AfricaLics Visiting Fellowships Programme (VFP) 2024 in South Africa

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The African Network on Learning Innovation and Competence Building Systems (AfricaLics) invites applications for the PhD Visiting Fellowships Programme (VFP) 2024.

Closing date: 01 December 2023

Are you an African PhD student passionate about Innovation and Development? 🚀 The African Network on Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems (AfricaLics) is here to support you on your academic journey! 


AfricaLics – the African Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems – is looking for suitable PhD students from universities in African countries to participate in the AfricaLics PhD Visiting Fellowship Programme, (2024 cohort) focused on Innovation and Development.

Under this programme successful candidates will be provided with the opportunity to participate in a fellowship programme which ideally combines online pre- and post-activities with a study period of 3 months at University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa.

The three months’ study visit to UJ is, however, subject to availability of funding and interested students are expected to help search for funds to finance their study visit at UJ themselves (see section on funding issues).

Mentoring will be provided by a range of African and international scholars in Innovation and Development studies who are research active in AfricaLics and Globelics. The programme will also receive support from the Trilateral Research Chair in Transformative Innovation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Sustainable Development (TRCTI) Please see: https://www.uj.ac.za/faculties/cbe/SARChI-TRCTI.


The aim of the visiting fellowship programme and the scholarships is to help African PhD students working in the field of Innovation and Development to strengthen their academic/research qualifications; improve quality of their dissertations and prepare for a career in innovation and development either within academia or outside (e.g. in the private sector or in government/policy making).

The visiting fellowship programme does this by increasing the mobility and level of exposure of the PhD students to international knowledge in the field of innovation and development.

The programme forms part of the efforts by AfricaLics to contribute to the development of a vibrant research community in Africa in this emerging and highly multidisciplinary field. 


The scholarship option is open to PhD students from countries classified by the OECD/DAC as low and lower-middle income countries in Africa whose studies – irrespective of sectoral discipline – focus on the relationship between innovation and economic, social or and environmentally sustainable development.

Applicants for the AfricaLics PhD visiting fellowship programme should:

  • Be enrolled as a PhD student at a university in Africa.
  • Have completed their first year of studies by December 2023

  • Have a background (BSc, MSc etc.) within Economics, Sociology, Political Science, Science and Technology Policy, Geography, History or Development Studies. Applicants may also work within the STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) subjects or even manufacturing but from a social science perspective.

  • Possess adequate skills in English (documentation may be requested).
  • Be working actively on a subject relevant to the field of innovation and development as defined above.

  • Submit a brief application of one page/500 words explaining their own background, motivation for applying and expected outcomes of participation in the AfricaLics PhD visiting fellowship programme

Female PhD students are particularly encouraged to apply as AfricaLics endeavours to contribute to increasing the currently low number of female scholars in Innovation and Development research studies in Africa.

Likewise, PhD students from low-income countries are particularly encouraged to apply as AfricaLics endeavours to increase research capacity in Innovation and Development in low-income countries in Africa.

Applicants must be enrolled as PhD students at African universities and must have completed their first year of PhD studies by December 2023.

A maximum of four to six visiting scholarships are available in 2024, but final number of accepted visiting fellows will depend on the in-depth assessment of applications and funding availability.

The visiting scholarship is complementary to the studies of the PhD students at their home universities and applicants must already have secured basic funding for their PhD studies from other sources (e.g. African governments, other organisations, self-financing).

PhD students with an interest in the programme must commit to help fund-raising for a physical study visit to UJ e.g. through applications to their own home university or to organisations such as WARA (see https://www.westafricanresearchassociation.org/fellowships/warc-travel-grant/).

The AfricaLics Secretariat will also intensify fundraising activities and post options for application for travel grants and stipends on its website and social media platforms to help students identify possible funding options.

The programme gives priority to students working on topics related to the research themes identified by the AfricaLics network as important to the future of Africa.


The application must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Brief outline of your current PhD project including PhD training plans (max. 5 pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae – CV (including PhD courses attended so far)
  • Letter of support from the main PhD supervisor confirming that the PhD student will have completed her/his upgrade/probation by end December 2023

  • Letter of support from the University Administration at the university where the PhD student is enrolled
  • Copies of academic certificates (copies of Bachelor and Master Certificates as a minimum)
  • One writing sample (article or chapter) from current PhD program

You are NOT expected to submit a copy of your passport when applying for the PhD visiting fellowship programme.

If you are offered the scholarship and the study stay at UJ materialises, you will be asked to handle any visa issues that may be relevant yourself. Collection of personal data will be kept at a minimum, stored safely and will not be used for any other purposes.

Please use the application form when you submit your application.  You can download the form through this link

Applications with all relevant attachments should be forwarded to [email protected] by 23.00hrs East Africa time on 1st December 2023.

Applications not fulfilling the requirements above will not be considered, so please forward any questions you may have to [email protected] and you will be assisted.

Successful candidates will be notified by end of January 2024, following which they will be required to confirm their interest (sign study agreement form) and – later in the process – deal with any issues related to visa issues and access to South Africa.


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