Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Program Names Forty-Three New Fellows
Brooklyn, NY, July 11, 2014 —The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has named forty-three 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. The 2014–15 cohort will work on a range of timely topics, including traditional peacebuilding mechanisms in northern Nigeria, food sovereignty in Tanzania, and rural livelihood patterns in post-conflict northern Uganda.
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 pleased to support the work of a promising new generation of scholars, who will return to their universities better situated to lead their chosen disciplines, mentor future generations, and strengthen academic departments across African university systems.”
Over the first three years of the program, the SSRC has awarded ninety-two fellowships. Fellows are selected through a rigorous peer-review process involving two rounds of review, the first drawing on the expertise of leading Africa-based researchers, and the second convening an advisory board drawn from senior members 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 and faculty, whose work in teaching new generations 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.
A complete list of Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa fellows is available here.