Knowledge for Tomorrow Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

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1 Funding Initiative Information for Applicants 81k Knowledge for Tomorrow Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa Call for Pre-Proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships on Livelihood Management, Reforms and Processes of Structural Change Deadline for Pre-Proposals November 30, 2012 Information Africa Initiative The Humanities and Social Sciences, The Engineering Sciences The International Team Dr. Cora Ziegenbalg Phone: +49 (0) VolkswagenStiftung Kastanienallee Hannover Germany 1. Objectives This Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation aims at providing sustainable support for research and capacity building in Africa. It is part of the initiative Knowledge for Tomorrow - Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Besides an African-European cooperation, the development and extension of trans-african academic networks in the natural and social sciences across the whole African continent are emphasized. The call is part of the Foundation s career development scheme for African researchers. Within this framework, junior and senior postdoctoral fellows develop and execute their own research projects and establish leadership responsibilities. With this program, the Foundation aims at supporting postdoctoral scientists establishing an academic career in Africa. The call is open to all scholars from Sub-Saharan Africa active in research fields of the natural and social sciences. The project must be carried out in cooperation with a German research partner institution and/or an associated German postdoctoral fellow. This Fellowship Program is coordinated by two German senior scientists and their teams. The coordinators will support the fellows in organizing workshops, summer schools, and other training elements which might be helpful to conduct their projects and to establish strong scientific networks. Interdisciplinary cooperation among the fellows will be emphasized. 2. Background Improving human well-being with its multidimensional aspects is at the core of sustainable development efforts in Africa. Environmental goods and services as well as socioeconomic reliability are the basis for reaching essential human development goals. Access and entitlement to a range of environmental and social assets and opportunities are major prerequisites for sustainable livelihoods. However, livelihoods are not only limited to basic needs like food, water, health, and income but must include opportunities for in- August

2 vestments, national economic stability as well as reliable governance systems. A sustainable livelihood (including natural, social, human, physical and financial aspects) can maintain its capabilities and assets without destroying its natural resources. Income and services derived from environmental resources, including cropland and pastures, forests and woodlands, freshwater bodies and wetlands, coastal and marine resources, and wildlife (flora and fauna) are central to the livelihoods of the majority of the population and to Africa s economy as a whole. One of the key observations made in African states is the continuous weakness of governmental institutions which leads to a withdrawal of the state from broad areas of society. This process takes place in rural as well as in urban settings, it affects collective as well as individual actors. Simultaneously, complex developments threaten the bio-physical and socio-economic stability of the continent: e.g. continuous population growth, ongoing migration of people mainly into major cities, shortage of (natural) resources, and natural hazards. These problems are aggravated by climate change and insufficient or inappropriate resource management concepts as well as internal (structural) changes within societies or states due to reforms introduced at local, regional or sub-regional levels. Resources in the context of this call do not only include natural resources (e.g. water, soil, land, energy, commodities, protected areas) but also all kinds of resources related to human activities or societal structures (such as farming or land tenure systems, product chains, and indigenous knowledge). Regarding interpersonal relationships, or relationships between persons and organizations/institutions it is mandatory to go beyond the unilateral approach of increasing the productivity of natural or economic capital. At the same time sustainable approaches are developed to support livelihoods that will have no or minor adverse effects on livelihood conditions. 3. Thematic Scope Based on the observations stated above, this call for pre-proposals focuses on two broad areas (see a) and b)). Primarily, the research projects should deal with the question how individual or collective social actors can manage and protect resources efficiently and develop sustainable livelihood strategies under present social and environmental conditions and in view of locally and globally changing circumstances. All projects should have a strong reference to current questions and problems concerning respective regions and/or Africa as a continent. Transcultural dimensions as well as bridging the anglophone/francophone divide in Africa could be important aspects of these projects. The program is open to applications from disciplines of both the natural and social sciences. Funding is restricted to researchers from African countries. August

3 a) Livelihood strategies from the perspective of local actors: the social dimension Here, pre-proposals concentrating on innovative approaches of livelihood management strategies at communal or individual levels will be considered, focusing on local actors such as non-state actors, local authorities, rural communities, farmers, micro-enterprises etc. Possible topics include the necessary (pre)conditions for innovation processes, the constraints for success or failure, and the share and distribution of benefits. Furthermore, projects addressing the relationships between local actors and local, national, and/or international institutions and their effects on resource management are welcome, focusing on both the micro and the meso- or macro-level. b) Livelihood strategies with regard to natural resources: preservation, utilization, recovery Most African countries and societies are highly dependent on natural resources and agricultural production in particular. Accordingly, and in view of changing consumption patterns, projects are welcome addressing e.g. a growing demand for agricultural and forestry products, rising energy as well as associated food prices, the impacts of climate and land use change, and the resulting scarcity of water and land, from a natural science point of view. This includes specifically projects on biodiversity conservation focusing on habitats and the capacity of ecosystems to establish sustainable livelihood strategies. Prevention of and adaptation strategies to disasters and hazards resulting from human activities can also be in the focus of projects to be submitted. General remark It is intended to establish interdisciplinary contacts and academic links among the projects funded. Therefore, the motivation and the willingness to cooperate with other scholars coming from a different disciplinary background are key factors for a productive and innovative atmosphere. All applicants successful in stage 1 will be invited to an interdisciplinary workshop during the second stage of the selection process. Applicants are invited to take this already into account while preparing the pre-proposals. 4. Funding Opportunities This Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 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 German scholars, and (3) developing and extending academic networks within Africa. The program includes both junior (up to 90,000 EUR) and senior fellowships (up to 120,000 EUR). For both types of fellowships either or both types of cooperation with a German research partner institution and/or an associated German postdoc fellow is mandatory. Up to 25,000 EUR for an associated German postdoctoral fellow can be applied for, thus enhancing the exchange of scholarly expertise and August

4 aiming at a cooperation of equals. The German fellow does not have to be associated to the cooperating German partner institution. In any case, the African fellow (junior or senior) has to reflect on the choice of the institution he/she intends to cooperate with and the research topics covered by this cooperation. Moreover, the foundation recommends the integration of an accompanying assistance by mentors into the project. 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 6,000 EUR. The Foundation supports a good work-life-balance for scientists with children. More information can be found under MILIENBEZOGENE_LEISTUNGEN_englisch.pdf. 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. African scientists who have submitted their thesis but still need to pass the defense are also invited to submit a pre-proposal. If the applicant is still in the final phase of the Ph.D., a letter from the main supervisor is needed that the Ph.D. will be completed by the end of the selection process. The fellowship covers salary, research, travel costs, and administrative costs up to a maximum of 90,000 EUR. The budget must be justified specifically. It could include: Salary of fellow or topping up if already employed at the African research institution (depending on experience and customary local salaries), Alternatively, the budget for topping up the salary can be used to employ lecturers in order to reduce the personal teaching duties, Salaries of graduate students involved in the research project, Travel expenses for conferences/workshops, Research visits to African/non-African institutions of up to 3-4 months per year (including visits at German partner institution), Language courses or courses for project management etc., Consumables, Publication costs, Administrative costs (max. 6,000 EUR), Small equipment (max. 10 % of total budget). August

5 Additional and optional budget items Additional German postdoctoral fellow (optional, max. 25,000 EUR), Additional Mentorship Program (optional, max. 10,000 EUR), Costs of preparatory meeting for the full proposal with German partner institution and/or German postdoctoral fellow (optional, max. 5,000 EUR). Senior fellowship A three year fellowship (36 months) is offered to researchers with a substantial research experience (3-6 years of postdoctoral experience). Applicants have to demonstrate experience and scientific 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, and administrative costs up to a maximum of 120,000 EUR. The budget must be justified specifically and could include: Salary of fellow or topping up if already employed at the African research institution (depending on experience and customary local salaries), Alternatively, the budget for topping up the salary can be used to employ lecturers in order to reduce the personal teaching duties, Salary of 1-2 Ph. D. students involved in the project, (co-)supervised by the applicant, Salaries of graduate students involved in the research project, Travelling to conferences/workshops, Research visits to African/non-African institutions of up to 3-4 months per year (including visits at German partner institution), Language courses or courses for project management etc., Consumables, Publication costs, Administrative costs (max. 6,000 EUR), Small equipment (max. 10 % of total budget). Additional and optional budget items Additional German postdoctoral fellow (optional, max. 25,000 EUR), Additional Mentorship Program (optional, max. 10,000 EUR), Costs of preparatory meeting for the full proposal with German partner institution and/or German postdoctoral fellow (optional, max. 5,000 EUR). August

6 Mentorship Program By taking part in the optional Mentorship Program, the fellow can establish links to one or two leading researchers of her/his choice. For meetings between the fellow and the mentors, up to 10,000 EUR can be applied for. The full Mentorship Program can only be granted on the condition that two mentors are chosen one from a European and one from an African institution. The mentorship offers the possibility of scientific networking and knowledge exchange between mentors and fellow. The mentors must agree to act as supporters of the fellow by encouraging the career development, introducing them to peer networks, and assisting with publications in international journals. Mentors must not be supervisors or main collaborators in the project and should be based at an academic institution different from the institution where the fellow is employed. The mentors must not be identical with the German partner institution. The role of the mentors is meant to give further assistance beyond the support of the German partner institution. Additional support for postdoctoral fellows from Germany As optional feature of this program, it is possible to receive funding of up to 25,000 EUR for a German postdoctoral fellow. The funds are meant to support German postdoctoral fellows to participate actively in the research project outlined by the African applicant. The African fellow needs to apply for these additional funds for her/his German partner. The German fellow must be based at a German research institution. The grant may include both travel grants and up to three months of salary for the German postdoc fellow in order to guarantee a substantial contribution to the project of the African Postdoc Scientist. The role of the German postdoctoral fellow in the project has to be described and justified by the applicant. Additional workshops, trainings, summer schools Funding of workshops, trainings, symposia, and summer schools in addition to training courses which are part of the research projects can be applied for. These events should take place in Sub-Saharan Africa and should aim for high visibility thereby strengthening networking activities between African junior and senior researchers as well as European junior and senior researchers. Applicants are requested to send draft proposals to the Volkswagen Foundation. If approved, the applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. Full proposals should be submitted at least four months before the proposed activity. They can be submitted any time during the course of the fellowship. 5. Application and Selection Process The application is organized as a three-stage process, and pre-proposals must be submitted as one pdf file in English by 30 November 2012 to or alternatively via the electronic application system ( login.do?sitelanguage=en). In case you choose the latter means, only one file, August

7 pdf format, should contain the pre-proposal itself and all appendices. After the selection of Pre-proposal description in the electronic application system this file should be uploaded there. Stage 1 The pre-proposal applications will be reviewed by an international expert committee. Decisions will be communicated by approximately March/April In case of a positive evaluation, recommendations from the review panel for the full proposal will be sent. Please note the attached check-list for pre-proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships in Africa. Successful applicants of stage 1 may apply for funding of preparatory meetings of the prospective fellow with the German partner institution and the German postdoctoral fellow (if applicable). Date, venue, participants, and costs of these meetings have to be specified already in the pre-proposals. Due to the expected high number of applications, we hope you will understand that the Foundation cannot provide detailed information if the pre-proposal is disapproved. Stage 2 Successful applicants of stage 1 will be invited to submit full proposals. All full proposals will undergo an international review process. Details of the requirements for full proposals including the recommendations of the review committee will be forwarded to the successful applicants of stage 1. Stage 3 Successful applicants of stage 2 will be invited to present their project at a selection workshop to be held in Africa presumably in early summer In the course of the conference they will also be interviewed by an international review panel. In addition, all applicants have to participate actively in an interdisciplinary workshop aiming at initiating a network of fellows with different professional backgrounds. The intended format of interdisciplinary research training groups in the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program requires a strong interest of all successful applicants to work in interdisciplinary cooperation. 6. Notes for Applicants The Foundation can only provide funds to academic institutions. Furthermore, it is not possible to fund projects for development aid or short-term applications. The Foundation 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 Foundation is not able to allocate funding to cover commitments entered into prior to the receipt of the grant letter. Contact: Dr. Cora Ziegenbalg Phone: +49 (0) , Fax: +49 (0) August

8 Check-list for Pre-Proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Livelihood-Program in Africa Pre-proposals have to be written in English and have to be submitted by the applicant. Particular format requirements or application forms do not exist for this call. The project proposal must be submitted either by to or alternatively via the electronic application system ( sitelanguage=en). Application deadline for project pre-proposals: 30 November A pre-proposal should contain the following information on the front page: Full name, address, and signature of the applicant, Indication of program/call for pre-proposals the application refers to, Brief informative title of the proposed project, Duration of funding and sum applied for. The following information is needed for the evaluation of the pre-proposal: A summary of the applicant s current research/work (max. 1,000 words), Expertise and role of the German partner institution if applicable (max. 1 page), Expertise and role of the German postdoctoral fellow if applicable (max. 1 page), Date, venue, participants, and costs of preparatory meetings for full proposals (only funded for successful applicants of stage 1), Description of the topic and of the relevant information for the realization (max. 1,000 words): o aim of the project and its justification, o state of the art including references, o preliminary work, o theoretical background and methodological approach, o working program and time schedule, including distribution of tasks among fellow and German postdoctoral fellow (if applicable), o budget. As appendices: CV of the applicant max. 2 pages, Ph. D. certificate (or letter), August

9 Letter of support from the African research institution stating that it will provide the basic infrastructure and specifying the logistics and/or financial support it will provide for the applicant, Letter of support of the German partner institution if applicable, Statement of the applicant whether this application has been or will be sent to another funding organization, Statement of the German postdoctoral fellow if applicable, Letter of support of the mentors if applicable. PLEASE NOTE: Applications are only accepted if a preceding pre-proposal was evaluated positively. Deadlines will be communicated with the approval of the pre-proposal. The Foundation can provide funds to academic institutions only. August

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