Outline of a world map

Provost's Global Faculty Awards

2023-24 Sub-Saharan Africa PGFA Recipients

Academic Events

Cultural Variation and Change in Eastern Nigeria

PIs: James Robinson, Maria Angélica Bautista, Harris School of Public Policy

Partner Organization(s): Marquette University, The University of Nigeria

Working with scholars and students at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka we plan to transcribe and analyze a unique ethnographic database, the “salvage ethnography” of Professor Donatus Nwoga, collected in the 1980s. This preserved oral history, beliefs and traditions covering many cultural practices and social and political institutions all over Eastern Nigeria. We plan to bring together scholars to discuss and interpret these materials, and also to compare them both to archival sources from the 1930s, and a contemporary survey we will undertake ourselves. The result will be a unique picture of cultural, political and social change over a 100-year period which will be an invaluable resource for testing hypotheses about cultural change and particularly the impact of colonialism on Nigerian society.

Training Manual Development and Pilot Training of Fibroid Champions

PI: Obianuju Sandra Madueke-Laveaux, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Partner Organization(s): Fibroid Foundation Africa, Ghana Health Service

The overarching goal of this project is to develop a basic and well-structured training manual to guide the training of Fibroid Champions and a flip chart for fibroid sensitization, awareness, and education in communities across Ghana with the aim of increasing knowledge and awareness on uterine fibroids to enhance the treatment-seeking behaviour and improve the quality of life of women burdened with fibroids.

The manual will be developed by a team from academia, the medical community, civil society groups, and survivors of fibroids. Fifty volunteers (Fibroid Champions) would be recruited and provided with training. It is expected that the Champions will be the first in the region to be deployed in their communities having the requisite knowledge on uterine fibroids and provided with tools to facilitate public education and awareness creation campaigns.

Planning Meetings

CISSR-AFIDEP Social Science Training Initiative for Junior Scholars

PIs: Jenny Trinitapoli, Department of Sociology; Alicia Menendez, Harris School of Public Policy; Emily Lynn Osborn, Department of History

Partner Organization(s): Penn State University, University of Ghana, AFIDEP

In an era of mass migration, debates over depopulation and overpopulation, climate crisis, novel infectious disease outbreaks, urbanization, the relevance of population dynamics in Africa for the world is more salient than ever. Demography – also referred to as population studies – is an interdisciplinary field concerned with the scientific study of population change, its causes, and its consequences. Interdisciplinary research of this kind succeeds by collaboration and successful partnering with local researchers. The African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) is a research policy institute started in 2010 to bridge the gaps in research, policy, and practice for development efforts in Africa. AFIDEP is the ideal partnership to cultivate at the University of Chicago because they combine training scholars in global research practices (particularly environmental, social sciences, demography, and institution building) with the development of policy discussions. In collaboration with Francis Dodoo, Chairperson of AFIDEP, and Nyovani Madise, Director of Malawi Office – AFIDEP, Jenny Trinitapoli, CISSR Director and Associate Professor of Sociology propose a joint initiative to bring three AFIDEP scholars for research exchanges at the University of Chicago. Although led by project leaders in demography, this initiative will include faculty across campus. By supporting AFIDEP scholars’ independent research projects, this strategic collaboration can shape development policy initiatives and spark new collaborative research between the University of Chicago and AFIDEP scholars.

Training Initiatives

Quantitative Biology Training Program for Students from Madagascar

PIs: Cara Brook, Department of Ecology and Evolution

Partner Organization(s): Madagascar Biodiversity Center

Called the ‘Eighth Continent,’ Madagascar is an island nation off the east coast of Africa rich in biodiversity but limited in educational resources. As one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, where the majority of the population lives on less than $2 US/day, Madagascar has limited resources available to finance in-country scientific research for Malagasy nationals to undertake studies of their own natural history. The Brook lab at the University of Chicago will partner with a longstanding conservation and education NGO, Madagascar Biodiversity Center, to build opportunities in quantitative training for Malagasy students in biology and medicine. This project will sponsor a 10-day workshop in computer programming and computational analysis of biological data for Malagasy graduate students, as well as support a yearlong mentoring program designed to guide Malagasy students in the analysis, interpretation, and publication of their own data. University of Chicago graduate students will be recruited as mentors and instructors for these programs. Finally, one Malagasy student will be selected to undertake a two-month research exchange in the Brook lab at the University of Chicago, with the end goal of submitting a scientific article for publication.

Research Experience for Nigerian Undergraduates

PIs: Chibueze Amanchukwu, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

Partner Organization(s): Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta

Grand global challenges ranging from clean energy to health requires global approaches and global talent. The lack of resources has stymied the growth of research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, the lack of research experiences has prevented high achieving Nigerian undergraduates from pursuing PhD at top US research institutions. Here, we propose to create a new virtual Research Experience for Nigerian Students (RENS) where Nigerian undergraduate students perform summer research under the guidance of a UChicago faculty member. Through this research experience, we equip these students with the research and professional skills to become successful PhD students. Finally, we will host an in-person US-Nigeria Engineering workshop in Nigeria where (1) RENS students present their research projects and garner presentation skills, (2) UChicago faculty present their research, and (3) students are equipped with the relevant skills to submit competitive applications for US PhD programs. Providing research opportunities to high achieving students showcases research as a possible career choice while providing them with the experiences and resources needed to excel as PhD students. Finally, UChicago engagement with the region exposes our faculty to the sub-Saharan region and vice versa and provides access to world class talent.

Social Science Methods Training with Ugandan Researchers

PIs: Vesall Nourani, Development Innovation Laboratory

Partner Organization(s): Makerere University

Dr. Vesall Nourani at DIL has supported workshops at Makerere University in Uganda that enhance student and faculty capacity to use the tools of econometrics to study causal relationships in social science research. We aim to develop this workshop into a series of week-long courses, embedding pedagogical best practices into a workbook that allows former participants to offer the course themselves. To achieve this, we will produce training materials whose study is led by a facilitator in group settings. We will model this approach during workshops in the Spring or Summer of 2023, as we develop three core modules: 1) a module on field data collection and management, 2) a module on data cleaning, tidying and analysis, and 3) a module on identifying causal relationships in data. Promising students will work closely with DIL Research Professionals and Research Assistants on an ongoing research project under the guidance of Dr. Nourani. We hope to achieve the following outcomes; (1) improved use of econometric methods in Uganda, (2) training materials that can be used to support social science research in the East African context, and (3) expanded collaborations with local researchers qualified to use causal inference methods.