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The Africa Oxford Initiative

All things Africa in Oxford: Africa Oxford Initiative

The Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx) is a cross-university network that brings the University of Oxford’s long-standing, multi-disciplinary engagement with Africa under one platform. The overarching goal of AfOx is to ensure Africa remains a strategic priority for the University, and that students and academics who attend from the Continent feel supported and at home while they are here.

Building networks for research leadership

The ethos of AfOx is to facilitate the development of equitable and sustainable collaborations between researchers from African institutions and from the University of Oxford.

To enable effective partnerships that are genuinely co-developed, AfOx offers two researcher mobility schemes- the AfOx Visiting Fellowship Program and the AfOx Travel Grant. 

AfOx Travel Grants are open to all disciplines and support the establishment of new collaborations between researchers based in African research institutions and at the University of Oxford. The Travel Grant is a flexible fund which covers research and travel costs in either direction i.e. from University of Oxford to an institution in an African country or vice versa.

Since 2016, AfOx has awarded over 165 travel grants that have facilitated new collaborations between 46 departments within the University of Oxford and 90 African institutions across 30 countries.

The AfOx Visiting Fellowships Program enhances academic mobility and network building by supporting leading African scholars and researchers to spend periods of flexible time in Oxford, utilising the University’s facilities and undertaking collaborative research with Oxford based colleagues. This summer 20 researchers from 12 African countries visited Oxford as part of the AfOx Visiting Fellows Program.

AfOx collaborations seek new breakthroughs in the fields of medical sciences, big data engineering and astrophysics, conserving environments and ecosystems, archaeology, preservation of ancient languages amongst other research areas.

Supporting student experiences in Oxford

In support of students, and in partnerships with the Oxford University Africa Society, AfOx runs academic support programs to enhance the graduate experience at Oxford, promote a sense of belonging and enhance the academic success of emerging African leaders in Oxford. These targeted programs include essay writing workshops and tips on pursuing DPhils in Oxford. AfOx also hosts an annual online admissions open day for prospective African graduate applicants.

Africa-focused conversations 

Throughout the year, AfOx hosts engaging conversations on Africa related issues. One of the most popular events is the AfOx insaka. This is a gathering for sharing ideas and knowledge about Africa-focussed research. Experts from varied disciplines and academic background present their work and ideas, followed by opportunities for discussions and networking.

Hosted twice a term at St Cross College, the AfOx insakas feature talks on diverse issues from the fourth industrial revolution and marine ecology and conservation to radio astronomy – among others.