The network is based on a Collaborative Agreement among the member universities. Under this agreement, one university serves as lead partner and hosts a small secretariat. The secretariat is responsible for the overall coordination of the network and based in the office of the AAUN Chair, a senior academic in the lead university, currently the University of Sydney.

The network is led by a Steering Group, representing a set of seven Australian member Universities active in Africa and seven African member universities. The Steering Group has two co-chairs, currently Professor John Hearn on the Australian side, and Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, on the African side. The Group meets by teleconference.

A Consultative Group, representing specific expertise in African engagement and not restricted to official university representatives, provides key input across the thematic areas of engagement. It meets during annual fora and general meetings and may also meet on an ad hoc basis at other times. Consultative Group membership is open to nomination by a member institution at any time.

Professor John Hearn, University of Sydney

Professor John Hearn, Co-Chair, University of Sydney

Professor John Hearn is a Professor of Reproductive Physiology in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Sydney. He was awarded his PhD from the Australian National University (ANU) and served for 6-7 years each in leading research, teaching and administrative positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, London UCL, Wisconsin, ANU and Sydney. Most recently he was Vice President (Research) at ANU 2000-4, and Vice President (Academic and International) at Sydney 2004-13. He teaches first year and advanced students in science and biomedicine. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Professor Hearn has published 210 research papers and edited six books in reproduction and fertility, stem cell biology and biotechnology. A committed international citizen, he has worked globally in research capacity development, especially in China, India, Thailand, Kenya and Brazil. He is a senior adviser to the Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the OECD. He was (to 2013) a Board member of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and Chairman of the Board of the Sydney Confucius Institute.

Professor Tawana Kupe, University of Pretoria

Professor Kupe is the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria. Prior to joining the University of Pretoria, he was based at the University of the Witwatersrand where he held the rotating Vice-Principal post for one year and also served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Advancement, Human Resources and Transformation since January 2013.

Professor Kupe also served as the Executive Dean of the University of the Witwatersrand Faculty of Humanities for six years, between January 2007 and December 2012, after serving as the Head of the then School of Literature and Language Studies, and the founding Head of the Media Studies Department.

Prior to joining University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Kupe lectured at Rhodes University between 1999 and 2001, and briefly acted as the Head of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. He joined Rhodes from the University of Zimbabwe, where he worked in various academic capacities from 1988, including as Chairperson of the Department of English, Media and Communication Studies.

Professor Kupe holds a BA Honours degree and Masters in English from the University of Zimbabwe, as well as a DPhil in Media Studies from the University of Oslo in Norway.

AAUN Steering Group:

Steering Group Members, Africa

  • Professor Tawana Kupe, University of Pretoria, South Africa (Chair)
  • Professor Lourens van Staden, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
  • Professor David Norris, University of Botswana, Botswana
  • Professor Tassew Woldehanna, University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Professor Adebola B Ekanola, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, University of Ghana, Ghana
  • Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Professor John Saka, University of Malawi, Malawi
  • Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Makerere University, Uganda
  • Professor Dhanjay Jhurry, University of Mauritius, Mauritius
  • Professor Luke Evuta Mumba, University of Zambia, Zambia
  • Professor Thandi Mgwebi, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • Professor Stephen Kiama, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Steering Group Members, Australia

  • Prof John Hearn, University of Sydney (Chair)
  • Prof Adrian Little, University of Melbourne
  • Prof David Morrison, Murdoch University
  • Mr David Doepel, Murdoch University
  • Prof Tony Travaglione, University of Newcastle
  • Prof Kadambot Siddique, University of Western Australia
  • Prof Deborah Sweeney, Western Sydney University
  • Mr Innes Ireland, University of Technology Sydney
  • Prof Prem Ramburuth, University of New South Wales
  • Prof Alex Frino, University of Wollongong
  • Mr Rongyu Li, University of Queensland
  • Prof Seth Kunin, Curtin University

Research Theme Leaders

AAUN has appointed Research Theme Leaders within the Network’s key areas of research, namely food security, public health, education and mining & development.  The AAUN Research Theme Leaders aim to facilitate leadership and progress of the Partnership Research and Development Fund projects.

Research Theme Leaders, Africa
  • Prof Idowu Olayinka, Education
  • Prof Mavis Mulaudzi, Public Health
Research Theme Leaders, Australia
  • Dr George Odhiambo, Education
  • Prof Amin Mugera, Food Security
  • Mr David Doepel, Mining