PhD Visiting Fellowship

AfricaLics – the African Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems is looking for suitable PhD student candidates from universities in African countries to participate in the AfricaLics Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme focused on innovation and development.

About the AfricaLics Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme

The aim of the scholarships and the visiting fellowship programme is to help African PhD students working in the field of innovation and development to strengthen their academic/research qualifications; improve quality of their dissertations and prepare for a career in innovation and development either within academia or outside (e.g. in the private sector or in government/policy making).

The visiting fellowship programme does this by increasing the international mobility and level of exposure of the PhD students to international knowledge in the field of innovation and development. The programme forms part of the efforts by AfricaLics to contribute to the development of a vibrant research community in Africa in this emerging field. Funding for the visiting scholarships is provided by the Swedish Development Agency Sida (Stockholm) as part of the project Enhancing research capacity on Innovation and Development in Africa through the African Network on Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems (AfricaLics) – Phase II (2017-2021).

The AfricaLics secretariat at the African Center for Technology Studies ( ) is responsible for the project with the AfricaLics Scientific Board providing advice on scientific matters and issues of strategic importance. The AfricaLics Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme more specifically is organized jointly by the AfricaLics secretariat and the research group named Innovation, Knowledge and Economic Dynamics (IKE) at Aalborg University (

Eligibility and selection criteria

The scholarship option is open to PhD students from low and lower-middle income countries in Africa whose studies – irrespective of sectoral discipline – focus on innovation and development. Female PhD students are particularly encouraged to apply as AfricaLics endeavors to contribute to increasing the currently low number of female scholars in Innovation and Development research studies in Africa.

Applicants must be enrolled as PhD students at African universities and must have completed their first year of PhD studies by February 2018. A maximum of four visiting scholarships are available for 2018. The visiting scholarship is complementary to the studies of the PhD students and applicants must already have secured basic funding for their PhD studies from other sources (e.g. African governments, other organisations, self-financing).

The programme gives priority to students working on topics related to the research themes identified by the AfricaLics network as important to the future of Africa.

The study period at AAU

The visiting scholarship provides successful PhD students with the opportunity to study at Aalborg University, Denmark, for a maximum of app. five months starting 1 February 2018 and ending 29 June 2018. Students must arrive on the 1 February to be able to participate in introductory activities, including registration with the Danish authorities and an introductory seminar for the group of PhD students.

The visiting scholarship will provide students with time off from duties in their home country to focus on analyzing data collected from field-work and writing up articles or chapters for their PhD thesis. Students will also do presentations of their project work to and benefit from interaction with faculty members and fellow PhD students working on innovation and development issues at the cross-faculty Department of Business and Management at Aalborg University (

Successful applicants should apply for and participate in the AfricaLics PhD Academy expected to take place in Morocco in March 2018. The study stay will also include possibilities for participating in a limited number of PhD courses either in Denmark or in countries in Europe that offer courses deemed of particular relevance for the student and which are not offered at their home institution.

Each student will be “matched” with a senior scholar with competences in the field in which the student is active. Scholars currently attached to the AfricaLics PhD visiting fellowship programme come from the research group called IKE (Innovation, Knowledge and Economic Dynamics – please see for more info about the research group and related activities), but scholars from other research groups such as IBC (International Business Centre – please see: are also attached to the programme. Final selection of mentors depend on the topic of the applicants.

Mentors from AAU are not formal supervisors and hence full responsibility for the PhD study process remains with the PhD student and his/her supervisors from the home university in Africa. Close interaction between the PhD student, home supervisor and AAU mentors is required to make sure the study stay contributes in a constructive manner to the studies of the PhD student. Hence, trilateral meeting between the PhD student, the main supervisor from the home institution and the AAU mentors will be organized. These meetings will mostly take place through Skype, but may take place in Denmark, at the home institutions of the PhD students or in relation to other events (e.g. Africalics/Globelics PhD academies or conferences).

Participation in the AfricaLics Visiting PhD Programme will eventually form part of the wider PhD study plan for each applicant, which may hence include various elements such as:

  1. Initial theoretical studies/taught courses and field-work in home country/country where the student is already enrolled as a PhD student (first year must have been concluded by February 2018).
  2. Maximum of five months visit to Aalborg University to focus on writing up thesis or articles that are part of the PhD thesis.
  3. Participation in relevant events (e.g. IKE seminars) and PhD training courses offered by Aalborg University either alone or in collaboration with others taking place during the study period.
  4. Participation in key Globelics/AfricaLics activities such as conference and academies either during or after the study visit to Aalborg University.
  5. Students accepted into the AfricaLics PhD visiting fellowship programme will be encouraged to work on papers for presentation at up-coming Globelics/AfricaLics conferences or academies as participation in these activities implies exposure to the wider Globelics/AfricaLics community.
  6. Return to home country and continue work on PhD dissertation in order to finalize and submit.

In some cases, students under the programme may be offered to complete their PhD studies as a joint or a double PhD degree with Aalborg University. In such cases a specific application procedure will be initiated and the detailed arrangements will be worked out between Aalborg University and the home institution of the PhD student.

Student requirements and Application Form

Applicants for the AfricaLics PhD sandwich programme should:

  • Be enrolled as a PhD student at a university in Africa.
  • Have completed their first year of studies by February 2018/upgrade/probation and possess adequate skills in English (the types of language tests that are accepted are listed on the AAU web-page:
  • Be working actively on a subject relevant to the field of innovation and development defined as the study and management of processes that link innovation to development. Innovation is broadly defined as spanning from “new to the world inventions” to the diffusion and use of technology new to the user, including competence building among users of innovation.
  • Submit a brief application (3-5 pages) explaining own background, motivation for applying and expected outcomes of participation in the PhD sandwich programme together.

The application must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Outline of PhD
  • Brief CV
  • Letters of support for the application from main supervisor
  • Letters of support for the application from university administration/PhD school
  • Finally, the applicant should up-load one writing example (draft chapter of thesis or other).

Please use the following application form when you submit your application.

Applications with all relevant attachments should be forwarded to by 29 May 2017 (COB). Applications not fulfilling the requirements above will not be considered, so please forward any questions you may have to and you will be assisted.

PhD students from African countries considering applying for the 15th Globelics Conference in Athens, Greece (11-13th October 2017) and PhD students considering applying for the Globelics/AfricaLics academies in 2018 are encouraged to consider applying for participation in the AfricaLics Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme as well.

Timing, visa and accommodation

Successful candidates will be notified by early September 2017, following which they will be required to confirm their interest (sign study agreement form) and apply for residence permit in Denmark.

The International Office at AAU will assist students in obtaining work permit and accommodation for the visit to Denmark. Please be aware that the students will need to apply for the residence permit themselves and pay fees related to the processing of the application themselves. The total amount of the stipend includes an amount equivalent to the fees that have to be paid.

Additional information on terms and conditions

  1. Travel costs (economy class) and health insurance will be covered but students have to be registered with the Danish authorities before the health insurance becomes active. This may take some time. Students must therefore take out their own health insurance for the first two weeks of the stay.
  2. The visiting scholars will receive a stipend of 14.000 DKK per month (equivalent to app. 2000 USD as per April 2017). A fixed amount has also been set aside to cover student participation in selected course activities and for supervision (over and above the stipend). Finally, there is funding for organizing trilateral meetings during the visit between the PhD student, the main supervisor from home institution and the AAU mentor.
  3. Students are expected to apply for and pay fees related to residence and work permit themselves. The total amount of the stipend includes fees in relation to this.
  4. The scholarship covers only costs related to the visit of the student him/herself. Costs related to accompanying spouses, children or others are not covered. If family members are accompanying the PhD student during the study period in Denmark, AAU needs to be informed about this at the latest when the student confirms participation in the fellowship programme.

Contact us

Questions regarding the AfricaLics Visiting PhD Fellowship Programme and the call should be forwarded to:



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