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The Wits-TUB-UNILAG Urban Lab Programme is built on a partnership agreement between the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB). 

This collaboration seeks to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015 and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) of 2016 on the sub-Saharan African continent. The New Urban Agenda (NUA) in particular calls for integrated approaches to urban planning and management as a central element of an “Urban Paradigm Shift”.  It recognises the need for institutional capacity development as an important “enabling condition”.

The Wits-TUB-UNILAG Urban Lab makes its contribution through a ‘Postgraduate SDG School’, in the form of an enhancement of the postgraduate training offered in the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits (a leading university on this continent) in close collaboration with the Habitat Unit at TUB and Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development at UNILAG.

The programme enables scholars from across the sub-continent to partake in the Master of Urban Studies in the field of Urban Management at Wits as well as PhD studies at both Wits and UNILAG. A new masters degree in urban management will be introduced at UNILAG in 2021 with bursary support from the programme. Beyond collaboration around the respective urban management masters at TUB, Wits and UNILAG, the programme is designed to facilitate international exchange of ideas between research institutions and includes strengthening the network of urban academics on the African continent.

The Wits-TUB-UNILAG Urban Lab programme is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) from 2016 to 2020. An extension of the programme has been granted from 2021 to 2025.  

The current (second) phase of the programme, 2021-2025 includes the following activities:

  • Project Coordination- the collaboration at the Wits-TUB-UNILAG is based on the principle of eye-level-exchange and equal participation of all three academic partner institutions.
  • Harnessing ongoing innovations in digital environments to expand collaborative boundaries- the aim to explore, test and implement new digital methods and tools for collaborative teaching and research in the field of postgraduate education across the three institutions.
  • Strengthening inter- and transdisciplinary, as well as practice oriented postgraduate education in the field of Urban Management at African planning schools.
  • Embedding PhD training in structured collaborative postgraduate capacity building programmes- PhD training will continue to be a core focus of the Wits-TUB-UNILAG Urban Lab.
  • Mentoring and capacity building for an academic career.
  • Building inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge around resilience, urban justice and solidarity within urban transitions towards SDG.s
  • Strengthening networks to bridge research, policy and practice.


Masters Scholarships

Under the Wits-TUB-UNILAG Urban Lab, the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits University streamlined its previous masters degrees into the fields of specialisation under a common Master of Urban Studies (MUS), and in 2019 introduced the Urban Management (UM) field. The curriculum of the MUS (UM) was developed in collaboration with the Habitat Unit at TUB, which offers a Masters in Urban Management.

Each year from 2017, the programme has funded masters students at the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits. 

The masters scholarships are closed and will be open in 2024.

The Masters Bursaries are for the following 1 year full time degree:

Call for PhD Scholarships

Four fully funded PhD scholarships will be awarded on a competitive basis to two South Africans and two candidates from other sub-Saharan African countries for study at the University of the Witwatersrand starting February 2022, in collaboration with Technical University Berlin and the University of Lagos. The four selected PhD candidates will be funded for four years from 2022-2025.

The call for PhD applications is closed.

At TUB, the programme falls under the leadership of Professor Philipp Misselwitz, at Wits University Professor Mfaniseni Sihlongonyane, with Professor Marie Huchzermeyer as second Principal Investigator, and at UniLag the programme falls under Professor Taibat Lawanson. The project coordinator at TUB is Lucas Elsner and at Wits it is Taki Sithagu. Current postdoctoral fellows in the programme are Dr Nadine Appelhans at TUB, Carmel Rawhani at Wits and Dr Basirat at UNILAG.

For enquiries please contact Wits-TUB Project Coordinator: Ms Taki Sithagu: Email: Taki.Sithagu@wits.ac.za; Tel: +27 11 717 7724.


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