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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Grants & Fellowships

CODESRIA support to Doctoral Students (College of Senior Academic Mentors)

Since 1988, CODESRIA has supported postgraduate students registered at African universities, through the Small Grants Programme for Thesis Writing. Over time, this programme has been modified to accept only doctoral students with the overall objective of responding to the emerging challenge of doctoral supervision in the social sciences and humanities in African universities. This led to the establishment of a College of Senior Academic Mentors to support doctoral students registered at African universities in 2016.

The College is made up of senior diaspora academics (mentors) in the social sciences and humanities, who volunteer their time to be paired with doctoral students at African universities who are undertaking research in the same area as them. This pairing is for the purposes of mentoring and advising the students throughout their doctoral cycle.

The mentors read and comment on the students’ proposal and thesis chapters and assist them with relevant reading materials. They also link the students to other means of support within their own network for the purposes of workshop and conference participation and co-publication. The mentors provide the students with critical methodological and epistemological guidance that they require for their doctoral studies and contribute to timely completion of the students’ doctoral programme.

Call for applications: 2023 call for proposals


CODESRIA Support to Doctoral Schools

In 2017, CODESRIA launched a new intervention targeting Doctoral Schools and the rebuilding of scholarly infrastructures and academic communities in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). This intervention aims to achieve improved research capacity, collaboration and networking in HSS within African universities.

Under this intervention, the Council intends to strengthen the capacity of universities to fulfil their research mission, in addition to that of teaching; help young researchers to become better equipped at addressing the epistemological and methodological issues related to their research; and enhance their capacity to critically interrogate the theoretical, conceptual and methodological developments in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The overall objective is to restore and/or enhance the seminar culture within HSS schools and centres and doctoral schools in African universities, while encouraging the use of multi and interdisciplinary approaches. The support includes the following engagements :

  • Scientific seminars that expose younger academics and PhD students to the relevant literature, current debates, and theoretical approaches in relation to a given topics.
  • Methodology institutes.
  • Scientific writing and publishing workshops.

To benefit from this support and promote knowledge sharing within the continent, one of the requirements is the involvement of academics from another African university or the diaspora into the pedagogic supervision of convenings. The outcome envisaged is a strong African research community in the Humanities and Social Sciences that can position itself in international research networks. Another contribution is to reinforce the institutional capacity of HSS centers by providing them with opportunities to improve their overall ability to manage research.

Over the last 5 years, 28 schools have been selected for support under this grant. These include institutions in francophone and anglophone countries. From their feedback, receiving the grant improved their capacity to train doctoral candidates and contributed to strengthening their institutions.


CODESRIA Advanced Humanities Fellowships

This Fellowship aims at supporting senior academics who are working in the humanities to produce work that helps map out new terrains in the study of the humanities in Africa.

This could focus on issues of theory, concept or methodology, or propose new ways of broadening the scope of the humanities in the continent beyond the traditional academic disciplines, to encompass emerging areas like digital or public humanities. More importantly, the programme is happy to show how the traditional humanities disciplines could accommodate or be accommodated by the emerging areas of study.

The Council awarded the first batch of grants under the 2020/2021 Advanced Humanities Fellowship to five fellows:


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