African Diaspora Support To African University Programme - Call for Joint Proposals for Research Networks and Projects in Higher Education, The Humanities and Social Sciences

Under its newly launched African Diaspora Support to African Universities, the Council for the Development of Social Science research in Africa (CODESRIA) is pleased to invite interested scholars universities to submit proposals for joint research projects.

The Programme seeks to mobilize the African academic diaspora to support the teaching of higher education, the humanities and social sciences in African universities and to strengthen the linkages between African academics in the diaspora and African universities. It seeks to mobilize African academics in the diaspora to contribute to the strengthening of African universities, the nurturing of new generations of scholars in Africa in a culture of excellence, and the revitalization of the social sciences, higher education studies, and the humanities. The specific objectives of the programme include the strengthening of PhD programs and the curricula in the social sciences, higher education, and the humanities; contribute to the filling of gaps and dealing with shortages in teaching; 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.

The Programme derives from CODESRIA’s mandate as the leading pan African social science council of the continent and its responsibility to help address the problem of the shortage of qualified academic staff in many African universities both for teaching and for PhD supervision, particularly with the creation of hundreds of new public and private universities. The consequences of these shortages include the lack of capacity in most of the social science and humanities departments and schools in African universities to organize quality postgraduate programs and conduct research. In some instances, capacity for postgraduate supervision does not exist, and doctoral and masters students take longer to complete their programs due to a lack or shortage of qualified supervisors and mentors.

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. Therefore, one effective way to address the shortage of qualified senior academic staff and PhD supervision capacity in African universities is to mobilize the academic diaspora to support universities in Africa. The initiative will do this through the following strategies:

  • Organizing the joint supervision of masters’ and doctoral students in the SSH;
  • Facilitating the review and further development of curricula in the SSH;
  • Organizing the sharing of course outlines and relevant literature, and the introduction of new teaching methods
  • Enabling diaspora academics to take up short-term teaching engagements at African universities,  as part of their sabbaticals;
  • Establishing a College of Mentors of early career academics in African universities, including through joint research and publications
  • Enabling diaspora academics and senior African scholars to serve as external examiners in each other’s university departments
  • Enabling diaspora academics to serve as directors and resource persons in the various research and training networks that CODESRIA will undertake as part of the proposed initiative.
  • Organizing experience-sharing / training workshops for PhD advisors, as well as summer schools for advanced doctoral and post-doctoral students and early career academics.
  • Launching a scholar exchange program through which CODESRIA will facilitate the hosting of visiting African professors and guest researchers by diaspora academics, and the hosting of diaspora academics by African universities

The programme is organized around the following activities:

  • Visiting Professorships: diaspora academics will visit African universities for durations varying from 15 days of stay to 3 months; the African universities hosting them provide accommodation, or help them rent apartments at reasonable rates.
  • Curriculum review and development
  • Sharing course modules and relevant literature
  • Mentoring and co-supervision of doctoral students (a College of Mentors)
  • Summer Institutes
  • Advanced workshops for PhD advisors based at African universities
  • Joint Research Projects on the African diaspora and diaspora linkages (including scoping studies, and a review of current policies and frameworks for the governance and management of the linkages between African institutions and the diaspora)
  • Publications

This particular call targets African scholars in the Diaspora and researchers based at African universities, with a view to creating joint research networks around joint research projects on the kinds of challenges facing African universities that the Diaspora could help overcome; or to the kinds of linkages existing between the Diaspora and African universities; or on any of the issues on the CODESRIA research agenda in ways that would lead to the filling of knowledge gaps and enhance research capacity in African universities.

Each network should involve scholars based at African universities and scholars in the diaspora, cover two or more countries, and undertake research on contemporary issues/challenges that the SSH in African Universities ought to be addressing. Applicants should be those in the SSH disciplines, who have completed their PhD studies or are at the advanced stage of their PhDs.  Proposals revolving around the following broad themes are encouraged.

  • Challenges facing African universities that the Diaspora could help overcome;
  • Linkages existing between the Diaspora and African universities;
  • Diaspora engagements with African universities;
  • Policies and Incentive structures for mobilizing the African diaspora to support African higher education and research;
  • Strengthening PhD programs in  Higher Education, the SSH in African Humanities;
  • Governance : Political, economic, environmental, social etc ;
  • Current trends in economic theorization and African development;
  • Higher education transformations and research trends in the SSH;
  • Gender and African Development in the 21st century;
  • Law and order regimes; including Africa’s insertion into international law;
  • Emerging issues in land use and distribution; including issues of Biotechnology,  food production and hunger in Africa;
  • Extraction industries and Africa’s sustainability;
  • Digital age and cultural reproduction in Africa;
  • Political transitions and the fate of the state in Africa;
  • SSH and emerging forms of Social Policy regimes in Africa;
  • Emergent religious movements and forms of religious fundamentalism;
  • The youth in African politics, economics and development discourse.

The joint research networks of African and African diaspora scholars should cover at least one of the following countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. Proposals with a strong multidisciplinary orientation and gender and institutional diversity in terms of the composition of group members are highly encouraged.


Interested academics and researchers of the African diaspora and those based in universities located in any of the countries listed above are requested to send in their research proposals, focusing on specific issues revolving around the broad themes identified above.

Application Requirements

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Budget: Applicants are required to provide a detailed budget – up to a maximum of USD35, 000 – which includes the fieldwork, travel and subsistence costs they expect to incur throughout the duration of the grant.
  4. Reference Letters: Each proposal should be accompanied by reference letters for each of the network members 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.
  5. Curriculum Vitae: Each proposal should be accompanied by detailed curriculum vitae, of the applicants showing clearly the candidate’s publications and research undertakings.f) An identified coordinator of the network who will be responsible for the overall coordination of the work and account for the financial aspects of the network and the final scientific output.
  6. Commitment Letter: A one-page letter is expected from the coordinator of the group, affirming  his/her readiness to coordinate the work and submit a monograph-length scientific report of between 80,000 and  100,000 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.
Date of Deadline