The Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA) is an international research center at the University of Ghana in Legon, Accra. The Institute facilitates the cooperation of African scientists with their international peers beyond disciplinary and geographical boundaries. In order to achieve this goal, MIASA is awarding scholarships to junior and more established researchers. These researchers will work during a pre-project phase from 2018 till 2020 on the central topic Sustainable Governance. Governance shall be defined as the interplay of informal and formal rules that guide public affairs and are embedded into the social, material and cultural practices of daily life. The three research foci of MIASA, under the heading of Sustainable Governance, are: transformation towards sustainability, sustainable Conflict Management, and sustainable democracy.

MIASA is committed to reducing global asymmetries in the production of knowledge and aims to facilitate stronger cooperation among and between researchers in both Anglo- and Francophone Africa. The central goal of MIASA is to enhance the visibility of scientific research conducted by researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa who are working in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

The Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI) and additional consortium partners in Germany

are involved in the establishment of the research center. The Centre de Recherches sur les Politiques Sociales in Dakar/Senegal serves a second site of MIASA.

Andreas Mehler (Director of the ABI) is the Chair of the Executive Council of MIASA and the initiator of the project. Based upon its academic and country specific expertise, the ABI is working with MIASA in developing and designing its research program, as well as in identifying multiples actors in academia and society that will be active in the MIASA network. Furthermore the ABI will be hosting delegations from Africa within the framework of MIASA.

The African-European exchange of knowledge through MIASA –the 4th Maria Sibylla Merian Centre for Advanced Studies – is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research/ Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). The costs for staff, administration and operating costs will be incurred by the University of Ghana.

Additional information on MIASA can be found here: https://www.ug.edu.gh/mias-africa/

Parallel to MIASA, an Africa Centre for Transregional Research is currently being established at the University of Freiburg. The centre hosts African researchers who set their research agenda out of their own interest and thus in a thematically open manner. In line with the new approach of reciprocal research, their data collection takes place in Europe in order to investigate global and transregional phenomena and challenges from an African perspective. The research results are presented in Europe and published open access in order to counteract an exclusive, often Eurocentric production and dissemination of knowledge. In this context, the Africa Centre is planning several internationally visible symposia and smaller specialised events in Freiburg and Stuttgart in the coming years.  

In addition, the Africa Centre aims to establish a differentiated image of African reality in the general public, the Freiburg City Society and beyond, for example within the framework of the Freiburg Africa Talks, which started in June 2019 in cooperation with the Colloquium Politicum and the Africa Film Series in cooperation with the academic film club.

Annika Hampel is the contact person for the to be established Africa Centre for Transregional Research.