Volkswagen postdocotral Fellowships

volkswagenstiftung

Volkswagen postdocotral Fellowships

Funding Initiative

Information for

Applicants 81k

Knowledge for Tomorrow –

Cooperative Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa

Call for Pre-Proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships on Livelihood Management, Reforms

and Processes of Structural Change

Deadline for Pre-Proposals

November 30, 2012

Information

Africa Initiative

The Humanities and

Social Sciences,

The Engineering Sciences

The International Team

Dr. Cora Ziegenbalg

Phone: +49 (0) 511 8381-237

E-mail: ziegenbalg

@volkswagenstiftung.de

VolkswagenStiftung

Kastanienallee 35

30519 Hannover

Germany

www.volkswagenstiftung.de

1. Objectives

This Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation

aims at providing sustainable support for research and capacity building

in Africa. It is part of the initiative “Knowledge for Tomorrow - Cooperative

Research Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa”. Besides an African-European

cooperation, the development and extension of trans-African academic networks

in the natural and social sciences across the whole African continent

are emphasized.

The call is part of the Foundation’s career development scheme for African

researchers. Within this framework, junior and senior postdoctoral fellows

develop and execute their own research projects and establish leadership

responsibilities. With this program, the Foundation aims at supporting postdoctoral

scientists establishing an academic career in Africa. The call is open

to all scholars from Sub-Saharan Africa active in research fields of the natural

and social sciences. The project must be carried out in cooperation with a

German research partner institution and/or an associated German postdoctoral

fellow. This Fellowship Program is coordinated by two German senior

scientists and their teams. The coordinators will support the fellows in organizing

workshops, summer schools, and other training elements which might

be helpful to conduct their projects and to establish strong scientific networks.

Interdisciplinary cooperation among the fellows will be emphasized.

2. Background

Improving human well-being with its multidimensional aspects is at the core

of sustainable development efforts in Africa. Environmental goods and services

as well as socioeconomic reliability are the basis for reaching essential

human development goals. Access and entitlement to a range of environmental

and social assets and opportunities are major prerequisites for sustainable

livelihoods. However, livelihoods are not only limited to basic needs

like food, water, health, and income but must include opportunities for in-

August 2012 1


vestments, national economic stability as well as reliable governance systems.

A sustainable livelihood (including natural, social, human, physical and

financial aspects) can maintain its capabilities and assets without destroying

its natural resources. Income and services derived from environmental resources,

including cropland and pastures, forests and woodlands, freshwater

bodies and wetlands, coastal and marine resources, and wildlife (flora and

fauna) are central to the livelihoods of the majority of the population and to

Africa’s economy as a whole.

One of the key observations made in African states is the continuous weakness

of governmental institutions which leads to a withdrawal of the state

from broad areas of society. This process takes place in rural as well as in

urban settings, it affects collective as well as individual actors. Simultaneously,

complex developments threaten the bio-physical and socio-economic stability

of the continent: e.g. continuous population growth, ongoing migration

of people mainly into major cities, shortage of (natural) resources, and natural

hazards. These problems are aggravated by climate change and insufficient

or inappropriate resource management concepts as well as internal

(structural) changes within societies or states due to reforms introduced at

local, regional or sub-regional levels.

Resources in the context of this call do not only include natural resources

(e.g. water, soil, land, energy, commodities, protected areas) but also all

kinds of resources related to human activities or societal structures (such as

farming or land tenure systems, product chains, and indigenous knowledge).

Regarding interpersonal relationships, or relationships between persons and

organizations/institutions it is mandatory to go beyond the unilateral approach

of increasing the productivity of natural or economic capital. At the

same time sustainable approaches are developed to support livelihoods that

will have no or minor adverse effects on livelihood conditions.

3. Thematic Scope

Based on the observations stated above, this call for pre-proposals focuses

on two broad areas (see a) and b)). Primarily, the research projects should

deal with the question how individual or collective social actors can manage

and protect resources efficiently and develop sustainable livelihood strategies

under present social and environmental conditions and in view of locally

and globally changing circumstances.

All projects should have a strong reference to current questions and problems

concerning respective regions and/or Africa as a continent. Transcultural

dimensions as well as bridging the anglophone/francophone divide in

Africa could be important aspects of these projects.

The program is open to applications from disciplines of both the natural and

social sciences. Funding is restricted to researchers from African countries.

August 2012 2


a) Livelihood strategies from the perspective of local actors: the social

dimension

Here, pre-proposals concentrating on innovative approaches of livelihood

management strategies at communal or individual levels will be considered,

focusing on local actors such as non-state actors, local authorities, rural

communities, farmers, micro-enterprises etc. Possible topics include the

necessary (pre)conditions for innovation processes, the constraints for success

or failure, and the share and distribution of benefits. Furthermore, projects

addressing the relationships between local actors and local, national,

and/or international institutions and their effects on resource management

are welcome, focusing on both the micro and the meso- or macro-level.

b) Livelihood strategies with regard to natural resources: preservation,

utilization, recovery

Most African countries and societies are highly dependent on natural resources

and agricultural production in particular. Accordingly, and in view of

changing consumption patterns, projects are welcome addressing e.g. a

growing demand for agricultural and forestry products, rising energy as well

as associated food prices, the impacts of climate and land use change, and

the resulting scarcity of water and land, from a natural science point of view.

This includes specifically projects on biodiversity conservation focusing on

habitats and the capacity of ecosystems to establish sustainable livelihood

strategies. Prevention of and adaptation strategies to disasters and hazards

resulting from human activities can also be in the focus of projects to be

submitted.

General remark

It is intended to establish interdisciplinary contacts and academic links among

the projects funded. Therefore, the motivation and the willingness to cooperate

with other scholars coming from a different disciplinary background are

key factors for a productive and innovative atmosphere. All applicants successful

in stage 1 will be invited to an interdisciplinary workshop during the

second stage of the selection process. Applicants are invited to take this already

into account while preparing the pre-proposals.

4. 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 within Africa. The program includes both junior

(up to 90,000 EUR) and senior fellowships (up to 120,000 EUR). For both

types of fellowships either or both types of cooperation with a German research

partner institution and/or an associated German postdoc fellow is

mandatory. Up to 25,000 EUR for an associated German postdoctoral fellow

can be applied for, thus enhancing the exchange of scholarly expertise and

August 2012 3


aiming at a cooperation of equals. The German fellow does not have to be

associated to the cooperating German partner institution. In any case, the African

fellow (junior or senior) has to reflect on the choice of the institution

he/she intends to cooperate with and the research topics covered by this cooperation.

Moreover, the foundation recommends the integration of an accompanying

assistance by mentors into the project.

The official grant recipient will be 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.

The Foundation supports a good work-life-balance for scientists with children.

More information can be found under

http://www.volkswagenstiftung.de/fileadmin/downloads/merkblaetter/MB_FA

MILIENBEZOGENE_LEISTUNGEN_englisch.pdf.

Junior fellowship

A three year fellowship (36 months) is offered to outstanding African junior

researchers holding a Ph. D. (not more than three years after completion of

Ph. D.). Project ideas must be developed independently by the applicant and

should be realized primarily at an African institution. African scientists who

have submitted their thesis but still need to pass the defense are also invited

to submit a pre-proposal. If the applicant is still in the final phase of the Ph.D.,

a letter from the main supervisor is needed that the Ph.D. will be completed

by the end of the selection process.

The fellowship covers salary, research, travel costs, and administrative costs

up to a maximum of 90,000 EUR.

The budget must be justified specifically. It could include:

• Salary of fellow or topping up if already employed at the African

research institution (depending on experience and customary local

salaries),

• Alternatively, the budget for topping up the salary can be used to

employ lecturers in order to reduce the personal teaching duties,

• Salaries of graduate students involved in the research project,

• Travel expenses for conferences/workshops,

• Research visits to African/non-African institutions of up to 3 - 4 months

per year (including visits at German partner institution),

• Language courses or courses for project management etc.,

• Consumables,

• Publication costs,

• Administrative costs (max. 6,000 EUR),

• Small equipment (max. 10 % of total budget).

August 2012 4


Additional and optional budget items

• Additional German postdoctoral fellow (optional, max. 25,000 EUR),

• Additional Mentorship Program (optional, max. 10,000 EUR),

• Costs of preparatory meeting for the full proposal with German

partner institution and/or German postdoctoral fellow (optional,

max. 5,000 EUR).

Senior fellowship

A three year fellowship (36 months) is offered to researchers with a substantial

research experience (3 - 6 years of postdoctoral experience). Applicants

have to demonstrate experience and scientific achievements (as documented

by their publication record) appropriate to the extended funding and research

group leader responsibilities.

The fellowship covers salary, research and travel costs, and administrative

costs up to a maximum of 120,000 EUR.

The budget must be justified specifically and could include:

• Salary of fellow or topping up if already employed at the African

research institution (depending on experience and customary local

salaries),

• Alternatively, the budget for topping up the salary can be used to

employ lecturers in order to reduce the personal teaching duties,

• Salary of 1 - 2 Ph. D. students involved in the project, (co-)supervised by

the applicant,

• Salaries of graduate students involved in the research project,

• Travelling to conferences/workshops,

• Research visits to African/non-African institutions of up to 3 - 4 months

per year (including visits at German partner institution),

• Language courses or courses for project management etc.,

• Consumables,

• Publication costs,

• Administrative costs (max. 6,000 EUR),

• Small equipment (max. 10 % of total budget).

Additional and optional budget items

• Additional German postdoctoral fellow (optional, max. 25,000 EUR),

• Additional Mentorship Program (optional, max. 10,000 EUR),

• Costs of preparatory meeting for the full proposal with German

partner institution and/or German postdoctoral fellow (optional,

max. 5,000 EUR).

August 2012 5


Mentorship Program

By taking part in the optional Mentorship Program, the fellow can establish

links to one or two leading researchers of her/his choice. For meetings between

the fellow and the mentors, up to 10,000 EUR can be applied for. The

full Mentorship Program can only be granted on the condition that two mentors

are chosen – one from a European and one from an African institution.

The mentorship offers the possibility of scientific networking and knowledge

exchange between mentors and fellow. The mentors must agree to act as

supporters of the fellow by encouraging the career development, introducing

them to peer networks, and assisting with publications in international journals.

Mentors must not be supervisors or main collaborators in the project

and should be based at an academic institution different from the institution

where the fellow is employed. The mentors must not be identical with the

German partner institution. The role of the mentors is meant to give further

assistance beyond the support of the German partner institution.

Additional support for postdoctoral fellows from Germany

As optional feature of this program, it is possible to receive funding of up to

25,000 EUR for a German postdoctoral fellow. The funds are meant to support

German postdoctoral fellows to participate actively in the research project

outlined by the African applicant. The African fellow needs to apply for

these additional funds for her/his German partner. The German fellow must

be based at a German research institution. The grant may include both travel

grants and up to three months of salary for the German postdoc fellow in order

to guarantee a substantial contribution to the project of the African Postdoc

Scientist. The role of the German postdoctoral fellow in the project has to

be described and justified by the applicant.

Additional workshops, trainings, summer schools

Funding of workshops, trainings, symposia, and summer schools in addition

to training courses which are part of the research projects can be applied for.

These events should take place in Sub-Saharan Africa and should aim for

high visibility thereby strengthening networking activities between African junior

and senior researchers as well as European junior and senior researchers.

Applicants are requested to send draft proposals to the Volkswagen

Foundation. If approved, the applicants will be invited to submit a full

proposal. Full proposals should be submitted at least four months before the

proposed activity. They can be submitted any time during the course of the

fellowship.

5. Application and Selection Process

The application is organized as a three-stage process, and pre-proposals

must be submitted as one pdf file in English by 30 November 2012 to livelihood2012@volkswagenstiftung.de,

or alternatively via the electronic application

system (https://portal.volkswagenstiftung.de/vwsantrag/ login.do?siteLanguage=en).

In case you choose the latter means, only one file,

August 2012 6


pdf format, should contain the pre-proposal itself and all appendices. After

the selection of “Pre-proposal description” in the electronic application system

this file should be uploaded there.

Stage 1

The pre-proposal applications will be reviewed by an international expert

committee. Decisions will be communicated by approximately March/April

2013. In case of a positive evaluation, recommendations from the review

panel for the full proposal will be sent. Please note the attached check-list for

pre-proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships in Africa. Successful applicants of

stage 1 may apply for funding of preparatory meetings of the prospective fellow

with the German partner institution and the German postdoctoral fellow (if

applicable). Date, venue, participants, and costs of these meetings have to

be specified already in the pre-proposals. Due to the expected high number

of applications, we hope you will understand that the Foundation cannot provide

detailed information if the pre-proposal is disapproved.

Stage 2

Successful applicants of stage 1 will be invited to submit full proposals.

All full proposals will undergo an international review process. Details of the

requirements for full proposals including the recommendations of the review

committee will be forwarded to the successful applicants of stage 1.

Stage 3

Successful applicants of stage 2 will be invited to present their project at a

selection workshop to be held in Africa presumably in early summer 2013. In

the course of the conference they will also be interviewed by an international

review panel. In addition, all applicants have to participate actively in an interdisciplinary

workshop aiming at initiating a network of fellows with different

professional backgrounds. The intended format of interdisciplinary research

training groups in the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program requires a strong interest

of all successful applicants to work in interdisciplinary cooperation.

6. Notes for Applicants

The Foundation can only provide funds to academic institutions. Furthermore,

it is not possible to fund projects for development aid or short-term applications.

The Foundation cannot consider applications which have been

submitted at the same time either in the same or some similar form to other

funding institutions. Also, the Foundation is not able to allocate funding to

cover commitments entered into prior to the receipt of the grant letter.

Contact:

Dr. Cora Ziegenbalg

Phone: +49 (0) 511 8381 237, Fax: +49 (0) 511 8381 344

E-mail: ziegenbalg@volkswagenstiftung.de

August 2012 7


Check-list for Pre-Proposals for Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Livelihood-Program

in Africa

Pre-proposals have to be written in English and have to be submitted by the

applicant. Particular format requirements or application forms do not exist for

this call. The project proposal must be submitted either by e-mail to livelihood2012@volkswagenstiftung.de

or alternatively via the electronic application

system (https://portal.volkswagenstiftung.de/vwsantrag/login.do?

siteLanguage=en). Application deadline for project pre-proposals:

30 November 2012.

A pre-proposal should contain the following information on the front

page:

• Full name, address, and signature of the applicant,

• Indication of program/call for pre-proposals the application refers to,

• Brief informative title of the proposed project,

• Duration of funding and sum applied for.

The following information is needed for the evaluation of the pre-proposal:

• A summary of the applicant’s current research/work (max. 1,000 words),

• Expertise and role of the German partner institution – if applicable

(max. 1 page),

• Expertise and role of the German postdoctoral fellow – if applicable (max.

1 page),

• Date, venue, participants, and costs of preparatory meetings for full

proposals (only funded for successful applicants of stage 1),

• Description of the topic and of the relevant information for the realization

(max. 1,000 words):

o aim of the project and its justification,

o state of the art including references,

o preliminary work,

o theoretical background and methodological approach,

o working program and time schedule, including

distribution of tasks among fellow and German

postdoctoral fellow (if applicable),

o budget.

As appendices:

• CV of the applicant – max. 2 pages,

• Ph. D. certificate (or letter),

August 2012 8


• Letter of support from the African research institution stating that it will

provide the basic infrastructure and specifying the logistics and/or financial

support it will provide for the applicant,

• Letter of support of the German partner institution – if applicable,

• Statement of the applicant whether this application has been or will be

sent to another funding organization,

• Statement of the German postdoctoral fellow – if applicable,

• Letter of support of the mentors – if applicable.

PLEASE NOTE:

Applications are only accepted if a preceding pre-proposal was evaluated

positively. Deadlines will be communicated with the approval of

the pre-proposal.

The Foundation can provide funds to academic institutions only.

August 2012 9

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines