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UK Fellowships for Wits humanities researchers

- Wits University

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

Wits University’s long-term strategic partner, the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, United Kingdom), is offering African Fellowships exclusively to Wits humanities researchers, for the sixth year running. Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) is offering African Fellowships for researchers with PhDs who are based at Wits to undertake research in Edinburgh in 2024-25.

Apply by 17:00 (SA time) on Friday 23 February 2024 – see details below.

These unique IASH African Fellowships typically run for two consecutive months, ideally for December 2024 to January 2025, otherwise January to February 2025. They are for research in any aspect of the humanities and social sciences, although health informatics, rangeland management, inequality studies, digital innovation, environmental humanities and medical humanities will be prioritised.

A bursary of up to £1,500 per month, plus £1,000 travel grants (plus visa fees) will be offered to successful candidates. Please read the ‘Notes for guidance’ regarding the contribution you may need to make to augment the bursary.

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. Please see ‘Notes for guidance’ below for more detail on eligibility and obligations.

Application procedure

The closing date for the receipt of the next round of applications is Friday 23 February 2024, 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 2024 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.

The application

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. In the notes for guidance, applicants will also see they are 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. Applicants should ask their referees to send their references by email to Lynda Murray at by Friday 23 February 2024, 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.

Previous Wits IASH African Fellows

  • Professor Tanya Graham, Department of Psychology (2019 – 2020)
  • Professor Imraan Valodia, Development Economics (2019 – 2020)
  • Dr George N. Njung, Department of History (2020)
  • Dr Alex Wafer, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (2020)
  • Dr B Camminga, African Centre for Migration & Society (2020 – 2021)
  • Dr Janan Dietrich, Perinatal HIV Research Unit (2020 – 2021)
  • Dr Siphiwe Dube, Department of Political Studies (2021)
  • Dr Laura Rossouw, School of Economics and Finance (2021 – 2022)
  • Dr Sam Challis, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (2022)
  • Dr Khwezi Mkhize, Department of African Literature (2022 – 2023)
  • Dr Dineo Skosana, Society, Work and Politics Institute (2022 – 2023)
  • Dr Nicole De Wet-Billings, Demography and Population Studies (2023)
  • Professor Mary Scholes, Animal, Plant & Environmental Sciences (2023)
  • Professor Diran Soumonni, Wits Business School (2023 – 2024)
  • Professor Daniela Casale, Economics and Finance (2023 – 2024)

Notes for guidance

  • Applicants are expected to have a doctorate by the date of application.
  • Applicants must be contracted researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand.
  • Applicants should 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. Competition for Fellowships is intense and preference may be given to applicants who have not previously held a Fellowship at the Institute or an equivalent institution.
  • Where appropriate, applicants are encouraged to provide a work plan or programme as part of their proposal, so that any project milestones and outputs are clear.
  • Funding is offered up to a maximum of £4,000 (£1,500 per month, plus £1,000 travel). Grants are not retroactive. Grants are payable to the individual applicant. It is recommended that grant recipients discuss their reporting obligations with their tax advisors.
  • Since 2022, the cost of accommodation in Edinburgh has unexpectedly risen significantly. Fellows may need to supplement the sum provided by IASH from their own resources or find funding from other sources.
  • IASH does not pay overhead or indirect costs to any institution. Grants will not be made to replace salary during a leave of absence or earnings from summer teaching.
  • Fellows are expected to be resident in Edinburgh throughout the tenure of their Fellowship and to play a full part in the activities of the Institute. The Institute will be pleased to give advice on finding suitable accommodation in Edinburgh but is unable to pay accommodation costs.
  • The standard tenure for a Fellowship is two months; applications for less than two months will not be considered. Hybrid Fellowships may be considered, where the applicant proposes to work remotely for part pf the Fellowship (e.g. for data collection or fieldwork), and to work at IASH for the remainder, but they must plan to spend at least two months in Edinburgh.
  • No regular teaching is required but Fellows will give at least one seminar at IASH on their current research work and may be asked to speak to an appropriate subject group within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science.
  • Only fully completed applications will be considered. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that all documentation is complete, and that referees submit their reports to the Institute by the closing date.
  • Project reports are due one month after completion of the funded portion of the work, per the time frame indicated on the proposal. Instructions will be provided with notification of an award.
  • The Institute was established in 1969 to promote enquiry of the highest standards in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Inter-departmental and interdisciplinary study is encouraged.
  • The Institute is close to the University Library and within easy reach of the National Library of Scotland, the Central City Library, the National Galleries and Museums, the Library of the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland, the library of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and the National Archives of Scotland. Access to both the extensive archival and online resources of all of these collections can be arranged for Fellows as appropriate.

About humanities at UoE

Read more about the University of Edinburgh’s arts, humanities and social sciences: College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

About the Wits-Edinburgh partnership

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