Calls for Applications (Grants, Fellowships, scholarships and awards)
EDCTP invites applications for The Clinical Research and Product Development Fellowship jointly implemented by both EDCTP and TDR for research and training in Tropical Diseases in Sub – Saharan Africa. Deadline 7. March 2019.
UKRI invites proposals for a new Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) call under the theme of food security to reduce the global burden of malnutrition. Deadline 7. May 2019.
TWAS is open for applications for research grants. Eligible are scholars from developing countries. Deadline is the 22. April 2019.
A call for papers for the 5th Joint Nordic Development Research (Nor-Dev) conference on „Knowledge production in North-South collaboration: Challenges in an Era of New Global Divides.“ Deadline is the 3. March 2019.
Jennifer Byrne argues that despite use of software that uncovers suspicious papers, there is need to „confront organized research fraud“ where the scientific community is willing to have discussions about it.
South African Higher Education Minister „defends HE fee policy against World Bank’s“ suggestions that despite the policy being attractive it is unsustainable and might strain the public treasury.
The Newton Fund has enabled female researchers in achieving remarkable fields such as health sciences, renewable energy and sustainable water management.
David Payne proposes „Universal Basic Research Grant (UBRG) as a solution to the problems faced in funding early stage research“ as this might result to high-return of the research performed in the scientific community.
Ervjola Selenica reports in detail on the development policy, commercialization and liberalization in higher education, citing the cases of South Africa, Zambia, Colombia and Kosovo.
The UK government announces a scheme to combat antimicrobial resistance in Commonwealth countries and has selected projects to run across four African nations
Craig Nicholson reports that the scientific community and other officials endorsed the Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy as they argued that greater use of science diplomacy will help address „global challenges and improve international relations.“
The South African Department of Science and Technology and the developers of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Phoenix-1B sounding rocket talk about the lessons learned from their unsuccessful launch and how they will be used to develop and launch another sounding rocket in 2020.
Gitura Mwaura discusses the publication landscape in Africa.
Calls for Applications (Grants, Fellowships, scholarships and awards)
The British Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is financing research networks with up to £150,000 available per network, over a 2 year period. These funds are to support running costs, events and activities. They anticipate funding up to 24 networks. Topics include Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure, Education, Food Systems, and Global Health. The call ends on 14. February 2019.
TWAS and the German Science Foundation offer postdoctoral researchers from sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa to go on a ‘Cooperation Visit’ lasting three months to an institute in Germany. Open to all academic fields. The application period ends on 1. April 2019.
TWAS has a partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences for up to 200 doctoral students in China. Areas include agriculture, physics and mathematics. The call ends on 31. March 2019.
The international consortium PRIMA Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area calls for application for research networks in the areas of water management, farming systems, and agro food value chain. Pre-proposals are due on 28. February, final proposals on 16. July 2019.
The British MRC and DFID announced their research leaders scheme offering research grants in health and biomedical areas . Deadline is the 9. April 2019
The Society of Social Studies of Science’s (4S) annual meeting 2019 will be in New Orleans, USA. Call for papers, closed panels and others. Deadline: 1. February 2019
The Third Biennial African Philosophy World Conference‘ is taking place in Dar Es Salaam from 28. to 30. October 2019 with a dedicated focus on knowledge practices. The call for papers ends on 1. April 2019
Dr. Jenniffer Mabuka calls for „heavy financial investments“ by African governments to build the necessary bio-medical research capacities for development and prevention of health crises.
During the summer semester I had the opportunity to teach a course on research integrity and international scientific collaborations with my colleague Tim Flink from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The course was part of a Master-program in science studies and turned out to be very interesting with a lot of input, critique and ideas from the students when we discussed the the texts.
To facilitate the exchange on teaching about this topic, especially with focus on research collaborations with participants from the Global South, I am publishing the syllabus here. Feel free do use the material or add to the course outline through comments. It will be great to discuss further options of how to place the topic in science studies. So my questions to you include:
What are your courses on this topics? What texts and material do you use when teaching research integrity in your field? And at which departments do you teach these subjects?
So here is our syllabus:
Research integrity matters for North-South collaborations. Colonial histories, continuous economic inequalities, the scientists‘ labour migration, a dominance of Northern approaches to scientific topics and unequally equipped research environments are crucial factors that structure these relationships. The seminar invites students to develop a conceptual understanding of research integrity under the aforementioned conditions, of research collaborations and of globalized norms of science. Moreover, in the seminar we will study the operationalization of research collaborations through mobility, co-publications and the funding and we will look at policy responses to these inequalities. Eventually, we will develop a model of research collaborations with African and European participants that tries to factor in the different original conditions, the goals of actors within different systems, their approaches in international scientific/science-policy affairs and their styles of planning and doing research. In the seminar, we will use first-hand empirical data from field research.
1. Session: What is Research Integrity and what is the difference to Research Ethics
1. Fuchs, S.; Westervelt, S. D., 1996. Fraud and Trust in Science. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 39(2), 249–269.
2. Singapore Statement on Research Integrity, 2010
3. Montreal Statement on Research Integrity in Cross-Boundary Research Collaborations, 2013
2. Session: What do we mean by research collaborations?
3. Session: How did science become international/global?
Short intervention/Lecture: Tim Flink on the base of
Stichweh, R., 2003. Genese des globalen Wissenschaftssystems. Soziale Systeme 9: 3–26.
4. Session: Which particular norms of science evolved when?
1. Daston, L., 1991. The Ideal and Reality of the Republic of Letters in the Enlightenment. Science in Context 4: 367–386.
2. Merton, R.K., 1973. The Normative Structure of Science. S. 267–278 in: N.W. Storer (Hrsg.), The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations . Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
5. Session: How do we operationalize research collaboration
I: Mobility (Student presentation)
1. Gaillard, J., Gaillard, A.M., Krishna, V.V., 2015. Return from Migration and Circulation of Highly Educated People: The Never-ending Brain Drain. Science, technology & Society 20, 269–278.
How do we operationalize research collaboration II: Bibliometrical analysis (Student presentation)
1. Adams, J., Gurney, K., Hook, D., Leydesdorff, L., 2014. International collaboration clusters in Africa. Scientometrics 98, 547–556. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-013-1060-2
2. Onyancha, O.B., and Meluleka, J.R. (2011). Knowledge production through collaborative research in sub-Saharan Africa: how much do countries contribute to each other’s knowledge output and citation impact? Scientometrics, 87, 315–336.
How do we operationalize research collaboration III: National and international R&D funding models (Student presentation)
1. Hyden, G., 2016. The role and impact of funding agencies on higher education and research for development, in: Halvorsen, T., Nossum, J. (Eds.), North-South Knowledge Networks: Student presentation Towards Equitable Collaboration between Academics, Donors and Universities. African Minds, Cape Town, pp. 1–39.
2. Gaillard, J., 2010. Measuring Research and Development in Developing Countries: Main Characteristics and Implications for the Frascati Manual. Science Technology & Society 15, 77-111. 4.http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs42-global-investments-in-rd-2017-en.pdf
4. European Commission, 2014. Mapping of Best Practice: Regional and Multi-Country STI Initiatives Between African and Europe. Publication Office of the EU, Luxemburg, p. 7-10.
6. Session: What integrity-problems arise in North-South collaborations? (Group discussion)
Kombe, F., Anunobi, E.N., Tshifugula, N.P., Wassenaar, D., Njadingwe, D., Mwalukore, S., Chinyama, J., Randrianasolo, B., Akindeh, P., Dlamini, P.S., others, 2014. Promoting research integrity in Africa: An African voice of concern on research misconduct and the way forward. Developing world bioethics 14, 158–166.
Zingerli, C., 2010. A Sociology of International Research Partnerships for Sustainable Development. European Journal of Development Research 22, 217–233. https://doi.org/10.1057/ejdr.2010.1
7. Session: Interpretation of interviews (Group Work and discussion with prior homework)
Introduction to interview analysis
Sources: Two anonymous interviews from field research
8 Session: Policy responses to integrity issues: Guidelines and ethical review committees as institutional safeguards (Student presentation)
1. Maselli, D., Lys, J.-A., Schmid, J., 2004. Improving impacts of research partnerships. Geographica Bernensia, Bern, p. 13-37.
2. Botti, L., IJsselmuiden, C., Kuss, K., Mwangi, E., Wagner, I.E., 2018. Equality in Health Research Cooperation Between Africa and Europe: The Potential of the Research Fairness Initiative, in: Cherry, A., Haselip, J., Ralphs, G., Wagner, I.E. (Eds.), Africa-Europe Research and Innovation Cooperation. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 99–119. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69929-5_6
3. Ndebele, P., Wassenaar, D., Benatar, S., Fleischer, T., Kruger, M., Adebamowo, C., Kass, N., Hyder, A.A., Meslin, E.M., 2014. Research Ethics Capacity Building in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of NIH Fogarty-Funded Programs 2000–2012. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics: An International Journal 9, 24–40. https://doi.org/10.1525/jer.2014.9.2.24
9. Session: Students present their essays ideas (peer review)
Further recommended reading:
Adriansen, H.K., Madsen, L.M., Jensen, S. (Eds.), 2016. Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa: The Geography and Power of Knowledge Under Changing Conditions. Routledge.
Hountondji, P.J., 1990. Scientific Dependence in Africa Today. Research in African Literatures 21, 5–15.
Mouton, J., Gaillard, J., van Lill, M., 2015. Functions of Science Granting Councils in Sub-Saharan Africa, in: Cloete, N., Maassen, P., Bailey, T. (Eds.), Knowledge Production and Contradictory Functions in African Higher Education, African Minds Higher Education Dynamics Series. African Minds, Cape Town, pp. 148–170.
Wagner, C.S., 2008. The New Invisible College: Science for Development. Brookings Institution Press.
Zdravkovic, M., Chiwona-Karltun, L., Zink, E., 2016. Experiences and perceptions of South-South and North-South scientific collaboration of mathematicians, physicists and chemists from five southern African universities. Scientometrics 108, 717–743. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-016-1989-z
As usual, there are some goals to follow up on every new year. My biggest aim for this blog is to deliver the Links and News-section more frequently. Let me know if you have heard of funding for scholarships, research cooperation or even capacity building initiatives, if you know of conferences and workshops on the topic of science funding and sociology of science, and if you have interesting reads and reports to share.
Indicators and factors that influence the daily scientific work in African research institutions
As soon as you enter the field of research collaborations with African and European participants, you will need a heuristic list or model of the factors that influence the scientific environments and opportunities of collaboration. The deeply entrenched history of Africa and Europe also in regard to science still influences any partnership model. While I will turn to European science systems and their links to African science systems later, in this blog entry I will give an overview of the factors that need to be considered when analyzing African systems of scientific research.
There are several causes that account for the current state of research possibilities in African countries today. The Beninoise philosopher Paulin Hountondji and the South African sociologist of science Johann Mouton are two researchers among others who have drafted lists with important factors.
Paulin Hountondji is mostly known for his critique of an Ethnophilosophy, a style of inquiry that attributes systematic thoughts and philosophies to collectives (1974). Hountondji has from early on defended an individual based model of science, in which he calls for the philosophers to take responsibility for their arguments in free and rigorous research and discourses instead of hiding behind “smokescreens of traditions”. For such form of research one not only needs the freedom of opinion and press but also the opportunities to pursue research on a high level. Therefore, Hountondji has listed the following factors in his article “Scientific Dependence in Africa Today” (1990). In this article he identified 13 factors that account for new dependencies. In many regards, the article is still a valid description of present conditions:
All technical equipment comes from the North.
The publishing houses and libraries lag, which deepens dependencies on Foreign documentation.
African scholars, therefore, need to be “scientific tourists” to the North to participate in high quality research environments more than their travelling Western colleagues.
Notorious brain drain remains an issue and a characteristic of the global science system.
Although research institutes were established with external assistance, they remain foreign to their host societies by not responding to local objectives and needs.
Research facilities are rather used for applied than for basic research. The pragmatic or utilitarian ideas behind it have been inherited and internalized from the colonizer.
African authors tend to address interests of Western audiences in their publications.
Research remains bound to the local context instead of participating in universal debates.
Scientific research serves the economic exploitation of African resources.
The focus on ethnoscience or “indigenous knowledge” is no favor to development because its objectification leaves it behind as disconnected and static bodies.
African scientists remain bound to foreign languages to have access to global research. This doesn’t help to acquire universal knowledge and prevents scientists from cooperating with their own populations.
There is a lack of communication between the scholars of the South.
Mediocrity at African research institutions and universities and less rigorously applied standards by Western colleagues are preventing the scholars from developing excellence.
These indices were observed and spelled out by Hountondji before the background of a severe economic and social crisis in many African countries. Also in his position as a minister for culture and education in the early 1990s, Hountondji himself had to find solutions and strategies to overcome such obstacles. One major incentive of Hountondji is to free spaces for basic research and especially for original theory building that can direct research directions. This aligns with many current initiatives by African states to set national priority agendas that are not only ideals but are supposed to also bind foreign researchers in their quests.
Johann Mouton from the University of Stellenbosch is currently involved in a project analyzing exactly many of the above-mentioned indices among “Young scientists in Africa”. The midterm report starts with a similar systematic overview that is titled the “de-institutionalized science” and dates back to an overview by Mouton in 2008. Mouton identifies five characteristics of African research environments:
Research institutions remain weak, including only fragile research centers, an irregular number of scientific journals, weak academies of sciences and similar institutions that are present in institutionalized settings to support science.
A continuous and high reliance on external funding.
Research is primarily based on individuals rather than on institutions.
Declining numbers of doctoral programs leading to less scientific and academic workforce.
A weak connection of science with their social environments.
Mouton and his colleagues identified a minimum of six factors that contribute to the current state, most of them connecting the African science systems to European and other actors: Firstly, colonial science and its legacy are still present. Secondly, political crisis and wars are preventing the continuous development of scientific systems. Thirdly, World Bank education politics of the 1990s and 2000s had a fatal effect for the maintenance of research universities and centers. Fourthly, international agencies are still shaping African science programs and priorities, among them international funders and research agencies. Their role is, however, somewhat ambivalent, as they also provide continuity in cases of crisis. Swiss and French research institutions are examples of such continuity. Fifthly, African governments are not investing enough into their national science systems. Finally, the leaving of many trained researchers still poses a threat to the establishment of research communities in African countries.
It is obvious that these factors are interdependent. The challenge remains to explain under which circumstances which factor weights in most and where interventions should take place. My current research focuses on the role of funders and international organizations that support programs to the benefit of research opportunities. At the same time, in my interviews with researchers from Africa and Europe I get to know different experiences with such dependencies and opportunities of external funding. It is also in such conversations that initiatives by individual African countries become more obvious. The Côte d’Ivoire, for example, has started a small grant program for national researchers in 2017 and thus steps up its commitment to its research environment. Burkina Faso, on the other hand, has drafted a national research strategy to define its priorities already in 2011. I will come back to these national initiatives African countries.