Celebrating Excellence in Doctoral Education (2009-2021)
The African Doctoral Academy (ADA), based at Stellenbosch University and located within the Africa Centre for Scholarship, has been providing doctoral scholarship across Africa since 2009. Its establishment is a direct response to the need for the accelerated production of quality doctoral graduates within Africa. The ADA's bi-annual, Summer and Winter Doctoral Schools, as well as short-form Spring and Autumn Schools take place annually. The Schools include high-impact research and methodology training for prospective and current doctoral candidates, their supervisors and researchers from a variety of fields and across different phases of the PhD journey.
The ADA serves as a unique resource to strengthen higher education and research in Africa by leveraging Stellenbosch University's established bilateral and multilateral partnerships and networks from across Africa and beyond.
Since the ADA's inception at Stellenbosch University more than ten years ago, the principal mechanism for doctoral support has been its ADA Doctoral Schools in research methodology and academic development. At these events, leading scholars from international, South African universities, including Stellenbosch University present short courses to doctoral candidates, supervisors and researchers. Topics such as research designs and methodology, academic preparedness, postgraduate supervision, teaching and learning in Higher Education, academic writing and publishing, research ethics, grant writing and cross-cutting research skills such as proposal writing and project management are presented. The Short Courses, accredited through Stellenbosch University are developed with relevance for all phases of the Doctoral Journey.
Partnerships and key achievements
- Since 2009, the ADA has served more than 5500 delegates from 53 countries (including Europe, Asia and America).
- Since 2017, the ADA has maintained a delegate make-up that is approximately two thirds female. The majority of delegates are in the preparatory or early phases of their PhD degrees (preparing for the PhD, up to about one year into the degree), and recent cohorts comprised delegates mainly from the STEM fields (44%), and the Arts and Social Sciences (25%).
In 2018, the ADA introduced, one-day workshops on Saturdays as part of its Summer and Winter Doctoral Schools, in topics such as Grant Writing, Ethics and Confident Public Speaking.
In July 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions, the ADA offered its first online Winter School and has continued to offer online training in subsequent Schools.
- Since February 2021 the ADA has presented a series of Webinars showcasing the ADA and SU presenters on topics such as Academic Leadership, Data Science for Africa, Creativity in Research and Digital Tools. (YouTube Channel)
- ADA has also provided support and expertise for a number of other online and Joint Schools within Stellenbosch University, specifically collaborating with the newly formed School for Data Science and Computational Thinking.