Second call for bilateral research activities between Switzerland and Subsaharan Africa (S-SAM) now open

The second call for bilateral research activities between Switzerland and Subsaharan Africa (S-SAM) is now open.

We call upon late PhD and early postdoctoral researchers from Subsaharan Africa or from Switzerland to submit proposals for short pilot studies or academic exchanges.

Objective
The objective of the Swiss Subsaharan Africa Migration (S-SAM) network is to build and strengthen long-term partnerships between migration researchers in Subsaharan Africa and Switzerland.

Your Profile
You are at the transition from PhD to established researcher: either a late PhD (typically last year), or early postdoctoral researcher (typically first or second year). You are embedded in a university in a Subsaharan African country or in Switzerland, and study human migration. You have an excellent track record, an innovative idea, and are interested in academic exchange and working towards a joint project.

Topics
Within the large field of human migration, we are in particular interested in projects concerning aspects of migration to Europe before migrants reach their destination. This includes the following topics:

— Reasons and motivations to migrate. Here we seek novel research on aspirations and abilities to migrate, on the nature of different ‘pull’ effects and the choice of destination country, or on the role of information in decisions to migrate. Research may focus on questions of preparations, anticipation of problems ‘en route’ and in the country of destination (e.g. discrimination), or on similarities and differences between South-South and South-North migration.
— Student migration. Here we seek novel research on student migration from Subsaharan Africa to Switzerland and Europe, as a specific motivation to migrate.
— Migration and health. Here we seek novel research on the situation ‘en route’ to Europe, how health affects decisions to migrate (or stay put), how the migration experience itself affects the mental and physical health of migrants, or the migration trajectories of health workers.

Methodologically and regarding academic discipline, the call is open, but innovative and experimental research is encouraged where this is reasonable. We encourage a focus on social mechanisms.

Funding
You can apply for a small pilot study, an exchange, or the combination of the two.

Pilot studies give you the opportunity to carry out your own research with independent funding. We call them ‘pilot studies’ because we want to encourage studies that can eventually expand. The aim of a pilot study should be to obtain sufficient empirical material for a research paper. The indicative budget of a pilot study is CHF 1,000 to 5,000.

Exchanges: For exchanges to Switzerland, the University of Neuchâtel figures as the hub for migration research in Switzerland. You will submit a clear project to be completed during your exchange. The exchange will take place in a bilateral frame between Switzerland and a Subsaharan African country — in either direction. Key countries are: Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda, as well as Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, and Tanzania. Remuneration for travel and living expenses is according to the guidelines by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The combination with other exchanges is not excluded. The indicative budget of an exchange is CHF 5,000 to 10,000.

All applicants are encouraged to bring external funding (e.g. matching funds), but this is not a requirement.

Timeline
Deadline for submissions is 15 April 2019. Fieldwork in summer or autumn 2019.

Submission and Information
Online form: http://neuchatel.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3jW58GDQ6HWX8fr

Submissions are competitive. For further information refer to the website of S-SAM: http://www.unine.ch/sfm/home/formation/ssam.html where you can also sign up to be notified about further calls and other announcements like possible virtual conferences. Contact didier.ruedin@unine.ch for further information.

Call as PDF

Most important academic skill? English!

The other day I was reviewing a paper that looked quite interesting, but unfortunately was written in such poor English that I could not really understand what was going on. I felt sorry for the author(s). I then recalled a recent discussion with a colleague of mine about how important so-called transferable skills are for students: We know that most of them won’t end up in academia, so stuff like critical thinking, structuring an argument, or reading a regression table a are pretty important. Among these, coherent and comprehensible English must rank very high. For those who stay in academia, I’d argue that it’s the most important skill, because it’s central to communicating with other researchers and having your work understood. Only this way can others build on what we do. Ironically, however, teaching English is typically not a focus at universities, if it is done at all. Like so many things, we just kind of assume students (have to figure out how to) do it.

Image: CC-by-nc Moiggi Interactive