ACU - Association of Commonwealth Universities

The Association of Commonwealth Universities is the world’s first international university network, established in 1913. A UK-registered charity, the ACU has more than 500 member institutions in over 50 countries. We bring together many of the most prestigious and well-funded universities internationally with relatively new institutions in some of the world’s least developed countries. What binds us together is a common belief in the value of higher education to society, the conviction that this value is enhanced by international collaboration, and a passion for rigour and excellence in everything that we and our member universities do.

With three distinct but interconnected areas of work – member services, programmes, and scholarship administration – supported by robust infrastructure and governance arrangements, the ACU combines delivering value to its members with achieving impact on the world of higher education and wider society.

The ACU has a distinguished reputation for managing prestigious and internationally renowned scholarship schemes. The ACU also provides mobility grants annually to staff and students from member universities from its own endowment fund.

Institutional strengthening, notably through partnerships, is a central pillar of the ACU’s strategic vision. In our role as coordinator of the CAAST-Net and CAAST-Net Plus CSA’s from 2007 to 2017, and as partners in several related support actions fostering Africa-Europe STI partnership over the same period, the ACU has been at the vanguard of the Africa-Europe Partnership in science, technology and innovation (STI), working alongside the governing EU-AU high-level policy dialogue and the FNSSA R&I Partnership. With over 100 of ACU’s institutional members in Africa, we have substantial capacity to advance and promote Africa’s STI agenda in the context of the Africa-EU STI Partnership.



The ACU will mainly contribute to WP1, as co-leader of task 1.4 on “monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment”.


  • Andrew Cherry is a senior scientific officer in the ACU’s Projects and Programmes Unit with a background in international development and project management. An applied entomologist by academic training, Andy has 16 years’ experience as a senior scientist at the UK’s Natural Resources Institute and at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in W. Africa, implementing R&D, capacity building and regulatory crop protection projects in Asia, Latin America and Africa. For the last 11 years Andy has been engaged at the ACU in many CSA projects supporting national & regional policies around international cooperation in S&T, and from 2007-17 leading a diverse multi-institutional team of senior officials from national authorities and agencies, translating policy objectives into improved societal impact in the global challenges. Andy has more recently become engaged in institutional capacity building for the higher education sector, taking a lead on advancing innovative blended learning pedagogies for East African universities. Andy has experience in ad hoc advisory and evaluation roles, of participating in expert working & technical groups and conducting short-term consultancies in research and policy spheres. He also has experience of chairing discussions and debates, sitting on expert panels, and has a track record of technical reporting, of scientific publication in peer reviewed journals and in book chapters. Andy has an MSc in integrated pest management from the University of Southampton, UK, and a PhD in the same subject from Imperial College, London.
  • Ben Prasadam-Halls is Director of Programmes at the ACU. He heads up the ACU’s Projects and Programmes Unit, overseeing the management of the ACU’s externally funded grants and corefunded projects that are designed to generate much of the intellectual content with which the ACU serves its members. Ben has over 15 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, with more than a decade supporting the interaction of higher education and international development. Prior to joining the ACU, Ben was Director of International Operations at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a global membership association serving the professionals who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing within the education sector. During 8 years with CASE, Ben managed CASE’s work with universities in Africa and was instrumental in the establishment of regional operations to serve the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions. He has also worked in international development for Save the Children UK with posts in the UK and inIndia. Ben has an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Leeds.
  • Emma Falk is a Research Officer in the Projects and Programmes Unit and has over 7 years’ experience of higher education research, benchmarking and programme development, primarily in the areas of research management, research utilisation and communication capacity in Sub-Sahara Africa and the Caribbean. Emma is currently responsible for ACU’s online benchmarking tool ACU Measures, and leads on Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) for the Partnerships for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL) project, supporting the implementation of MEL through needs assessment study and baseline tracking. Emma has extensive experience of MEL – developing operational plans, designing, analysing and presenting results of quantitative and qualitative surveys as well as coordinating benchmarking exercisers – for a range of projects at the ACU, including the Development of Research Utilisation in Sub-Sahara Africa programme (DRUSSA, 2012-2016), the Research Management Benchmarking Programme (2010-2012), and the EU-funded Research & Innovation Management Improvement for Africa and the Caribbean project. Emma also provides ad-hoc advice on MEL and survey design for other ACU projects, including the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Sahara Africa and RINEA. Emma has also worked extensively on international academic salaries and workforce relations and is the author of the report ACU Academic Staff Salary Survey 2012/13, the ACU’s long-standing analysis of academic salary scales and benefits. Emma has an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS and a BA in International Relations and Politics from the University of Westminster.