences: The Potential of Nano Grids as a Source of Affordable and Clean Energy in Zambia – a Team Finland Knowledge project case presentation. Cynthia Söderbacka, Project Leader, Technology and Seafaring- Research Development & Innovation  

12:45-13:00 University of Turku:  Co-innovation of an Affordable and Effective Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training Solution for Africa. Sanna Salanterä, Professor of Clinical Nursing Science, Vice Dean 

13:00-13:15 Turku University of Applied Sciences: Africa as the Frontier of Economic revolution. Dr. Otieno Mbare, Senior Lecturer

13:15-13:30 Discussion

13:30 – 14.30 Lunch at Piccu Maccia sponsored by FAPI (in Educarium Building,  Assistentinkatu 5)
14:30 – 15:00 Short interventions/ speeches to warm up for the panel 

DAMA: Dr. Pascal S. Doh, adjunct professor in Education of the Department of Education in the University of Turku

Msilikale Msilanga, Project Researcher, University of Turku

15:00 – 16:00 Panel Discussion: Research with Impact regarding Africa  

Chair: Professor Jussi Jauhiainen, University of Turku

Dr. Herman Lule, Doctoral Researcher at the University of Turku, Alumni of Kampala International University, Uganda

Dr. Tiina Kontinen, Associate Professor at the University of Jyväskylä & Chair of UniPID Board

Dr. Abdul-Gafar Oshodi, Lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Nigeria, Coimbra Group Scholar at CEAS, University of Turku

Dr. Ritva Hyttinen, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering and Business, Turku University of Applied Sciences

16:00 – 16:15 Wrap up
16:15 – 18:00 Speech by a representative of the City of Turku, cocktail event and networking

City’s greetings, Abdullahi Sultan, City Council, Turku

If you would like to participate to the event after the registration is closed please send an email to


Letter of invitation 

On request, the Organisers will provide a personal invitation to participate in the seminar. Such an invitation is only meant to help the invited participants obtaining a visa. It does not represent any commitment on the part of the Organisers to provide any financial support.


Please check the validity of your own insurance. The Organisers cannot accept liability for personal injuries sustained or loss of, or damage to, property belonging to delegates or the registered accompanying persons during the meeting.


The University of Turku partner hotels are:

Original Sokos Hotel Kupittaa, Holiday Club Caribia, Scandic Atrium, Radisson Blu Marina Palace Hotel, Scandic Julia, Omena-hotelli Turku and Forenom Aparthotel Turku

The nearest hotels to the University of Turku are Original Sokos Hotel Kupittaa and Holiday Club Caribia.

Speaker Introductions

Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor

Sarah Anyang Agbor is Professor of Linguistics at FALSH Uinversity of Yaounde, and former African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science, Technology and Innovation. She is also Vice-Chair of the UNESCO Centre of Life Long Learning in Hamburg, Germany.



Dr. Pascal Doh, Docent, General Secretary of Diana ry

Dr. Pascal S. Doh is an adjunct professor in Education (Higher Education) of the Department of Education in the University of Turku and a coordinator of the Diaspora Academic Network for Africa, Finland. Doh has been involved for close to two decades in studies, teaching, research and consultancy in higher education management and policy issues, education and development between Europe and Africa.

During this event Doh is representing Diana ry. As an organisation DIANA ry started operating officially in November 2021 with Doh as the first president and Executive Director, the roles include overseeing the activities of and setting a clear direction for the organisation.


Viljam Engström, Acting professor

Viljam Engström, Acting Professor of Public International Law, Åbo Akademi University (Åbo/ Turku, Finland). Relevant research interests concern social protection, social innovation, and international financial institutions. He has published for example: “Twenty-First-Century Crises and the Social Turn of International Financial Institutions”, 24 Human Rights Review, 2023; “Social protection in the mandate of the IMF”, International Journal of Human Rights, 2022; and “Unpacking the Debate on Social Protection Floors”, 9 Goettingen Journal of International Law, 2019. He is a co-editor of the outcoming book: Social Justice Innovation in Africa (with Maija Mustaniemi-Laakso and Laura Stark, Routledge, 2024), which is an outcome of a FAPI collaboration.

Dr. Ritva Hyttinen, Senior Lecturer

I work at the Turku University of Applied Sciences as senior lecturer. My background is in the library and information science and at the beginning my collaboration with African universities was closely linked with this discipline and librarianship. Libraries and library professions are still included but during the last ten years the emphasis of university collaboration has shifted to the capacity building, in particular to strengthening pedagogical capacity and developing learning environments. In terms of research, the phenomenon that inspires me is professional identity, and I see it as a social reconstruction where interaction is significant. The 20-year partnership with African colleagues has influenced my professional identity which I describe as positive and flexible.

Professor Jussi Jauhiainen

Dr. Jussi S. Jauhiainen is Professor at the University of Turku, Visiting Professor at the University of Tartu, and the Academic Director of FAPI.

Associate Professor Tiina Kontinen

Tiina Kontinen is Associate Professor in International Development Studies at the University of Jyväskylä. She has led several collaboration projects with African universities under the research group on Civil Society and Citizenship in Development. Edited volumes Practices of Citizenship in East Africa (Routledge) and Learning, Philosophy and African Citizenship (Palgrave) are some examples of co-publishing with partners from Tanzania and Uganda. Currently, she chairs the board of the University Partnership for International Development (UniPID).

Dr. Herman Lule, Doctoral Researcher

Herman Lule is a graduate General Surgeon from Uganda and a Doctoral Researcher in Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Turku, and Turku University Hospital, Finland. He also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Global Health from the University of Edinburgh (UK). His research interests lies with in the global health domain of addressing health and surgical care inequities amongst the most vulnerable populations with a focus on Africa.

Herman is an affiliate of the Injury Prevention Research Group and Turku Brain Injury Center of the University of Turku, and an International Member of: Australian Injury Prevention Network, Australian College of Road Safety, Association of Academic Surgery (USA), Public Health Association of Australia, and Association of Surgeons of Uganda.

Dr. Ndegwa Henry Maina, Associate Professor

I am an associate professor in Food Chemistry at the University of Helsinki. My passion as a researcher is to understand the intricate relationship between food and human health. At present my research work focuses on toxins in food, the health benefits of cereal fibre, tailored bioprocessing of cereals and legumes to enhance safety, sensory and nutritional quality, and valorization of food industry side-streams. During the last years I have initiated collaborative partnerships with research institutes in Africa to explorer the development of sustainable food systems. In several projects we have explored innovative technologies for utilization indigenous African grains with an aim to contribute to scientific advancements and to improve local diets.

Dr. Otieno Mbare, Senior Lecturer

Dr. Otieno Mbare is a senior lecturer of international business and management at the faculty of engineering and Business – Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS). His research interests are in innovative business models, sustainable business and responsible business management. Dr. Mbare is currently involved in the GeoICT4e project and a few other upcoming projects with African partner universities. Dr. Otieno Mbare earned both his Masters and PhD at Åbo Akademi University.

Msilikale Msilanga, Project Researcher

Msilikale Msilanga profile pictureMsilikale Msilanga is spatial planner by education and currently working at the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Turku (UTU) and managing Tanzania Resilience Academy project from Finland. 

Msilikale has worked in various organizations across Finland and Tanzania since 2011, with a focus on community mapping tools and techniques, Community engagement and participation, digital tools for data collection and management, satellite imagery, and geospatial data processing. His experiences include working with institutions such as the University of Turku, Action Aid, Ecosystems on Land Consult, and The World Bank Group.

Dr. Abdul-Gafar Oshodi, Lecturer

Abdul-Gafar holds a PhD in Social Sciences and lectures in the Department of Political Science, Lagos State University (LASU). He is visiting Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku in the autumn 2023.

Abdul-Gafar is also a Research Associate at the African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS), University of the Witwatersrand. A Social Science Research Council (SSRC) ‘Next Generation of Social Science in Africa’ Fellow (2013-2014), Doctoral Fellow at KU Leuven’s Centre for Research on Peace and Development (2013-2017), University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies Catalyst Fellow (in 2019 and 2020), and an American Council of Learned Societies’ African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellow (2020-2021), his research is broadly centred around the “development question” in Africa with a strong bias for Africa-China relations, youth service, nation-building, research ethics and knowledge (re)production. He co-founded the Conflict Research Network West Africa (CORN–West Africa).

Irinja Paakkanen, Head of International Affairs

Irinja Paakkanen is Head of International Affairs and works at the Partnerships and Strategic Engagement Unit at the University of Turku.

Anahita Rashidfarokhi, Postdoc Researcher and Programme Coordinator

D.Sc. Anahita Rashidfarokhi is a postdoc. researcher and works as a WiT programme coordinator at the Department of Architecture, Aalto University. Her research is focused on the manifestation of resilience and sustainability in the built environment sector. Anahita has been involved in PBL projects running in Eats Africa by Aalto Global Impact. In addition, she also works as a PBL mentor/ trainer of trainees in collaborative student projects running in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Anahita holds a pedagogy qualification and teaches topics related to sustainability, resilience and development studies in the context of the built environment.

The topic of her presentation is ,,WiT Programme – Bridging capacities to advance resilience of vulnerable communities”.

Sanna Salanterä, Professor

Sanna Salanterä profiilikuvaSanna Salanterä is a Professor at Department of Nursing Science. Her work currently consists of duties of Vice Dean with the focus on Education at the Faculty of Medicine. Sanna also co-leads a research programme Connected Health UTU with three main research areas: Clinical text mining, gamification of health and Digital solutions for fundamental care, management and leadership. She teaches both master’s and PhD students, and also leads a joint master’s programme of Future health and technology.

Abdullahi Sultan, City Council

Abdullahi Sultan is City Councillor and Vice Chair of City Council in Turku.

Cynthia Söderbacka, Project Leader

Cynthia works as part of the RDI team within Novia UAS under the faculty of Technology & Seafaring. Her background is in Electrical, Energy & Environmnetal Engineering & currenting persuing a master’s degree in Chemical & Process Engineering, Energy Technology. At Novia UAS, she specializes in sustainable energy solutions, with a project portfolio covering bio and non-bio renewable energy technology-oriented projects. In the 5 years that she has been at Novia UAS, she keeps growing and embraced the world as a global village. She has shown great interest in working with people from all backgrounds by being part of and sometimes leading local and international collaborations. Even though her main activities are within the Research Development & Innovation team, she also combines her love for these sustainable energy topics and working with students by being part (Team Coach) of the European Project Semester (EPS) program whenever she has a suitable task for the students. EPS is a Project Management oriented program where students from other European universities with multidisciplinary & cultural backgrounds within the EPS network go on exchange for a semester working in multi-national groups on a project, of which Novia UAS is one of its founders.

She looks forward to the era when the novel solutions we talk about today will be the traditional solutions.