University Partnership to Grow Administration and Education (UPGRADE) 


Performance period:  October 2021 – January 2023
Purpose:  Enhance US-SA university partnership by increasing STEM capacity and improving the knowledge and skills in South African university administration
Goal: The goal of the program is to increase the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics capacity at the University of Pretoria, the University of the Free State, and the University of Limpopo, and to facilitate the transition to the “fourth industrial revolution” (4IR).

Three main objectives will address this goal:

  • Objective 1:  Strengthen the postgraduate STEM capacity of the partners in South Africa.


  1. Short-term South African student exchange to FIU where students will be working on specific STEM-related research projects.
  2. Linking South African postgraduate students with FIU faculty.
  3. Involving FIU staff in postgraduate program content.
  • Objective 2:  Strengthen capacity in the administration of STEM programs.


  1. UP staff visits to FIU to draw on best practices.
  2. FIU staff visits South Africa to engage in discussions with different Faculties and Departments to share experiences through scientific lectures on the importance of STEM research and education.
  3. Sharing experience on ways and means STEM education is addressed in the U.S. versus South Africa, through lectures and discussions as well as on-site visits.
  • Objective 3:  Build the sustainability of the partnership through an MOU, scholarships, private sector involvement, and linking up with other funding opportunities.


  1. Developing and implementing joint proposal submissions to seek funding for research and education in South Africa and in the US for South African faculty and students.
  2. Establishing faculty and student exchange program to strengthen academic collaboration.
  3. Encouraging South African faculty members to participate in the Collaborative Online International Learning COIL ( program at FIU.
  4. Establishing a strategy (based on an MOU) to develop a sustainable relationship between the universities in the long term.
  5. Initiating the process to establish dual-degree programs.
  6. Identifying potential modalities for the joint research and engaging with experts in commercialization (such as Enterprises @UP, StartUP FIU, Centre for Applied Food Security & Biotechnology (CAFSaB), Centre for Quality of Health and Living, etc.).