Kick-starting a retrospective study addressing selected Danida alumni

ick-starting a retrospective study addressing selected Danida alumni

Danida has supported research capacity development projects for three decades. What difference has it made to the persons involved? A study looking into the broader perspectives of research capacity development at African universities and research institutions has been initiated by Danida Fellowship Centre. Former PhD students, and researchers attached to Danida research partnership projects in Africa, and who have studied in Denmark, have been invited to participate in the study.

Danida considers research-based knowledge and research capacity to be important in addressing existing and emerging development problems, and support for development research partnerships that build research capacity is thus an element in Danish development cooperation. Since 1989, Danida has funded 150 projects carried out in partnerships between Danish and African researchers.

Danida Fellowship Centre has kick-started a retrospective study looking into the broader perspectives of these projects. It will describe how capacity development has influenced the individual researchers’ knowledge production and wider life choices.

The study is being conducted by Lene Møller Madsen and Hanne Kirstine Adriansen. They are associate professors at the Universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, respectively. In collaboration with Stig Jensen, they have published the book Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa.  

At Danida Fellowship Centre, Research Programme Manager Bente Ilsøe and junior staff member Sophie Bromand are handling the study.

The search for fellows
The starting point has been to find the approximately 500 former and present African PhD students as well as senior researchers, who have been on study stays in Denmark as part of Danida supported research partnerships in Africa. In their search for these Danida alumni, the people responsible for the study have primarily collaborated with former Danish research project managers. 

In the middle of October, all the researchers located was contacted by email and invited to participate in the study. The participants were asked to fill in an online questionnaire collecting data about their careers, the rate of return to their home countries and institutions after the completion of their projects, gender constraints,, their present sectors of employment, seniority levels, their further international collaboration, whether they have used the skills and experience after their return home, how the results of their projects have been put to use and what the enhancement of their capacity may otherwise have led to. Selected persons will be approached for life-story interviews.

The hope is that most of the 500 Danida alumni will participate in the study which will be concluded in April 2019. Updates about the study will be posted on the DFC social media platforms. The study will supplement an evaluation of Danida research support to be initiated in 2019. Selected portrait articles or videos will be published by Danida Fellowship Centre.

Danida Fellowship Centre manages the Danish government’s support to research and research capacity development in the developing countries and emerging economies that Denmark collaborates with.


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