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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



African Diaspora Support to African Universities Program: 2015 Postdoctoral Fellowship Competition

Call for proposals

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) has recently launched an African Diaspora support to African Universities program. The program aims to tap into the academic expertise and resource‐base of the African academic Diaspora both within and outside Africa to support a number of initiatives in African universities, especially focusing on strengthening teaching and research in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The overriding objective of the program is to contribute to strengthening teaching and research capacity in African universities, the nurturing of new generations of social science scholars in Africa in a culture of excellence, and the revitalization of the social sciences and humanities (SSH). This will include the strengthening of PhD programs, curricula in the social sciences and humanities, contribute to the filling of gaps and dealing with shortages in teaching staff, PhD supervision and mentoring of young social science scholars in Africa, more generally, as well as in strengthening the relationships and linkages between African academics in the diaspora and the institutions where they are based with African universities.

Given the critical need for qualified academic staff in universities in Africa and the huge pool of academic resources that the diaspora constitute, and the willingness of many of the members of the academic diaspora to contribute towards the strengthening of higher education and research in Africa, finding ways of mobilizing the academic diaspora to support the universities seems to be a logical thing to do, particularly as many of the universities of the continent are already taking greater interest in working with the diaspora.

This call for proposals targets academics based in African universities, and those in the Diaspora within Africa and outside Africa (Europe, North America, Canada, Australia), in the SSH, both of whom have attained their PhDs in the last five years, or are at the advanced stage of their PhDs, to submit proposals for post‐doctoral research, preferably, but not exclusively on issues related to one of the following themes:

 The African academic Diaspora and the revitalization of Higher education in Africa
 Current trends in economic theorization on African social and economic
 The Social Sciences and the Place of African Higher Education in the World
 African Citizenship, migration and economic mobility within and outside Africa.
Individual applicants selected under this call will be invited to attend a
methodological workshop in the early stages of implementation of their research

The Context

African higher education (HE) is undergoing deep transformation. The number of
universities in Africa and academic programs has increased compared to what they were two decades ago. This expansion has however occurred during a period of minimal investment in the continent’s higher education infrastructures. In the ensuing attempts to catch up, more policy emphasis within the continent has been to prioritize investments in Science and Technology disciplines (STEM) and the silent de‐emphasis of the SSH and their contribution to the revitalization of the universities and the continent’s development efforts. Research and teaching in the SSH has continued to be undermined by this infusion of a market logic in HE and the privileging of the STEM and related disciplines across the countries and institutions. Yet the critical roles that the SSH can play in the formulation of responses to global challenges such as climate change; social and global inequalities; the outbreaks of epidemics such as Ebola; terrorism and different kinds of extreme violence; and in the building of democratic, inclusive, affluent, safe and secure societies, is becoming more and more obvious.

The CODESRIA African Diaspora Support to African Universities Program aims to
contribute to the strengthening of teaching and research capacity in the SSH in African universities. A very pressing need exists for renewing the capacity for research and teaching in the SSH in African universities, especially with the wide acknowledgement that that a broad‐based and balanced education, integrating the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences, is the best way for higher education institutions to contribute to addressing the development crisis in Africa.

On the other hand, the existence of a large African academic diaspora has been documented in numerous studies. Many of these scholars are willing to lend a hand in the revitalization of universities in their home countries or elsewhere in Africa. Other highly qualified academics are circulating outside the universities, within Africa itself, and it would be important to have an initiative that taps into the knowledge and skills they have. Proposals targeted for funding under this call are aimed provided opportunities for early career academics in the social sciences and humanities to engage in a piece of original research related to one of the themes listed above. The research will be executed under the oversight of a member(s) of the college of mentors under the program to be constituted for that purpose.

Eligibility and application procedures

Interested academics and researchers proposing to conduct research on any of the themes listed above should be those who have completed their PhDs in the last 5 years or in the last stages of completion. Evidence of this should be provided. They should be based either in the Diaspora or in an African university or research institution. Those based in the African university should propose to undertake the post‐doctoral work in a different institution preferably one based outside the country where the institution of the applicant is located. Applicants should provide letters indicating institutional affiliation and acceptance from the host institution to host the applicant during the period of the fellowship.

Application Requirements

a) Research Proposal: Each proposal should be between 10 and 15 pages, clearly
highlighting the issue(s) to be pursued. It should include: an introduction, problem
statement, literature review, objectives of the study, research methodology and the results anticipated from the study.

b) Work Outline: A detailed outline and time frame should be provided for each of the
proposed activities, bearing in mind that the duration of the grant is 18 months from the date the grant is awarded.

c) Budget: Applicants are required to provide a detailed budget – up to a maximum of
USD30, 000 – which includes the fieldwork, travel and subsistence costs they expect to incur throughout the duration of the grant.

d) Reference Letters: Each proposal should be accompanied by reference letters for the applicant from the dean of the candidate’s faculty, confirming his /her institutional
affiliation and an attestation to the applicant/s capacity to undertake the work if awarded the grant.

e) Curriculum Vitae: Each proposal should be accompanied by detailed curriculum vitae, of the applicants showing clearly the candidate’s publications and research undertakings.

f) Commitment Letter: A one‐page letter is expected from the applicant affirming his/her readiness to complete the fellowship and submit a monograph/book length scientific research report of the activities and outcomes resulting from the work. The report would be a minimum of between 100,000 and 150,000 words on the outcome of the research carried out. The letter should also show the applicants’ commitment to carrying out all revisions arising from the peer review of their report in a timely manner, and an affirmation of their understanding that the final version of the report may be considered for publication in any of the CODESRIA publication vehicles.

Application Deadlines

Completed application documents should be received by 15th September 2015. All
applications should be addressed to:

African Diaspora Support to African Universities Program
Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop X Canal IV;
B.P. 3304, CP 18524, Dakar, Senegal
Tel. (221) 33 825 98 21/22/23; Fax : (221) 33 824 12 89;
E-mail : diaspora.postdoc@codesria.sn

This Program is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and by CODESRIA’s
core funders.

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