The objective of the Peer Learning for Emerging Researcher’s Knowledge and Advancement (PERKA) project was to identify, analyse, document and share the key lessons learned from the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s investment in postdoctoral fellowships in Africa through a collaborative, participatory peer-learning approach, and to document partnership models for postdoctoral fellowship in Africa.

Over the long-term, PERKA had three broad aims:

  • To develop a framework and series of knowledge products that allow for a contextual understanding of the drivers of success in African postdoctoral fellowship models, and partnership models for postdoctoral fellowship funding that can be used by donors, science funders, institutional leaders and project implementers to design and deliver successful and impactful postdoctoral programmes.
  • To increase collaborative funding from a diverse base to deliver effective postdoctoral programmes, leading to the expansion of high-quality, context-specific postdoctoral fellowships in Africa and create new opportunities for the increasing number of PhD graduates on the continent.
  • An increasingly large cohort of postdoctoral researchers supported by effective programmes implemented in accordance with good practice guidelines are able to establish themselves within national and regional universities as academics and contribute to strengthening Africa’s knowledge institutions.

The project was focused on a set of three broad activities – undertaking a comprehensive review of academic and grey literature, engaging with stakeholders at two project workshops rotating between East and Southern Africa, and developing a series of knowledge products.

Ten programmes funded by the Carnegie Corporation participated in PERKA.

- Author Dr Melody Mentz-Coetzee

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