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An invitation for applications for Research Fellowships in African Philanthropy and Social Investment

The Chair in African Philanthropy and the Wits Business School, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York invite applications for research fellowships which will increase empirical knowledge about African Philanthropy and Social Investment.  Research outputs will assist in developing a cadre of scholars and practitioners in these fields, as well as inform teaching and further research.  Two types of fellowships are available for doctoral and masters’ degree students.

Doctoral Fellowship

The fellowship will support research. Eligibility for this fellowship is for a student already registered in the doctoral programme at an African university. The research should lead to at least one article suitable for publication in accepted academic journal(s). The fellowship is limited to specified research costs as well as travel for necessary periods of residence within and outside South Africa.


Applications should include:

  1. Proof of PhD enrolment.
  2. Written approval by the candidate’s supervisor.
  3. A copy of the approved PhD proposal.
  4. Detailed specification of:
    – The research topic.
    – Fellowship assistance required, including its intended results and the journal(s) to which a research article will be submitted.
  5. A compelling motivation.


Applications should be sent to

Master’s Fellowship

The fellowship will support research for a Master of Management Research degree at the Wits Business School. Eligibility and the steps involved can be found here. Online applications can be submitted here.


The potential for publication of the research as an academic article is additionally desirable. The fellowship covers registration, fieldwork (if applicable), travel and residence when required in South Africa.


Applications should be sent to

Research Topics

Applications should address one or more of the following topic areas. They are not mutually exclusive. Multidisciplinary research is encouraged, as are qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. For the purpose of this call, the term ‘gifting’ is analogous to philanthropy.

Meso-level: theory, aggregate and/or pan-African comparative perspectives
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  • Composition / typology of philanthropy and/or social investment in Africa.
  • The anthropology, historiography, ethics and norms of African gifting.
  • The role of gifting in African politics and governance.
  • Philanthropy and impact/sustainable investment.


Macro level: country perspectives
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  • Country profiles and analysis of philanthropy and/or social investment.
  • Gender dimensions of African philanthropy and/or social investment.
  • Philanthropy and social investment as practiced by small and medium enterprises.
  • Philanthropy in national development: past, present and future.


Micro level: transactions and cases
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  • The socio-economic scale, functions and practices of gifting in communities and/or poor households.
  • The functions and effectiveness of Diaspora remittances.
  • Social investment strategy and decision making in business settings.
  • The measurement of philanthropy and/or social investment initiatives.


Other potential topics to consider (could fall in one or more of the above levels):
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  • Provision of entrepreneurial training to women- and youth-operated micro-enterprises.
  • Entrepreneurial training of micro-enterprises owned and operated by the disabled.
  • Financial literacy training, social inclusion and micro-enterprise sustainability in Africa.
  • Philanthropy and disruptive innovation in in education, and other economic sectors.
  • Supporting the disadvantaged to move from the informal to formal economies.
  • Philanthropy and business development (e.g. philanthropy in incubation and innovation).
  • Philanthropy and the use of information technology to empower small businesses in Africa.
  • Philanthropy, patient capital, impact investment and social welfare improvement.


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The Application

Closing date for applications for fellowships commencing in 2019 is on:

28 September 2018