Students Staff

23 October 2015

South African partnership will promote social enterprise and innovation

Dr Diane Holt

Dr Diane Holt

Ten Essex PhD students will have the chance to carry out field work and networking activities in South Africa after the University received a prestigious PhD partnership award through the Newton Fund.

The partnership will see ten South African students coming to Essex, helping to create an international cohort of researchers working to tackle poverty through innovation and social enterprise.

Minister of State for Universities and Science Jo Johnson and the South African Minister of Science and Technology announced that 11 partnership awards have been made to UK and South African universities. They are funded by the UK Research Councils and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) under the Newton Fund.

The Essex awards will be made to social science students, allowing five current PhD students to travel to South Africa in the 2016-17 academic year, and a further five the following year. South African students will come to Essex to develop their research skills, including taking part in the renowned Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, now in its 49th year.

The partnership, involving the Universities of Witwatersrand, Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, will develop a range of supporting activities including seminars, PhD colloquiums, and research methods workshops which will also benefit a wider group of students and faculty from across South Africa.

The project will develop a researcher directory to build up an international network focusing on addressing social inequality, alleviating poverty and reducing unemployment through social enterprises, social innovation and inclusive growth.

Dr Diane Holt, of Essex Business School, who is leading the project in Essex, said: “This project will leverage Essex’s expertise in social science research methods, our community of international researchers and our South African partners’ expertise, to support the development of emerging scholars in South Africa and the UK.

“This collaborative partnership with three leading South African universities will showcase and enhance the incredible research being undertaken in South Africa and the Continent aimed at addressing a host of intractable issues impacting the poorest in African societies.”

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