Edu4GEO2 | Report on 1st project year

10. July 2024
Major achievements in the first year included the development and approval of a new MSc Geomatics curriculum for DMU, the initiation of PhD projects for Ethiopian students funded by APPEAR scholarships, and the awarding of an honorary doctorate to Reinfried Mansberger for his contributions to academic cooperation in Ethiopia.

The kick-off meeting of the project took place at the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the Technische Universität Wien on 9 May 2023. The meeting was opened by Wolfgang WAGNER (Dean of Faculty, TUW) and Doris DAYANOVIC (Vice-Rector for Teaching, Continuing Education and Students, BOKU). Administrative and financial issues were presented by Thomas BAUER (Project coordinator, BOKU). Sayeh AGEGNEHU (DMU) and Reinfried MANSBERGER (BOKU) gave an overview about the design of a MSc Curriculum at DMU. The further content of the work packages were presented and discussed with the coordinators of all partner institutions.

Following the kick-off meeting, the APPEAR in practice event "Advancing Geomatics Education: APPEAR Project Empowers Ethiopian Students for Leadership Roles” at the OeAD-building took place on 9 May 2023.The Edu4GEO2 project was presented to an interested audience.

The most important activity in the 1st year was the review of the existing national MSc curricula and the design of the curriculum on the topic of “Geomatics” for DMU which was compiled in collaboration with all project partners and concerned stakeholders. The description of the individual courses was elaborated in cooperation between Austrian and Ethiopian lecturers. A workshop with national participants was organized at DMU. The curriculum was accepted by the senate of DMU and the master program is planned to start in October 2024. Lecturers from all partner universities are currently working on the content of the planned lectures.

Five students from Ethiopia are working or will begin their PhDs linked to the project at BOKU and TUW. All students are funded by APPEAR scholarships.

A highlight of the first year was the award of the first ever honorary PhD to Reinfried Mansberger at the Debre Marcos University in July 2023. He received the award for his relentless efforts and commitment in promoting collaboration between DMU and international partners, which has led to a fundamental change in academic land administration and geomatics education in Ethiopia.

Due to an armed conflict in the Amhara region, the project has faced a number of difficulties since summer 2023. From August to November 2023, internet disruptions limited communication to telephone only, impacting project activities and causing delays. Despite the closures of DMU and BDU in September 2023, the situation in the Amhara region has since stabilized, with universities reopening for students in March 2024. However, planned travels for Austrian lecturers to Ethiopia remain on hold due to a travel advisory from the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs, and equipment procurement is currently suspended as delivery cannot be assured. Project activities have thus been postponed and modified with the objective to achieve the desired results over the long term.

Edu4GEO2 project website