The Ghanaian-German Division For Development Studies(GGDDS)
Founded in 2008, the GGDDS is built on five pillars:
- PhD program in development studies
- Staff development
- Enhanced research infrastructure at the University of Ghana
- Academic exchange and networking
1. The PhD program is directed at middle and upper level policy makers and development practitioners as well as university graduates with an excellent academic record. Every year, five sponsored students are admitted to the program after a competitive screening process. Self-funding students can also join the program, if qualified. The program starts with a PhD course focusing on development theories and research methodologies and provides training in managerial and professional skills.
After the course, the students visit Germany in order to interact with development researchers at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), review literature and work on their research proposals. When their research proposals are approved by their Ghanaian supervisors, the PhD candidates spend up to a year conducting field research. The third year is intended for data analysis and writing up the dissertation.
Future collaboration with German institutions is prepared through German classes and visits to German institutions in Ghana and Germany. Students are encouraged to do internships in German institutions in Ghana during their field research, or to even conduct collaborative research with German development programs in Ghana.
2. Staff development activities for senior staff include specialized training courses and lectures, research visits, the organization of scientific workshops and conference participation, both in Ghana and Germany. Capacity-building activities, as well as shared development of curricula and teaching in the PhD program have led to an intensive exchange of knowledge and experiences between the institutes, and thus directly contribute to the development of staff capacity and high academic standards.
3. The scientific infrastructure of ISSER has been greatly improved in order to create the right conditions for advanced education. Students’ offices have been renovated and equipped, the purchase of essential and current literature has been supported, IT facilities at ISSER have been enhanced and the purchase and maintenance of important statistical and econometric software is helping to develop ISSER’s software training facilities.
4. The development of joint research proposals is an essential part of the strategy to safeguard the future viability of the Center for Development Studies. The idea is to attract research funds provided for development research under programs of international (development) organizations and (German) development organizations in Ghana. Both ZEF and ISSER have an impressive record of acquiring third-party funding for their research activities, from German and international funding agencies such as the BMBF, the BMZ, the DFG, UNDP, IUCN, WHO, IDRC, IFPRI and IMWI. Currently, researchers at both Institutes are drafting a proposal addressing (peri-)urban water, sanitation and health.
5. Academic networks between Ghana and Germany have been established through frequent research visits by ISSER scientists to Germany and through short-term lecture stays by German scientists in Ghana. The aim of developing joint research projects will give these networks additional impetus and will spark intensive disciplinary and methodological exchanges. African academic networks are being strengthened through visits by scientists from Ghanaian partner institutes, as well as from other African Centers of Excellence. Similarly, capacity-building training courses and individual training modules within the PhD course will be open to members of partner institutions. Most importantly, however, Ghanaian and African partner institutes are invited to name candidates who will be enrolled in the PhD program if they match the enrolment requirements. Alumni of the PhD course in Development Studies will remain affiliated to the Center for Development Studies; they will be invited to the annual workshops and may become part of research projects that the center wants to attract in cooperation with ZEF.