About this project:
This blog is part of a project I initiated after having worked in higher education management for two years. These jobs raised questions of how collaborations contribute to the quality and relevance of research in Africa and Europe, which I wanted to follow up to. Writing a grant proposal for the Volkswagen Foundation in 2015 gave me the chance to systematise my questions and gave me some initial insights into the literature that touches upon international research collaborations in general and on North-South scientific partnerships in particular. During the next two years, I will focus on six European countries with their diverse historical ties to African countries: Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Great Britain and Germany. Two disciplines interests me most for comparative and other reasons: Medicine in the field of neglected tropical diseases and engineering in the area of renewable energies . Both subjects are highly relevant for the current debate on sustainable and more equitable global development.
This blog deals with various aspects of such research collaborations. I will regularly present and discuss results of my readings, interviews and analysis of the ethics and chances, pitfalls and conditions of North-South scientific partnerships. Such cooperation takes place in an environment that is shaped by asymmetric starting positions and unequal access to resources. However, during the last decade many funders have tried to formulate new strategies to limit the disparity and to support up-to-date individual and institutional capacities in African countries. How far have they come? Additionally, I will share links to events and discussions, funder’s deadlines and calls for conferences and papers. Therefore, the blog is addressed to researchers, funders and policy-makers alike.
Trained as a political scientist with a minor in philosophy, I wrote a doctoral dissertation about West African constitutional reforms after 1988 with focus on Ghana’s transition to multiparty democracy. The research received support from the Accra based Centre for Democratic Development and the philosophy department of the University of Ghana, where I spent valuable months in 2011. After finishing my dissertation, I joined the internationalisation team at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and later the Freie Universität Berlin as personal assistant to the Executive Vice President.
My interest in African-European relations was sparked off during a research internship with the Kenyan Security Research & Information Centre in 2005 and has since deepened through civic engagement with AfricAvenir International e.V. My academic interest in political science from non-Western perspectives as well as the civic engagement with like-minded and inspiring people also encouraged me to include political theory from an African perspective in courses for several years and to publish the first German anthology of African political philosophy in 2015 with my long-time colleague Franziska Dübgen.