Call for Applications – Building Capacity for Early Career Humanities Scholars in Africa

By | April 2, 2021

Building Capacity for Early Career Humanities Scholars in Africa (BECHS-Africa) is a partnership involving four universities: University of Ghana, American University in Cairo, Stellenbosch University and Washington University in St. Louis, with University of Ghana as the lead Institution. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, it is a three-year transnational programme, which seeks to enhance research capacity for early career scholars in the humanities. The programme will fund the travel, housing and other related costs of selected early career humanities scholars from the four institutions to spend four to six months at one of the other partner institutions. 

The aim of the project is to create a space for scholars in the humanities to enhance their research agenda in their early career years. The period of stay (four to six months) in the collaborating institution will allow for targeted mentorship and guidance for the selected scholars by identified senior scholars who share their research interests, while also providing an avenue for interaction and the sharing of research ideas and methodologies with peers. The project is unique in many respects as, unlike some existing initiatives, it seeks to create avenues for early career scholars to have the opportunity of residency across the three regions of Africa as well as at a northern institution.

The Fellowship. The Project provides a four to six-month residency at any of the four collaborating institutions. Support comprises the following:

  1. An economy return flight
  2. Travel Insurance
  3. Accommodation
  4. Office space
  5. A monthly stipend to cover transport, meals, entertainment and other incidentals
  6. Access to library facilities at the host university
  7. Funds to organize a research-focused workshop at the host University
  8. Mentoring from senior faculty at the host institution
READ:  GNAT suspended two of its executives over GNAT provident Fund

Expectations.  Successful applicants are expected to:

  1. Be in residence at the host institution for four to six months
  2. Attend local presentations, conferences and workshops organized by the host institution that are of relevance to the scholar’s research
  3. Attend grant writing and publication workshops offered by the host university
  4. Organize a workshop based on her/his research topic, through which the scholar will receive detailed feedback from leading academics in the field
  5. Fulfill the research and publication goals set out in the original application
  6. Provide a final report
  7. Acknowledge support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in any subsequent publications and provide BECHS-Africa with all citations to publications resulting from the residency.

 Eligibility. To be eligible an applicant must:

  1. Be in a full-time permanent post in the humanities in any of the four collaborating institutions
  2. Be an early career scholar with a record of research and academic publishing
  3. Have a PhD that was obtained within the last ten years (2011 or later)
  4. Have a scholarly record of publications commensurate with career stage or years from degree

Collaborating Institutions

The institutions involved in BECHS-Africa have been selected to provide opportunities for fellows to carry out their residency across three regions of Africa: western, southern and northern Africa, as well as at one institution in the United States. The institutions are all highly ranked in the Times Higher Educational Rankings of Universities, are active in research in the humanities and social sciences and have demonstrated high research output. The selection has also been informed by the availability of mentors and adequate library facilities to support a robust and dynamic academic environment. They are:  The University of Ghana (lead institution), American University in Cairo, Stellenbosch University and Washington University in Saint Louis.

READ:  Stop paying teacher Trainees allowance and use the money to build JHS for pupils - Eduwatch.

Submission of Applications

Eligible candidates should complete the project application coversheet, which can be downloaded here. The completed form must be signed, dated, endorsed and submitted together with the following documents, combined into a single PDF.  Full applications should be submitted electronically via email to

  1. A cover letter of not more than one-page in length. The letter should include a brief intellectual autobiography or description of the applicant’s academic career, detailing the experiences that have shaped his or her intellectual work.
  2. A statement of not more than one-page in length outlining research and publication plans for the residency period. Please be specific, including the number and types of publications expected.
  3. A current curriculum vitae
  4. One or two recent writing samples (articles or book chapters)

In addition, the applicant should arrange for a detailed academic letter of reference from a senior colleague familiar with her/his research and career trajectory to be submitted separately to

Complete applications must be received by 1700 GMT on Friday April 16th, 2021. Selection will be made by Friday May 21st, 2021.  Scholars should be in residence at their host institutions by September/October (AUC) or January/February 2022 (AUC, SU, WUSTL), depending upon the term of appointment.

For further information, please contact the representative at your institution:  

  1. University of Ghana:  Samuel Agyei-Mensah,
  2. American University of Cairo:  Syed Maswood,
  3. Stellenbosch University:  Anthony Leysens,
  4. Washington University in Saint Louis:  Jean Allman,

Please click here for the application form

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *