Diaspora fellows head back to Africa for joint research
The visiting fellows, most of whom are now teaching in universities in the United States, will work with their hosts for up to three months on a wide range of selected projects. Many of them have paired up with scholars from their home countries to apply for the fellowships funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and managed jointly by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi.
USIU-Africa plays a role in providing ‘strategic direction’ through the programme’s advisory council.
Kenyan projects dominate among those selected for the programme, with a total of 18 among the 54 selected originating from Kenyan institutions. The rest of the selected projects are based in Nigeria (15), Ghana (9), South Africa (5), Tanzania (4) and Uganda (3), according to an IIE statement.
The majority of successful Kenyan projects came out of private universities including USIU-Africa, which put forward a project to develop simple‚ efficient and low-cost water treatment technologies for use in areas lacking municipal water treatment facilities.
According to the IIE statement, the projects include controlling malaria, strengthening peace and conflict studies, developing a new masters degree in emergency medicine, training and mentoring graduate students in criminal justice, archiving African indigenous knowledge, creating low cost water treatment technologies, building capacity in microbiology and pathogen genomics, and developing a forensic accounting curriculum.
In addition to working on the collaborative projects proposed by their host universities, the fellowship visits will include conference participation to present impacts of past joint research projects funded under previous calls.
A total of 18 alumni will also return to their original host institutions to build on previous successful collaborations, or travel to a new institution in Africa to conduct additional projects, while others will participate in knowledge production workshops.
Since it was founded in 2013 the initiative has awarded a total of 335 fellowships to scholars who travel to Africa for projects executed from universities on the continent.
The project has at the same time issued a call to universities and prospective fellows for applications for the next round of grants which opened on 1 May 2018, with a 6 July deadline.
For the upcoming grant cycle, priority themes include science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), and sustainable cities and communities.