Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
African Doctoral Academy (ADA) Summer School 2023
Author: Daniel Bugan
Published: 27/01/2023

​The first in-person African Doctoral Academy (ADA) Summer School at Stellenbosch University (SU) since the COVID-19 pandemic officially kicked off at the Krotoa Building on Monday (23 January 2023).

 Housed within SU International, the ADA's vision is to support, strengthen and advance doctoral training and scholarship on the African continent across disciplines through an integrated holistic approach.

 As such, the two-week ADA Summer School offers high-impact research and methodology training and options in academic preparedness and career development. It is open to doctoral candidates (current and prospective), their supervisors and researchers from South Africa, Africa and beyond. It also offers participants an opportunity to network with fellow participants and lecturers and to exchange ideas and knowledge.

 Until 3 February 2023, participants from as far afield as Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia will benefit from courses ranging from research ethics, PhD preparation, grant proposal writing and advanced qualitative research design. The courses are presented by leading international subject experts and facilitators.

 Most South African and African universities have identified doctoral scholarship as a critical requirement for the development of higher education and research production in the continent. In view of this the ADA serves as a unique resource to strengthening higher education and research in Africa. Ultimately the aim is to support knowledge production in Africa by increasing the number and the quality of doctoral graduates in South Africa and elsewhere in the continent.

 Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs, said during the opening ceremony that COVID-19, while being disruptive, provided many opportunities for academics and scientists.

 “At SU the pandemic provided us with the opportunity to really be at the forefront of some of the science. For example, SU's globally acclaimed bioinformatics scientist Prof Tulio de Oliveira was leading the group in the discovery of the Omicron variant of Covid-19."

 She added that SU was committed to driving the research agenda on the continent and making an impact through their research through its vision and mission to be Africa's leading research-intensive university.

 “We have established the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking and the School for Climate Studies as part of our aim to initiate 'disruptive innovation'. On the continent we have collaborated with more than 100 institutions or universities and with more than 350 institutions or universities globally. We are part of ARUA (African Research University Alliance) – a body of 16 universities that are either research intensive or focused on being research intensive."

Klopper urged the participants to think how they can collectively make a difference during their science engagement over the next two weeks.

 “The question we have got to ask ourselves as scientists and educators is how are we going to prepare this continent for the future?" How are we going to make sure that we are in a position to provide opportunities for education? How are we going to make sure we contribute towards new businesses so that we can alleviate the extreme poverty on our continent?"

Participant and Nigerian doctoral candidate Oko Chima Enworo, who is currently studying in the University of Pretoria's Sociology Department, said he is looking forward to improving his writing skills over the course of the two weeks.

 “I registered for the 'Academic Writing Skills for Doctoral Students' course. It presents an ideal opportunity to improve my writing skills, because by the time I submit my thesis I am supposed to publish articles. So for me this is a good opportunity to fine-tune my writing skills."

 He is also looking forward to networking with other participants and learning from them.

 “The good thing about it is that in the course of interacting with others you are exposed to new knowledge from scholars in different disciplines. So you are actually expanding your knowledge," he said.

 SU also offers ADA Winter (June-July) Doctoral Schools every year. Since its inception in 2009, the ADA has hosted more than 2 000 prospective and current doctoral candidates and their supervisors from 37 countries through its annual summer and winter schools.