Deadline: August 29, 2020 (12:00PM, GMT+1)|

Scholarship level: PHD|

Who can apply?

Anyone with the required qualifications


The Global Partnership Network is an interdisciplinary and international network of excellence with the head office located at the University of Kassel (Germany) and partner universities in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. It co-operates closely with various partner NGOs in the respective countries. The GPN is funded by the programme “Exceed – Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation” launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). 

The GPN decided to name its PhD scholarships after Thomas Sankara being an outstanding personality from the Global South, whose ideas and practices of resisting neo-colonialism and promoting independent pathways for countries of the Global South are deemed to inspire the work of the Global Partnership Graduate School.

In the framework of its Graduate School of Research for Global Partnership, the GPN invites students from ODA recipient countries to apply for a Thomas Sankara PhD scholarship at a GPN partner university. Further, it will enable and fund research co-operations between partner universities working on Global Partnership in the global economy (in the fields of agriculture, finance, and energy), in development cooperation (access, accountability, deep participation) and/or in knowledge production (Eurocentrism and alternative knowledge).

The universities contributing to the GPN are the following:

  • Haramaya University (Ethiopia)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, India)
  • Makerere University (Uganda)
  • Rhodes University (South Africa)
  • Université des Sciences Appliquées du Développement (USAD, Burkina Faso)
  • Université d’Etat Haiti (UEH, Haiti)
  • Université Virtuelle Senegal (UVS, Senegal)
  • University of Cape Coast (UCC, Ghana)
  • University of the West Indies (UWI, Jamaica)
  • University of the Witwatersrand (Wits, South Africa)*
  • University of Kassel (UKS, Germany)

Only those two universities marked as bold, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Cape Coast, participate in this call for applications. All other listed universities are only involved as possible secondary institutions providing second supervisors.

The GPN is committed to creating equal opportunities for doctoral candidates. We particularly encourage women and people from other marginalized groups to apply.

*Applicants to the University of the Witwatersrand must also please apply simultaneously to one of the PhD programmes in the School of Social Sciences (e.g. Sociology, Development Studies or International Relations). Please consult the website of the university for details and the closing dates of such programmes. Successful applicants to the GPN will also need to be accepted by one of these PhD programmes.


What We Of­fer

Building on successful earlier initiatives, the network will include a graduate programme in which PhD students are co-supervised by professors from two partner universities. The supervisors are chosen by the PhD student based on thematic preferences and if they agree to the supervision, they will monitor the thesis progress at least once every three months in a one-hour online session. The PhD student will spend at least six months at the partner university of the second supervisor. 

PhD students of the GPN Graduate School will be based at the respective partner universities (see above) and enrolled in the virtual PhD training programme. Moreover, successful candidates participate in the annual PhD virtual conferences of the GPN Graduate School and get involved in the lively academic exchange and activities within the GPN network.

The PhD scholarship will be awarded for three years. An extension for a fourth year is possible under certain conditions. In exceptional cases, preparatory PhD grants are given for up to one year for students (especially from countries with weaker higher education systems) who exhibit potential for interesting research but need more academic training. This grant will enable them to attend courses in one of the partner universities and improve their proposal.The scholarships will cover a country-specific monthly living allowance (including a family allowance if applicable), the participation in virtual GPN Graduate School activities as well as the opportunity to apply for funding towards completing empirical research. Final admission to the GPN Graduate School is conditioned on the admittance to the PhD programme of the chosen GPN partner universityand a positive progress evaluation by the GPN in the first scholarship year.

Ap­p­li­ca­ti­on Re­qui­re­ments

  • a completed MA/MSc degree (exception: the defence of the MA thesis should have happened until the application deadline), with very good results, in a discipline related to the above topics; the applicant’s last academic degree should not be more than six years ago; if an applicant already started with his/her PhD project, it should have started not more than three years ago;
  • a very high proficiency in English (CEFR level: C1 or above) demonstrated by one of the following language certificates: TOEFL, with a minimum score of 95 IBT (Internet-based test); IELTS 7.0 or above; the Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English or an equivalent; native speakers and applicants who have completed [one of] their first degree[s] fully in English do not have to provide an English proficiency certificate; if the PhD dissertation will be written in another language than English: a high proficiency of English (CEFR level: B2 or above) for the participation in the Graduate School demonstrated by one of the just mentioned language certificates.
  • academic or vocational experience in one of the disciplines related to the thematic field of global partnership;
  • citizenship of an ODA recipient country. If the applicant resides in Germany or other countries which are not on the DAC list and is currently not enrolled in a university, s*he  should not have lived in the country of residence longer than two years before the potential start of the scholarship.

Ap­p­li­ca­ti­on Pro­ce­du­re

The application process involves three elements. Your application is only complete if all three are submitted:

Step 1: Ap­p­li­ca­ti­on pa­cka­ge

Step 2: Com­ple­ti­on of the on­line ap­p­li­ca­ti­on form and upload of your ap­p­li­ca­ti­on pa­cka­ge

Step 3: Two let­ters of re­com­men­da­ti­on

Ti­me­ta­ble for the feed­back on ap­p­li­ca­ti­ons

We plan the timetable for the feedback on applications as follows (no guarantee due to unforeseeable issues):

  • First feedback with rejections or acceptances to the second round with a review procedure until the 10.09.20
  • Final feedback on nomination for a GPN PhD scholarship or preparatory grant until 20.10.20
  • Application for admission to the first home institution as soon as possible

For further information or questions, please contact the GPN Graduate School staff (graduateschool.gpn[at]uni-kassel[dot]de). visit the official page


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