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Concept Note: Research and Graduate Studies – CESA Book Series




The Continental Education Strategy for Africa: Higher Education Series

Research and Graduate Studies – CESA Book Series

Book Series Editor/Coordinator:
Professor Damtew Teferra


About the African Higher Education Series

The Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016-25 Higher Education Series is a strategic intervention in the advancement of higher education in Africa in keeping with the framework of CESA’s Higher Education Cluster. The Series is intended to systematically produce evidence-based knowledge in the thematic areas of the Higher Education Cluster through a rigorous process of collective academic and professional engagement with direct implications for policy, discourse and actions from continental perspectives guided by the African Union’s blueprint compass, Agenda 2063. The initiative is further intended to contribute to building the next generation of academics, researchers and policy makers in higher education.

The CESA Higher Education Series will publish thematic issues in a series along the established sub-cluster themes of the Higher Education Cluster. Each theme will be assigned a lead editor who will work closely with the coordinator of the Series.

The following five themes are identified to start the Series: (1) Harmonization, quality assurance and accreditation; (2) Research and graduate education; (3) Private higher education; (4) Scholarly publishing and knowledge dissemination; and (5) Curriculum, teaching and learning.


Research and Graduate Studies in Africa Higher Education

Volume Editors:

Prof. Olusola Oyewole and Prof. Damtew Teferra


Brief Overview of the Volume

Scientific research is a vital driver of economies (Marincola and Kariuki, 2020) and a powerhouse of knowledge which has now increasingly evolved as the currency of the world. And yet, Africa’s capacity of knowledge production is the lowest in the world estimated to less than 1% of the world’s share (Duermeijer, Amir, and Schoombee , 2018).

The creation of new knowledge has become a global project, but Africa’s voice is often missing. If it is to take control of its own future, Africa must advance knowledge production systematically—and vigorously. Research is therefore very critical for the development of the continent which faces a plethora of social, economic, ecological, climatic and health challenges.

One of the major indicators of research development is the promotion of graduate studies.

Teferra (2014) reported that despite the remarkable expansion of the higher education sector in Africa in the last decade, post-graduate studies remain comparatively dwarfed—if not directly affected.

Hayward and Ncayiyana (2015) argued that Africa needs to confront the challenges facing graduate studies in the continent. They further noted that no nation advances into the realm of developed economies without a high-quality higher education system, particularly graduate education.

The advent of COVID-19 epidemic in the world has made matters worse. In a recent survey on its effect on higher education research, IAU (2020) reported that 80% of HEIs affirm that the pandemic affected research in their institutions. The most common impact of COVID-19 has been the cancelling of international travel (at 83%) and the cancellation or postponement of scientific conferences (81%). Moreover, it noted that scientific projects were at risk of incompletion in half of the institutions (52%).

How will Africa fair after the pandemic era? How will Africa carry out the business of post-graduate studies and research in the post-pandemic era? Will Africa regress further or will catch up by upgrading its research process. What new strategies need to be adopted? How will research be carried out through the virtual space in Africa? Will collaborative research and supervision across nations in Africa become the new norm to adopt? What new strategies are needed for advancing graduate education in Africa? These are some of the key issues that need to be explored in the book.


Rationale for the book

This book is intended to provide an in-depth insight and evidence-based analysis of the state of research and graduate studies in Africa. It aims to elucidate the potentials of research and graduate research in the continent and anticipates the agenda for research in different areas of development. The book is targeted at policy makers, graduate students, researchers, analysts and development entities.


The book

The book is anticipated to include 12 chapters, each written by experts, solo or jointly, following a rigorous review of resumes and approval by the editorial team.  Each chapter, which will be subjected to a double-blind review, may be between 8,000-10,000 words including references, which will follow an APA style. All manuscripts are produced in English, with the possibilities of a French abstract, should it become necessary.

Subsequent to the acceptance of the final version of a manuscript, each participating author may contribute policy/think pieces on professional and popular platforms, such as the University World News.


Proposed Chapters / Topics

The following is a list of anticipated chapters for this book. The content and structure of each chapter will be provided to help guide the discussion between the contributor and the editor/s. We welcome recommendations for the inclusion of additional chapters provided they are supported by a motivation outlining what gap is being filled by the proposed chapter and why the chapter makes an important contribution to the edited volume. (As agreed these are just proposed chapters which we anticipate to be flushed out further as all possible partners are meeting.)

The following is a list of anticipated chapters for this book.


Chapter 1 – Introduction – Research and graduate studies

Research and graduate education are central in the knowledge domain. This chapter will explore the state of research and graduate studies in Africa and its role in Africa’s development. It will discuss current challenges and possible strategies to overcome them.


Chapter 2 – Building research collaboration, cooperation and networking

Collaboration, cooperation and networking are vital in the advancement of research and graduate education. This chapter will focus on strategies for research collaboration, cooperation and networking and identifies challenges and problems as well as best practices to advance them.


Chapter 3 – Research financing and funding

Funding plays a very critical role in the advancement of research. The chapter will explore the key players funding research in Africa as well as the existing funding mechanisms that are common in the region. The implications of weak funding mechanisms and heavy reliance on external agencies/development partners will be analysed.


Chapter 4 – Governance and leadership in research

Governance and leadership of research and graduate studies play a pivotal role to research development. This chapter will discuss trends and challenges of leadership and governance in research management in African higher education institutions. It also examines strategies for success and lessons of experience for Africa’s young researchers.


Chapter 5 – Role of ICT in advancing research

Information Communication Technologies are key to advance research. This chapter will discuss the role and significance of ICT in promoting research and graduate studies in Africa.


Chapter 6 – Research needs and challenges

This chapter will focus on the areas of need for advancing research in a number of key areas of development including agriculture, medicine, engineering and the environment, among others. It will also examine challenges of research and its application.


Chapter 7 – The role of diaspora in research development

The role of the African intellectual diaspora has gained considerable traction in the advancement of research in Africa. This chapter will feature the role of the diaspora to research development and graduate studies in the continent. The chapter also explores strategies and policies to enhance their contributions among others by also drawing from success stories.


Chapter 8 – Centres of excellence for research development

A number of centres of excellence initiatives have been launched in Africa in the last several years through multilateral and bilateral arrangements. This chapter will explore their trajectory, contribution and impact closely.


Chapter 9 – Industry-University collaboration

Academia and industry collaboration are paramount to promote research development and research culture in a country. The chapter explores the state of such collaboration and highlights best practices as it draws from lessons of experience.


Chapter 10 – Africa and the emerging research niches

The frontiers of research are shifting—and fast—and Africa has got a lot of catching up to do. In this chapter, new and emerging research niches in areas of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, space research and biotechnology will be explored.


Chapter 11- Research in social science and arts

Research in the social sciences and the arts are vital to Africa’s development and yet some concerns have been raised about its increasing neglect. The chapter will elaborate on the state, trends, needs and implications of research in the social sciences and the arts in Africa.


Chapter 12 – Conclusion

This section will summarize the key aspects of research and graduate education in Africa with some possible recommendations.



November-December 2020

  • Develop a concept note for the theme
  • Identify co/editors
  • Identify contributors


January-June 2021

  • Develop book structure and chapters
  • Develop extensive guidelines for contributors
  • Invitation to contributors
  • Research and write up


June-July 2021

  • First Draft submission
  • Revision


September 2021

  • Final Submission
  • Editing


October 2021

  • Publishing: Scholarly and popular media



The African Higher Education Series is supported by the joint initiative of the Commissions of the African and European Union for higher education development within HAQAA2 Framework coordinated by OBREAL, in Spain.

Each selected contributor will be paid a modest, pre-determined honorarium at the submission of the final and edited version of the manuscript, ready for typesetting.



Olusola Oyewole is a Professor of Food Science and Technology (Food Microbiology and Biotechnology) at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. He was the Vice Chancellor of the University from May 2012 to May, 2017. He has served as the President of the Association of African Universities, Accra, Ghana from May 2013 to May 2017 and he is currently a Board member of the Association. He has served as a Senior Expert (Quality Assurance, Mobility and Scholarships) at the Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology of the African Union Commission in Ethiopia, Addis-Ababa, from 2009 to 2010.



The Higher Education Series will be headed and coordinated by Prof. Damtew Teferra. Teferra is professor of higher education studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is the Founding Director of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the co-coordinator of the CESA Higher Education Cluster, and book series editor of The Higher Education Series. For more details see: http://www.inhea.org/the-african-higher-education-series/



Prof. Olusola Oyewole, Lead Editor; Professor of Food Science and Technology. Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria. Email: oyewoleb@yahoo.comoyewoleb@gmail.com

Prof. Damtew Teferra, Book Series Editor; Professor of Higher Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.  Email: teferra@bc.edu



Duermeijer  Charon, Mohamed Amir, and Lucia Schoombee (2018) Africa generates less than 1% of the world’s research; data analytics can change that. Elsevier Connect.


Hayward  Fred M. and Ncayiyana   Daniel J. (2015) Confronting the Challenges of Graduate Education in Sub-Saharan Africa. INTERNATIONAL HIGHER EDUCATION. Number 79: Winter 2015. 16-17.

IAU (2020) The impact of Covid-19 on higher education around the world. https://www.iau-aiu.net/IMG/pdf/iau_covid19_and_he_survey_report_final_may_2020.pdf#page=3&zoom=auto,-82,339

Marincola Elizabeth  and Thomas Kariuki (2020) Quality Research in Africa and Why It Is Important. ACS Omega 2020, 5, 38, 24155–24157.

Teferra Damtew (2014) Charting African Higher Education: Perspectives at a Glance. International Journal of African Higher Education 1(1), 9-21.