/ Doctorate/PhD

Basel Summer School in African Studies 2023: "Making knowledge policy-relevant: The SSH’s role in global sustainable development"

Teilnehmende Basel Summer School 2017

Basel Summer School 2017 (Mbaraka Matitu and Anthony Stewart)

The Centre for African Studies Basel ZASB calls for applications for the Basel Summer School in African Studies 2023, which will take place from 23 August to 1 September 2023. The focus is on the challenge of policy relevance in the social sciences and humanities (SSH). Nine grants for Africa-based participants are available. The deadline for applications is 2 July 2023.

The Basel Summer School in African Studies aims at stimulating and consolidating a new perspective on African Studies with a focus on African Studies as “area studies”. It addresses themes theoretically, conceptually and methodologically relevant to the pursuit of reflection on the intellectual challenge of Africa as an object of knowledge on the one hand and its contribution to general scholarship on the other.

The Basel Summer School 2023 addresses the challenge of policy relevance in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in general and area studies in particular by mapping out the differences between basic and applied research. The crucial distinction is between knowledge production geared towards understanding problems and knowledge production aiming at identifying solutions. The Summer School aims to harness the strengths of basic research in fields bearing directly on development in Africa to emphasize the need for an actual understanding of the problems to be addressed. Policy relevance should bear on working out the terms under which good problem definitions can yield policy options. The ultimate goal of the Summer School is to help participants develop critical skills enabling them to become researchers who live up to the highest scientific standards and are equipped with the transformative skills to make an impact. 

In focused training sessions, the Summer School will address theoretical and conceptual issues bearing on the difference between understanding and defining a problem (basic research) and identifying solutions and their scope (applied research), as well as policy issues on the conditions which must be created for solutions to work (implementation). This will be done with attention to issues of transdisciplinarity and the co-production of knowledge. Given the importance of coming to terms with calls for the decolonization of development cooperation, there will be a focus on the role of values and norms in transferring knowledge between academic actors, policy-makers and society more generally and on their implications for developing and implementing policies in particular.

The Advanced Study Skills workshop offers participants a forum to discuss how to jointly translate their research into policy-relevant knowledge and explore and leverage its transformative potential. They will do so in peer clusters and exchange sessions with resource persons from implementation and funding organisations.

At the STS-CH 2023 conference (31.08.-01.09.2023,, participants can present their reflections about the relationship between research, policy-making and social impact regarding their research to a Swiss and international academic audience.

Grants for Africa-based participants: Up to nine participants from institutions in Africa (African countries, except Maghreb region and Egypt) may receive a grant covering the costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence, Summer School participation fee, and the STS-CH 2023 conference participation fee.