With AWB, McMaster has fostered innovative research & learning in low and middle-income countries

This year marks the fifth anniversary of a unique partnership between McMaster University and Academics Without Borders (AWB) to enhance the quality of higher education in the developing world.

In 2016, McMaster joined AWB’s Network of Canadian universities and colleges. One of the first institutions to join, McMaster faculty and staff have been able to access partnership opportunities with academic institutions around the globe, which opened new avenues for McMaster’s world-class faculty and staff to contribute to graduate education and research, particularly in the Sciences.

“Our partnership with AWB has allowed McMaster to address a critical need for collaboration in higher education in the developing world. Together we are equipping universities to stem brain drain and meet local needs for skilled professionals in an ever-changing global economy.”

– Dr. Peter Mascher, Member, AWB Board of Directors since 2019

In 2019, reflecting the university’s deep commitment to promote the role of higher education in global development, McMaster agreed to become AWB’s host institution, building on its record of successful collaboration over many years. As host, McMaster makes a special financial contribution to the work of AWB and assumes a leadership position within the Network of 32 Canadian universities and colleges.

Members of McMaster’s faculty have been involved in a number of important AWB projects over the years.

From 2015 to 2019, Dr. Karl Stobbe, of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, was the lead volunteer, coordinating numerous others, on an innovative project that trained rural family physicians to work in underserved regions of Nepal. He joined AWB’s Board in 2018.

When the pandemic hit in 2020 and travel became impossible, AWB worked with volunteer academics at McMaster to make sure projects in Kenya and Uganda would go ahead even though their colleagues were thousands of kilometres away.

Dr. Thomas Marlin, Dr. David Wilkinson, and Dr. Sarah Dickson, all from the Faculty of Engineering, have been part of a core team of volunteers who developed the Strengthening Engineering Research program as online projects at Uganda’s Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar University.

AWB volunteer Dr. Andrea Hemmerich from the School of Engineering Practice and Technology at McMaster is working online with colleagues at Kenya’s Meru University of Science and Technology to develop a new MSc in Medical Physics to support cancer care in the region.

“We believe that Canadian universities and colleges should make a long-term commitment to global development. Working with AWB has been rewarding. It has given our faculty and staff opportunities to develop transformative projects that benefit students and communities far beyond our borders.”

– Dr. Bonny Ibhawoh, Vice-Provost, International Affairs

AWB is thrilled and deeply appreciative that this relationship has been extended for a fifth year.