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Call for Pre-Proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities in Sub-Saharan Africa

July 10, 2012

Call for Pre-Proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities in Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa

Volkswagen Foundation, Hannover

Funding Initiative “Knowledge for Tomorrow – Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa”

1. Objectives
This call is part of the Foundation’s 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). With this program, the Foundation intends to give support to those postdoctoral researchers who wish to follow academic careers in Africa. The project must be carried out in collaboration with a German academic partner institution. The call is open to all scholars from Africa (both Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa) active in the research fields mentioned below. This Fellowship Program will be coordinated by a German senior scientist and her/his team. The coordinator will bring together the fellows for workshops and summer schools several times during the fellowship.

2. Thematic Scope
Cultural, historic, religious, ethnic, philosophic and linguistic phenomena and research questions in the humanities in Africa are at the core of this call for proposals. Social, economic as well as political approaches can be included but should not be the main focus of the project. All projects should have a strong reference to present questions and problems in Africa. Furthermore, projects that transcend disciplinary boundaries and limitations by exploring linkages between disciplinary approaches are preferred. Applicants are invited to address a comparative perspective and research questions concerning both North African and Sub-Saharan countries. Transcultural dimensions as well as bridging the anglophone/francophone divide in Africa could be important aspects of these projects. Further relevant topics could deal with the history of Africa and its relevance for today as well as cultural and social phenomena such as mobility and migration, transit countries (e.g. Libya), and cross-border relations. Research projects may also concentrate on linguistic and ethnic diversity, the new media as well as social movements, civil society, and the impact of climate change on Africa (especially the Sahel zone). The program is open to applications from disciplines like history, cultural anthropology, archaeology, cultural studies, philosophy, literature, linguistics, musicology, art history, media studies, visual studies, and religious studies. Only native researchers from African countries are eligible for funding.

3. 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 inside Africa. The program includes both junior and senior fellowships. A three year junior fellowship (36 months) is offered to outstanding African junior researchers holding a Ph. D. (not more than three years after completion of Ph. D.). The junior fellowship covers salary, research, travel and administrative costs up to a maximum of 90,000 EUR. A three year senior fellowship (36 months) is offered to African scholars with a substantial research experience (3 – 6 years of postdoctoral experience). The senior fellowship covers salary, research, travel and administrative costs up to a maximum of 120,000 EUR. For both fellowship types, a cooperation with a German partner institution is required.

Furthermore, up to 25,000 EUR for an associated German postdoctoral fellow – to enhance the exchange of scholarly expertise between African and German researchers – 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 German coordinator, but the funds will be administered by 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.

More information about the junior and the senior fellowships and the additional funding opportunities can be found at

The application is organized as a three-stage process, and pre-proposals must be submitted as one pdf file in English by 15 September 2012 to, or alternatively via the electronic application system ( More information about the application process can be found at

Dr. Cora Ziegenbalg

Kastanienallee 35
30519 Hannover
Tel.: +49 (0) 511 8381 237
Fax: +49 (0) 511 8381 344