07.- 11.06.

RT 04: Expertise of and for research funding policies: norms, ambivalences and the role of African Studies



Expertise of and for research funding policies: norms, ambivalences and the role of African Studies

Moderation: Stefan Skupien, WZB

Research funding is a central component of the way knowledge is generated, also in African studies. German public and private funding organisations have been increasingly involved in science policy in African countries for a decade. They provide funds for scholarships, mobility, doctoral programmes, financing of infrastructures and training of university management at African universities. There is a special relationship to the continent in the south of Europe. This is because many African researchers are still relatively dependent on foreign funding organisations to finance their research infrastructures and activities. With the exceptions of Egypt and South Africa, but also Tunisia, the share of investments in research and development is often less than 0.5% of the often already low gross national product. This is striking in view of the global focus on knowledge economies and the central role of (autonomous) research and development for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

African studies in Germany has so far dealt with this aspect of research funding policies and related practices of knowledge generation rather marginally, although most of its scholars, as applicants, advisors and reviewers, have extensive experience with the funding conditions in

Germany and with the conditions of teaching and research in African countries. In contrast, researchers in this field have produced a wide range of expertise, which can be applied to German (and European) Africa policy and global health policy in particular or to sociological analyses of development in Africa.

The panel invites speakers and guests to elaborate on the question of what kind of expertise is necessary to design, administer and foster funding programmes that are responsive to persistent challenges, norms of international research collaboration, and ambivalences of expertise in development contexts. Furthermore, the question arises whether there is a specific role for the expertise African Studies produces and what new (research) questions should be asked to contribute to adequate research funding policies.


  • Dr. Sepo Hachingonta (National Research Foundation, South Africa)
  • Dr. K. I. Yahya-Malima (Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, Tanzania)
  • Dr. Susann Baller (DIH Paris/University of Accra, Ghana)
  • Prof. Dr. Richard Rottenburg (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Dr. Christian Hansert (German Academic Exchange Service, Germany)
  • Ms. Kathrin Knodel (German Research Foundation, Germany)
June 11 @ 12:30
12:30 — 14:00 (1h 30')

Zoom Room 1

Stefan Skupien

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