Learning from the documented experiences of others
A literature review of academic and grey literature on postdoctoral fellowship models internationally (in both the global north and south) has informed the development of a set of guidelines for designing and implementing impactful postdoctoral fellowships in Africa.
This is a foundational component of the project as there is currently limited available literature that examines the documented experiences from the perspective of their relevance and potential transferability for the African context. This will enable future African postdoctoral fellowships to be even more intentionally conceptualized.
Learning with and from stakeholders
Two primary stakeholder groups have been engaged in the peer-learning processes: those responsible for administering and delivering postdoctoral fellowships in Africa (this includes all of the Carnegie-supported postdoctoral project directors, as well as a selection of invited academics and leaders responsible for postdoctoral programmes not directly funded by Carnegie) and postdoctoral fellows sponsored by Carnegie-funded projects.
Two beneficiary workshops have been held to date – April 2019 (Pretoria, South Africa) and November 2019 (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania). The workshops served several purposes – they provided the opportunity for peer-learning among the fellowship implementers, as well as the opportunity for networking and peer-learning among postdoctoral fellows and the opportunity for the PERKA team to learn from the experiences of both of the aforementioned.
In addition to the workshops, the PERKA team conducted two sets of in-depth interviews. The first set was with Carnegie-funded programme directors and stakeholders, and the second set was with the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centres of Excellence directors. The key themes from these interviews were used to help validate and strengthen the Designing and Implementing Impactful Post-PhD Support Programmes in Africa – Lessons learned from 10 African programmes guidelines on good practice. The interviews also provided a better understanding of good practice, which helped ensure that the guidelines are relevant and useful to other networks and organisations in Africa.
An iterative process of documenting – convening – refining documentation (in an action research approach) has been established to ensure that the lessons learned at the beneficiary meetings and interviews have been documented and incorporated into the series of knowledge products.
Since the start of the project, the following has been achieved: