The project aims at composing a comprehensive overview of current and planned programs of co-operation between Germany and Africa in the field of early-career funding. Universities involved in the German Universities Excellence Initiative as well as many other research institutions regularly declare their intention to intensify the international cooperation of German scholars. Regarding Africa, there is a wide range of programs that support German African research projects and promote exchange with African scientists. Such programs range from well-established formats of long-term individual scholarships to the active recruitment of African fellows for Institutes of Advanced Studies in Germany and the establishment of such institutions in the Global South to support for international networks of young academics. However, a systematic evaluation of past experiences and reflections on how to improve connections and synergies between the numerous individual programs are still missing. The project aims at filling this gap.
Early career is commonly defined as the first work years in research and teaching after completing a doctoral thesis. For Africa, this definition needs to remain flexible: African university lecturers and researchers sometimes teach for years before they can complete a doctorate. The project will therefore also consider funding programs for African scholars before and after their early-career phase. It will examine programs of co-operation in the MINT-subjects as well as in the social sciences and the humanities. The major focus will be on the perspectives of the German funding organisations, but the project will also explore the experiences of African cooperation partners. It will conduct case studies of German funding programmes in Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal, analysing the German initiatives in the context of other early-career support schemes, mainly from other European countries.
The project hopes to produce data that donors may use to interconnect current and future initiatives more effectively, and that are useful for young researchers looking for the best funding programme for their projects and career plans.