Universiteit Leiden

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This is an Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility project of the Faculty of Science with the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute in Ethiopia.

Project details

Leiden University coordinator:

  • Faculty of Science, Leiden Observatory, project coordinator: Michelle Willebrands

Partner institution:

  • Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute

Type of mobility:

  • Staff and student exchange

Project duration:

  • 2020-2023

Project summary

The European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (E-ROAD) regards exchanges with its sister office in Ethiopia, based at the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), as an important strategic goal. Both offices are part of a global network, the International Astronomical Union (IAU). One of the aims of this network is to share research and management expertise with astronomers in low-income countries and therefore stimulate capacity building. Collaboration and exchanges between the European ROAD in Leiden and the East African ROAD in Ethiopia will increase Ethiopian research capacity in astronomy, related technological fields and project management, and build capacity in skills that can be applied both within and outside academia. The project will thus contribute to sustainable development. The E-ROAD, in return, can learn from the track record of “astronomy for development” activities at the ROAD office in Ethiopia, which has more experience in this field. For Leiden University and its Astronomy department, which hosts the E-ROAD, engaging with developing countries and creating equal access for all students and young researchers are also part of the strategy.

International relations and collaborations are among ESSTI’s key strategies. One of its internationalisation strategies is to create partnerships with international universities and institutes via international mobility supporting study and research. Exchanges of students and staff members create a bridge between institutes that enhances the training and research capacity and upgrades the skills and qualifications of the institutes and their research staff. It also diversifies the research portfolio of the universities and hence fosters international cooperation. Giving students access to research institutes and facilities abroad expands their skills and strengthens their position for careers both within and outside academia. Ethiopia-based scholars have struggled to establish international collaborations and gain access to international publication outlets. This exchange programme will help fill these gaps by sharing the expertise of Dutch scholars with Ethiopian students and staff. 

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