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2nd AfricaLics Conference - 17th – 19th November 2015, Kigali, Rwanda

Theme: Unpacking Systems of Innovations for Sustainable Development in Africa

Organized by;

  • AfricaLics at African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS)
  • University of Rwanda


Important Dates

Submission of papers and registration               The online application facility will open on 11 May 2015
Deadline for submission of papers   13 July 2015
Notification of paper acceptance   21 August 2015
Conference registration   30 September 2015

Conference location and objectives

The Second AfricaLics Conference will be hosted by University of Rwanda and held in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference intends to bring together up to 150 early careers and established researchers and scholars from different disciplines to enhance the quality of innovation studies in relation to development and growth in Africa. The objectives of this conference are:

  • To determine the state of the art within research community in Africa working in the field of innovation and development.
  • To provide a much needed arena for researchers in Africa, particularly early career researchers, to build capacity in presenting and networking skills as well as learning about new methods and theories.
  • To promote networking and create space for new collaborations amongst researchers in the field of innovation and development focusing on Africa.
  • To build capacity to teach high quality, fit for purpose, curricula in the field of innovation and development in Africa. 

The conference follows a successful mini conference held in December 2013 in Maputo with deliberations focusing on neglected areas in the area of innovation and development.

The conference will be held over three days and will combine presentation of research papers in parallel tracks with panel discussions and plenary lectures.  There will also be a parallel track focusing exclusively on teaching of innovation and development at African universities.

Paper Submissions

We invite submission of original unpublished full papers for the conference. Submission of full paper (in PDF) not exceeding 8,000 words (including notes, tables, appendices, list of references, etc.) should be made via the online submission form that will be available from 11th May 2015 at the conference website  which will be available from this date at http://2015.africalics.org. We especially encourage the participation of young researchers. The selection of the papers will be based on a peer review process. AfricaLics reserves the right to use available software to control for plagiarism and to take appropriate action in severe cases.

Conference Themes

The second AfricaLics Conference will give attention to a wide set of themes covering important aspects linking innovation and competence-building to development.

The theme of this conference is ‘unpacking systems of innovation for sustainable development in Africa’. This conference is being held during a year of change with regards international development goals.  The world is witnessing the start of a post-2015 agenda that focuses on issues of sustainable development.  One of the Sustainable Development Goals is focused exclusively on fostering innovation (goal 9).  This conference will consider what is needed to address this goal in the context of different African countries and their interaction with the global economy.  It will do this through the lens of ‘systems of innovation’ – the idea that innovation is most successful when there is the right set of actors and conditions available creating a facilitatory enabling environment - and allied ideas around the learning, innovation and competence building systems that are needed to ensure inclusive and sustainable development for all.

Papers are invited to be submitted against the main conference theme or addressing one or more of the following sub-themes:


  • Social innovation and national systems of innovation. 
  • The role of higher education and financial institutions in the promotion of innovation Industrial development, manufacturing and SMEs as part of the innovation system
  • Enhancing growth in communities: harnessing grassroots innovation and indigenous knowledge
  • Ensuring inclusive innovation: focusing attention on gender, women and the informal sector
  • Advancing the measurement agenda: development and use of STI indicators in Africa

Submission and selection process

Papers can be submitted against any of these themes from 11th May 2015 using an online submission system available through the conference website available through http://2015.africalics.org.  Paper submissions will be accepted through this system up to the 13th July 2015. 

All papers submitted will then be peer reviewed by members of the Conference Scientific Review Committee (to be made up of members of the University of Rwanda staff and senior scholars from the AfricaLics community).  Each paper will be reviewed by two reviewers and scored on relevance to the conference themes, originality, research methods and scientific quality.

Principal authors of accepted papers will be notified from 21st August 2015.

Other ways to participate

In addition to research paper sessions, the conference will also have the following additional activities and ways to participate:

1. PhD student poster competition

PhD students from around the world are encouraged to submit a poster outlining their research for presentation at the conference.  Student posters must be submitted in advance and will be reviewed by the Conference Scientific Review Committee.  Only selected posters will be presented.  PhD students with accepted papers will be waived conference fees but will be responsible for funding their own travel, subsistence and any other costs related to attending the conference.

2. Special Sessions on key issues

The Conference Organising Committee will arrange a series of special sessions on key issues relating to the conference theme.  Speakers participating in these sessions will be selected by invitation only. 

3. Teaching track sessions

Conference registration will be available to those who have not submitted a research paper but would like to attend the teaching track sessions.  These participants will need to register as any other delegate, paying the conference registration fee.  These participants will also be responsible for funding their own travel, subsistence and any other costs related to attending the conference.

4. Day delegate option

A limited number of conference registrations will also be available for those who would like to participate for the day only.  Registration fees will apply and such participants will also be responsible for funding their own travel, subsistence and any other costs related to attending the conference.

Details of how to apply for any of the above will be made available from mid June 2015 on the conference website.

Conference registration and logistics

Registration for the conference will open again through ConfTool on 30th September 2015 available on the conference website.  Details of the registration process will be made available to all accepted paper presenters in the email detailing their papers’ acceptance.

A limited amount of travel support funding is available to those attending from a developing country on a first come, first served basis.  PhD students and junior researchers will receive priority over senior researchers for these funds.  Applications for travel support will open on 21st August and close on 18th September 2015.  This support can only be used to pay the cheapest economy class return airfare and not visa or other travel related costs.  It can also be only provided on a reimbursement basis after the conference has taken place i.e. individuals must purchase their own tickets initially.

Complementary hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis will be available for one author per accepted research paper and for special session participants ONLY.  All other participants will be expected to make and cover the costs of their own hotel and subsistence arrangements.  Details of local hotels will be made available nearer the time on the conference website.

Further information on registration and conference logistics will be made available on the conference website from 1st June 2015.

Contact Details

For further information on the call and submission of papers, please visit our conference website: http://2015.africalics.org/  If you have questions that cannot be answered using the website, please send a mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Background to AfricaLics

The African network of researchers in learning, innovation and competence building systems (AfricaLics) is the African regional network for researchers involved in innovation and development research with a specific interest in promoting learning, innovation and competence building systems approaches.  The network currently includes scholars from Algeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania.

AfricaLics is the African Chapter of the Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems (Globelics), an international network of scholars who apply the concept of "learning, innovation, and competence building system" (LICS) as a framework for promoting inclusive and sustainable development in developing countries, emerging economies and societies in transition. Other regional chapters of Globelics have been developed in Asia, Latin America, the Mediterranean region and Europe (Asialics, Lalics, MEDAlics and Eurolics). In some big countries national networks have been established (CICALICS in China and Indialics).

Africalics was founded during an ‘All Africa Innovation and Development Workshop’ in March 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The workshop was co-organized by the Globelics Secretariat and the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research organization (STIPRO), a Tanzanian independent think tank.

The formation of Africalics was centred on the following two rationales:

  • A need to understand innovation and learning in the context of Africa – both from theoretical and practical perspectives.
  • Given the fact that Africa lacks adequate capacity for the above purpose, a need for capacity building arose.

It was envisioned that the Africalics network can become a strong dynamo for capacity building in the specific field of innovation and economic development, both at the individual, institutional and country levels. This can allow African countries to design policies suitable and responsive to their own needs, and instigate corrective measures to ensure the smooth production, dissemination and use of knowledge for economic development, including poverty alleviation.

AfricaLics has received funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) to conduct research capacity building activities to build research capabilities in the field of innovation and development.  This includes funding to support a bi-annual research conference.