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Transformative Fellowships for humanities researchers

- Wits University

The African Fellowships programme advances South-North research collaboration to find solutions to global challenges.

Wits University and the University of Edinburgh (UoE) (Scotland, United Kingdom) have further strengthened their long-standing partnership and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to fund research fellows selected for the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) African Fellowships programme.

These unique African Fellowships will be awarded for three periods: 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26. It will allow two researchers from Wits per annum to spend up to two months with the IASH, based at Edinburgh, to undertake research in any aspect of the humanities and social sciences. This three-year commitment formalises four consecutive years of similar Fellowships, which have been offered exclusively to Wits staff by IASH.

Old College, University of Edinburgh

“Wits is delighted to work with the University of Edinburgh once again to foster research collaborations that create and advance global knowledge that impact society for good. It is also fitting to announce IASH’s African Fellowships programme as Wits is rounding off its centennial celebrations and looking to our Second Century, guided by our #Wits2033, a strategic framework that articulates the University’s ambitions to be the ‘leading edge’ as the foremost research-intensive university in the Global South. In the University of Edinburgh, we have an equal partner in an unequal world.

“As a research-intensive university in the Global South, Wits is acutely aware of the devastating impact of climate change, the depletion of the earth’s resources, emerging social justice and public health threats, and increased inequality. Our researchers are also well placed to collaborate with our partners in the North, in the quest to find solutions to these challenges that affect all of humanity,” says Professor Lynn Morris, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation at Wits University.

Professor Lesley McAra, Director of IASH, says, “We are extremely pleased to deepen our links with Wits via this Fellowship programme. Wits researchers have proven to be a wonderful part of our community over the past four years, and we look forward to continuing that work for years to come. As a community of practice, we encourage collaboration, debate and interdisciplinary thinking at all levels; the African Fellowship is an exemplar of these values.”

About the African Fellowships

The Fellowships run for two consecutive months, ideally from December to January, otherwise from January to February.

Research in health informatics, rangeland management, inequality studies and digital innovation is prioritised, along with decoloniality (in year 1), environmental humanities and medical humanities (in years 2 and 3). Research in decoloniality that speaks to the themes of the Institute Project on Decoloniality (IPD'24), will be particularly welcomed in the 2023-24 call. This project invites scholars to visit Edinburgh and conduct research on the theme of decoloniality, broadly understood.

The value of the Fellowship programme is up to £8,000 per annum. For the 2023-2024 Fellowship, each award will include a bursary of up to £1,500 per month, plus a £1,000 travel grant (plus visa fees). In addition to the bursary, IASH will provide dedicated office space with a desktop computer, a University of Edinburgh e-mail address, library access, the opportunity to present a work-in-progress seminar to the IASH community, and access to University of Edinburgh events throughout their visit.

Fellows will be expected to give a presentation about their research during their stay at IASH, and to provide a project report at the end of their Fellowship.

Application deadline and Fellowship selection

The closing date for the receipt of the next round of applications is 24 February 2023, 17.00 SA time. Applications should be sent to Applications received after that date will not be considered.

Successful candidates will be notified by email by the end of May 2023 with a formal letter of confirmation to follow; please ensure that you supply a valid email address so that you can be contacted quickly after decisions are made.

How to apply

  • Applicants should supply a short CV (no more than three pages, listing publications related to your proposal, and up to ten most significant publications) and a project proposal of no more than three pages including a bibliography.
  • Applicants are also required to give evidence of any contact they have made with researchers at the University of Edinburgh, and of proposed collaboration during and beyond their visit to Edinburgh; those who do make such contact before submitting their applications will be at an advantage.
  • If languages other than English are required for your project, please also outline the degree of your conversational and reading competence in each.
  • If you have received a Fellowship from IASH in the past, please give the title(s), year(s), and stipend amount(s).
  • If you have applied for other grants to support the same project during the same time period, please also list these in your application.
  • Applicants should also provide one academic reference (which should comment on the research proposal, and can come from a colleague at Wits or another institution) and one letter of support from their head of department or equivalent. These references should be sent by the referees directly to by 24 February 2023, 17.00 SA time.

By submitting an application, the applicant agrees that their full application (including details of their name, contact details, institutional affiliation and programme) will be released to IASH and the applicant accepts that this information will be treated as confidential and with sensitivity by the University of Edinburgh.

For more information and how to apply, please contact

About the partnership

Read more about the partnership between the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Edinburgh: