Developing Research Capacity for Inclusive Urban Governance: a Sheffield-Witwatersrand PhD Training Partnership

shacks in township in south africa, from directly above

Duration: 11/15 – 11/18

Despite considerable investment in urban housing and infrastructure since the end of apartheid, South Africa’s cities continue to struggle with service shortfalls and a dependence on ‘informal’ settlements. This situation, similar to urban conditions in many other countries, highlights the need for critical research that examines the disjuncture between policy goals, everyday state practices and the everyday lives of poor urban communities.

Developing Research Capacity for Inclusive Urban Governance: a Sheffield-Witwatersrand PhD Training Partnership
therefore aims to address this knowledge gap through a collaborative capacity development programme between two leading academic institutions in South Africa and the UK. Through a series of intensive training visits, the exchange programme will provide doctoral researchers with the opportunity to develop their skills in an innovative learning environment.

The project will support the development of a corps of well trained researchers with a broader understanding of urban challenges and first-hand experience, through the engagement of the networks of both universities, of working with a range of non-academic partners.

Glyn Williams (Principal Investigator, Reader)
Paula Meth (Senior Lecturer in Town and Regional Planning)
Stephen Connelly (Assistant Professor)
Claire Benit-Gbaffou (Associate Professor)
Alison Todes (Professor)
Sarah Charlton (Associate Professor)

The exchange visits will deliver three inter-related outputs, extending beyond the life of the project itself:

1) New training materials for doctoral researchers – each visit will produce materials that can be used to develop researchers’ capacity to undertake theoretically-informed critical work in complex political and policy environments.

2) Curriculum design and institutional development– the project is being used to support wider exchange across the two partner universities, learning from the existing strengths of each other’s doctoral training environments, and catalysing change in both.

3) Original research on urban governance – as the cohort of PhD students undertake their own primary research, the project will provide opportunities for collective academic publication, dissemination to policy audiences, and a springboard for future collaborative research.