As part of the preparations ahead of the 5th United Nations International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Resources Management which started from 10th -13th May 2022, the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani, through the International Relations Office, has held series of workshops for staff of the university and stakeholders in technology-related disciplines.
On Monday, May 9, 2022, one of the workshops was held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra. It featured speakers from the University’s Earth Observation Research and Innovation Centre (EORIC) and Digital Earth Africa based in South Africa. The Head of EORIC, Ing. Dr. Emmanuel Nyantakyi in his presentation explained that the activities of the Centre span from the various innovations and research that make a global impact in the areas of earth observations on the climate. He added that the training would augment the knowledge and skills of participants with an interest in the usage of earth observation satellites.
The Technical Manager for Digital Earth Africa, Mr. Edward Boamah introduced to participants how his organization uses satellite imagery to improve the management of Africa’s water resources such as flooding and depleting water bodies. He indicated that 86% of water withdrawals in Africa are used for agricultural purposes while trillions of litres of water are wasted each year. To curb this, he said Digital Earth Africa provides farmers with decision-ready data to improve irrigation plans and adjust the timing for resource allocation to improve crop yield geared towards food security in Africa.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Professional Development (CePDev) of UENR has also collaborated with the International Relations Office together with Dr Komail Kantamaneni, a Senior Research Fellow-Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Central Lancashire, UK to organize another workshop virtually on building staff profiles on research capacities dubbed ‘Multi and Transdisciplinary Research and Academic Pre-conference – UN/Ghana’. The workshop was actively participated by the Senior Members and Doctoral students of the University.
The Acting Director of CePDev, Professor (Mrs) Mercy Derkyi welcomed the speakers and participants on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako. In her speech, Prof Derkyi, said the workshop marks the beginning of more vital institutional collaboration. She expressed the University’s appreciation for the speakers from the United Kingdom and India who shared their prestigious knowledge of the subject matter with the participants.
Presenting on Space Technology for Water Resources Management, Prof. Sulochana Shekhar, Dean, Central University of Tamil Nadu, India, highlighted that water and space technology’s synergies in enhancing efficient water management. According to him, water is a vital resource that needs to be managed efficiently and protected for today and the future using water harvesting, river basin development, watershed development and space technology. Dr Luiza Campos, an Associate Professor at University College London, also enlightened the participants on How to write and submit funding applications collaboratively. He indicated that researchers should identify the expertise area required before taking up the responsibility of writing a proposal, and research partners must demonstrate leadership in their specific roles and be mindful of time zones, language and culture shocks.
The participants also listened to a joint talk by Mr Paul Rowe, Director of International Partnerships and Ms Angeline Malaba Ward – Regional Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa on the topic: ‘General study at UCLan and visiting scholar programme and collaboration’. They mentioned the warm embrace of UCLan to international students in Africa. The participants were further informed about the diverse staff and student exchange programmes available which can be accessed on their website. The facilitators encouraged them to search for more information, adding that various job opportunities are available to students in their homelands before, during and after their studies.
In his closing remarks, the Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebayo Felix Adekoya, expressed gratitude to the team for organizing such an educative workshop and asked for more of such and other collaborations among the Universities. The Acting Dean of the International Relations Office, Prof. Amos T. Kabo-bah disclosed that his office would also facilitate another set of post-conference workshops to equip participants with extensive knowledge in space technology and other relevant areas.
The workshop was moderated by Ms Athanasia Apostolopoulou, a Researcher, Geospatial Systems from the University of Nottingham, UK.