Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

MRI, Senior Research Grants 2018

Application deadline: April 15, 2018

Number of visits: 2249

Established in 1973, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) promotes research by African and Diaspora scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities that can contribute to a better understanding of Africa and its place in the world. This is motivated by the belief that sound knowledge of the continent is invaluable to efforts to make Africa a better place for its peoples and societies.

In 2017 CODESRIA introduced the Meaning-making Research Initiative (MRI) as its principal tool for supporting research. Like previous tools, MRI focuses on supporting research that contributes to agendas for imagining, planning and creating African futures. MRI replaced five tools that CODESRIA had deployed in previous years to support research. These were National Working Groups (NWG), Multinational Working Groups (MWG), Comparative Research Networks (CRN), Transnational Working Groups (TWG) and postdoctoral grants. One goal of this move is to increase the legibility and visibility of the research supported by the Council by collapsing previous tools for supporting research into a single initiative.

The adoption of MRI marks a recommitment to the tasks of interpretation and explanation that saw CODESRIA produce ground-breaking work on thematic issues such as democratization and economic reform in Africa. MRI aggressively pushes scholars to build on the close observation of African social realities to grapple with the tasks of explanation and interpretation. The initiative will reinforce support for researchers. It will also better integrate these scholars into the Council’s work. Further, it will offer scholars more varied ways to present their work, including through books, journal articles and policy interventions.

Key selection criteria: Projects funded under this initiative should meet most of the following criteria:

  • Propose research on important aspects of African social realities that fall under CODESRIA’s priority themes as outlined in the CODESRIA Strategic Plan;
  • Be guided by clear questions that explore puzzling aspects of the social realities of Africa and its position in the world;
  • Be grounded in the thorough exploration of the continent’s social realities and history while at the same time reflecting an interest in questions of diversity including the gendered one;
  • Engage constructively and rigorously with African futures;
  • Be theoretically ambitious with a clear goal of providing new and innovative ways of understanding and making sense of African social realities;
  • Explore multiple spatial, temporal and sectoral settings where this contributes to the process of meaning-making;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with knowledge already produced by CODESRIA on the subject researched.

Senior Research Grants: The senior research grants of the Meaning-making Research Initiatives will facilitate the work of senior scholars who can make ground-breaking contributions to their field. It is also the hope of CODESRIA that these senior scholars will dialogue with young and middle level researchers who participate in Council’s other activities. Senior research grants will award amounts of up to USD 30,000 to scholars who are 20 years beyond their PhDs to produce a book that will help reshape work in their area of expertise. It is expected that researchers applying for this grant will be at an advanced stage of data analysis so the grant can go directly into writing the manuscript. All grants are individual and will last for 16-months.

Thematic priorities: All applications must engage with CODESRIA’s 2017-2021 thematic priorities and cross-cutting issues:

1. Democratic processes, governance, citizenship and security in Africa: Security challenges and ways of grappling with them, transitional justice, democratization, citizenship and migration, the rule of law and human rights, governance processes and mechanisms at local, national and international levels, language, the changing boundaries and configurations of states and communities

2. Ecologies, economies and societies in Africa: Land, natural resource management, climate change, demographic change, urbanization, food security and poverty in Africa and technological innovation as well as the interaction of human populations with the rest of the environment in Africa, the forms it takes, its histories and trajectories and its impact on a broad set of sectors including the continent’s burgeoning economies

3. Higher education dynamics in a changing Africa: The role of higher education in economic and political transformation in Africa, the rapid transformation in the African higher education landscape, the reform of African higher education and innovations in higher education leadership

Cross-cutting themes: Applications should indicate the ways in which some of these cross-cutting themes are integrated in their proposals: these are gender, generations, inequality, rurality and urbanity, memory and history, as well as futures and alternatives

How to apply

Interested applicants should submit application packages containing the following required materials as Word documents. Please note that applications that lack any of these elements will be discarded.

  • A proposal with the following clearly titled sections: an introduction; statement and contextualization of question(s) around which the project is centered; brief review of literature and/or competing hypotheses; study design and research methodology; theoretical and practical significance of the study and research plan. Proposals must be submitted as Word documents and should not exceed 10 pages long (font type: Times New Roman; font size: 12; line spacing: double).
  • Budget: The budget should employ the template attached to this call and should take into consideration the fact that these grants have strict 16-month lifespans. CODESRIA will directly fund launch and completion workshops.
  • Annotated plan of deliverables: One-page annotated plan for the book to be written.
  • A cover letter listing full details- names, email and physical addresses and telephone number
  • CV of the scholar, including full contact details
  • Identification sheet: A completed version of the identification sheet attached to this call.

Please leave the document as an Excel file.

NOTE: A successful applicant for this grant will be expected to submit, within three months of signing of the grant contract, a revised draft paper that elaborates the research issue(s), the underlying conceptual framework, a detailed review of the relevant literature, and an outline of the methodological basis of the study. We expect that this will be framed in the form of draft book chapters.

The deadline for submission of applications for both individual and group grants is April 15, 2018. Notification of the result of the selection process will be done by June 30, 2018 and applicants who will not hear from us by then should consider their applications unsuccessful.
All applications should be sent by email to “2018 Meaning-making Research Initiatives (SRG),” CODESRIA at When sending your email kindly use the subject line ‘MRI-SRG 2018’ to facilitate the processing of your application.

To learn more about CODESRIA’s Meaning-making Research Initiatives please contact:

Research Program
BP 3304, CP 18524
Dakar, Senegal
Tel: +221 - 33 825 9822/23
Fax: +221- 33 824 1289