Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Program Selects New Fellows

Brooklyn, NY, July 23 — The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has named thirty-six new fellows to the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program. Fellows were selected for the quality and originality of their work in the fields of peace, security, and development and for their potential to make significant contributions to the social sciences. This 2013–14 cohort will work on a range of critical and timely topics, including projects on climate change and insecurity in the Lake Chad basin, land tenure and resettlement in northern Uganda, and the role of women in parliament in postgenocide Rwanda and postapartheid South Africa.

The Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa fellowship program addresses the inadequate number of faculty holding PhDs in universities in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, a deficit that undermines vital efforts to expand and strengthen higher education systems in Africa. Faculty who hold a master’s degree but have yet to complete a doctoral degree, often due to crushing teaching loads and a lack of funding opportunities for research and writing, receive fellowship support at one of three crucial moments in their graduate training: proposal development, dissertation research, or dissertation completion.

Ira Katznelson, president of the SSRC, states, “We are delighted to support the work of a promising new generation of scholars, who will return to their universities better situated to mentor students and provide leadership to their departments and in their chosen fields of study.”

Over the first two years of the program, the SSRC has awarded sixty-nine fellowships. Fellows are selected through a rigorous peer-review process involving two rounds of review, the first drawing on the expertise of Africa-based researchers, and the second convening leaders in African social sciences to select the finalists.

The program’s director, Thomas Asher, observes, “Researchers emerging from our program are better positioned to influence discussions about pressing needs in Africa, propose effective solutions, and contribute to international social science literature on these issues.” He points out that the program not only nurtures individual research capabilities but also builds institutional research capacity in universities by strengthening the departments responsible for training future generations of researchers, whose work will become increasingly important as African countries prioritize entrance to the global knowledge economy.

The Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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