We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

The Republic of South Sudan formally became independent from Sudan last week (9 July), but its three universities remain closed, bereft of staff, students or facilities.

The universities moved to the north in the early 1990s, when civil war was at its worst in the south. They were supposed to have relocated by now, with lectures due to have begun in the south in early May.

But South Sudan's government has raised only half of the US$12 million it needs to build and refurbish lecture halls, laboratories and student accommodation, according to Mou Mou Athian Koul, undersecretary for the South Sudan Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

The north dominates Sudanese research at the moment but that could gradually change if international sanctions are lifted for the newly-independent south, said Hassan Hussein Musa, of the University of Nyala in Darfur.

A swing in funding to the south might allow northern researchers to do research for which they have hitherto lacked international funding — if they would cooperate with their southern counterparts, Dia-Eldin Elnaiem, an ecologist at the University of Khartoum, told Nature Middle East.

Ahmed El-Hassan, a medical researcher at the University of Khartoum, believes a joint research agency would be a good start, and would help establish good relations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, local topics urgently in need of research, such as surging levels of leishmaniasis, go untackled, he said.