Volkswagen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships In Social Sciences for Young African Researchers

Knowledge for Tomorrow - Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

Course(s) Offered: Social sciences
Course Level: Graduate Research
Provider: Gulbenkian Foundation, Volkswagen Foundation
Country to Study in: Sub-Saharan Africa and Germany

Scholarship Description
This Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme, funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation and other European partners aims at providing sustainable support for research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Besides an African-European cooperation, special emphasis is put on the development and extension of academic networks within Africa.

This is a "Call for Pre-Proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Social Sciences in Sub-Saharan Africa". This call is part of the Foundations’ career development strategy for African researchers in which junior and senior postdoctoral fellows should take responsibility for developing and executing their own research project and show leadership responsibilities for their research group (in the case of senior fellows).

The project must be carried out in collaboration with a European partner institution. The call is open to all scholars from Sub-Saharan Africa active in the research fields mentioned below.

The programme is open to applications from disciplines like sociology, cultural sociology, political science, economics, social anthropology, and social or political history. Only researchers from Sub-Saharan countries are eligible for funding.

Junior fellowship:
A three year fellowship (36 months) is offered to outstanding African junior researchers holding a Ph. D. (not more than three years after completion of Ph. D.). Project ideas must be developed independently by the applicant and should be realized primarily at an African institution. The fellowship covers salary, research, and travel costs up to a maximum of 90,000 EUR.

The budget must be justified specifically. Inclusions are as found on the official website.

Senior fellowship:
A three year fellowship (36 months) is offered to researchers with a substantial research experience (3 to 6 years of postdoctoral experience). Applicants will need to demonstrate experience and achievements (as documented by their publication record) appropriate to the extended funding and research group leader responsibilities. The fellowship covers salary, research and travel costs up to a maximum of 120,000 EUR.

The budget must be justified specifically and could include specifications as contained on the official website.

Mentorship Programme:
By taking part in the optional Mentorship Programme, the Fellow can establish links to two leading researchers of her/his choice – one from a European and/or one from an African institution. The mentorship offers the possibility of scientific networking and knowledge exchange between Mentors and Fellow.

Eligible groups
Citizens of ALL sub-Saharan African countries

Participating Institutions
All accredited academic institutions in Africa and Germany

Fields of study
Current social, economic and political developments in contemporary Sub-Saharan societies are at the core of this call for proposals.

Possible research areas include: processes of urbanization, the emergence and scope of violent conflicts, peace building strategies, foreign actors in Africa, inter-African relationships, questions of social order, measures aiming at poverty reduction.

All projects should have a strong reference to present questions and problems concerning Sub-Saharan Africa and transcend disciplinary boundaries and limitations by exploring linkages between disciplinary approaches.

Number of awards
Not specified by sponsors

Sponsorship duration
All fellowships are available for the duration of three years (36 months).

Scholarship benefits
This Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme aims at supporting young African postdoctoral researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa by:
  1. providing an opportunity to enhance both skills and academic qualifications 
  2. strengthening partnerships between African and European scholars, and 
  3. developing and extending academic networks inside Africa.
For both junior and senior fellowship types, a cooperation with a European partner institution is required. Furthermore, up to 25,000 EUR for an associated European Postdoctoral Fellow - to enhance the exchange of scholarly expertise - can be applied for. Additionally, the possibility of an accompanying assistance by mentors is given.

The applications for junior and senior fellowships should include a statement by the Fellow concerning the institution she/he intends to collaborate with and what research topics will be covered. The official grant recipient will be the academic institution in Africa where the Fellow will be employed. Basic infrastructure should be provided by the African institution; the fellowship may include administrative costs for this institution up to a maximum of 5,000 EUR.

Mentorship Programme:
For meetings between the Fellow and the Mentors, up to 10,000 EUR can be applied for. The Mentors must agree to act as supporters of the Fellow by encouraging the career development, introducing them to peer networks and assisting with publication in international journals.

Method of Application
The application is organized as a three-stage process, and pre-proposals must be submitted as one pdf file in English by 15 June 2011 to, or alternatively via the electronic application system ( siteLanguage=en).

It is important to read the official call document, and also to visit the official website via link below for complete details on how to apply.

All pre-proposals must be submitted by 15 June 2011 at the latest.

The Foundations can only provide funds to academic institutions. The Foundations cannot consider applications which have been submitted at the same time either in the same or some similar form to other funding institutions. Also, the Foundations are not able to allocate funding to cover commitments entered into prior to the receipt of the grant letter.

Application Deadline: 15 June 2011
Open to International Applicants: No (ONLY Africans)

More Scholarship Information and Application (Volkswagen page)

Related: Scholarships in Africa for International Applicants

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