A lack of access to sufficient and sustainable energy supply affects much of the population in many Southern African countries. A majority of the population still depends on firewood and charcoal for cooking and hot water supply, which poses serious threats to economy, environment and health. The sector of renewable energies (RE) is regarded as one of the most promising sectors in the Southern African region and plays a key role when talking about sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation. Therefore, the increased use of renewable energies and the implementation of renewable energy technologies (RET) are seen as central vehicles to meet the increasing energy demands of a growing population and to provide sustainable energy access to rural areas. However, despite the enabling climatic factors in the target region, it is evident that RET are still facing many barriers that include lack of technical capacity and experienced professional workforce.

Therefore, access to scientifically based and applied knowledge is a central factor, and higher education institutions are key actors to combine the needs of the labor market with formal education. As a consequence, universities have to be strengthened in order to foster the creation of job opportunities and income generation in their respective countries.

This is the starting point for the Academic Initiative for Renewables (AIR) project that will focus on higher education in the field of RET with seven universities from Southern African countries and one German university.

Project Target

Our aim is to foster the capacities of the eight participating partner universities, thereby we will work together with 15 industry partners in order to include their practical know-how which will help us to establish a more practice-oriented academic education in the field of renewable energies.

During the four-year project, a total of 16 Master and PhD students from the AIR partner universities are going to take part at the international student exchange. The ten-day exchange aims at the involvement of international students in the work of faculties and institutes abroad that deal with the topics of renewable energies. Furthermore, the students will participate in dedicated courses and laboratory works in order to gain vital insights into the processes and contents of studying abroad and to put the lessons learned and experiences in their home countries into practice.

Partner Universities

University of Malawi
University of Zimbabwe
University of Zambia
University of Zambia
Stellenbosch University
Nelson Mandela University
Universidade Eduardo Mondlane
Universidade Eduardo Mondlane
Botswana International University of Science & Technology
Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt

Work Packages