Research Platforms

Exchange and cooperation with scholars from around the world is a decades-long tradition at the GIGA. Since 2015 we have been intensifying and consolidating this cooperation with the help of a new medium: the GIGA research platforms.

  • Exchange and cooperation with scholars from around the world is a decades-long tradition at the GIGA. Since 2015 we have been intensifying and consolidating this cooperation with the help of a new medium: the GIGA research platforms. Through these platforms we are collaborating with excellent partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East on research topics of joint interest and are laying the foundation for international, evidence-based policy advising. The GIGA also works closely with the German organisations based in each of the partner countries, including the embassies.

    Alongside joint field research, we organise conferences and workshops as well as exchange stays among scholarly staff; new research findings are presented in joint publications.

    The research platform activities not only aim to increase the profile of the GIGA’s research findings in the regions and to create a link to regional debates; they also serve to integrate the findings and viewpoints from local contexts into the mainstream in other regions of the world.

    The research platforms are an important element in our approach of adopting a well-founded, inclusive, and pluralistic view of research and policy.

    Research Platform Africa

    The Research Platform Africa aims to intensify and consolidate cooperation with excellent partners in sub-Saharan Africa and foster collaborations on research topics of joint interest. Among other projects, the platform is involved in a long-standing collaboration with the University of Pretoria's Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) on the Land Matrix Initiative.

    With the aim of providing a forum for dialogue on current political and economic issues – and of giving a strong voice to African views – we have organised several events with speakers from the region. Most recently, Professor Emanuel Gyimah-Boadi, executive director of Afrobarometer, was in Berlin to present the latest round of survey data on African views on democracy. Together with Dr. Bärbel Kofler, the German federal government’s commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian aid, Professor Gyimah-Boadi discussed the implications of current developments for the future of human rights protection and democratic governance in sub-Saharan Africa.

    In the region, the research platform has hosted two major events. The conference “The Legacy of Armed Conflicts: Southern African and Comparative Perspectives” was organised in cooperation with the University of Pretoria's Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn). The event brought together academics from Europe, the United States, and sub-Saharan Africa. A recurring theme at the conference was the importance of legitimacy for peace-building and the necessity of considering the continuity between armed conflict and other forms of violent and non-violent social action.

    An additional international workshop entitled “Inequality and Middle Class Development in Africa” was held in Cape Town, South Africa. The event was organised in cooperation with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR), the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU), and the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation. It offered a variety of presentation and discussion formats that invited scholars and practitioners to reflect on the potential of an emerging middle class to foster inclusive growth and play a transformative sociopolitical role in Africa.

    The contacts established through these events have led to continued collaboration with researchers in the region, including reciprocal research stays, joint field research, and joint publications.

    As part of its agenda, the Research Platform Africa has provided five small research grants. The projects, which have been competitively selected from close to 100 submissions, are carried out by doctoral researchers and early career researchers based at research institutions in Ghana, Ethiopia, and South Africa. The issues covered touch upon all four GIGA research programmes (RP). They include

    • the influence of material power on the agency of potential migrants in Ethiopia (RP1, the contribution of grass-roots organisations to mainstream peacebuilding efforts in South Sudan (RP2),

    • the role played by informal manufacturing in growth and industrialisation in Zimbabwe (RP3),

    • the ex ante analysis of on-land crude oil exploration activities in Ghana’s Voltian Basin (RP2/RP3),

    • and the ways in which civil society groups interact both within horizontal networks and vis-à-vis the Southern African Development Community (RP4).

    Two of the seed-fund recipients – Emmaculate Asige Liaga from the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria and Godfrey Kamutando from the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town – subsequently applied for and received external funding for an extended research stay at the GIGA.


    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

    Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs / Editor GIGA Focus Africa

    Prof. Dr. Jann Lay

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Globalisation and Development"

    Cooperation Event | 22/06/2022 - 23/06/2022

    MIASA Policy Conference “Policies for a Sustainable Rural Transformation in Africa”

    This first MIASA Policy Conference on “Policies for a Sustainable Rural Transformation in Africa” provides space for exchange between researchers, policy makers, development practitioners, and other stakeholders in rural development to present and discuss the most recent policy-relevant research findings. Video now online!

    Online Workshop | 21/10/2021 - 22/10/2021

    MIASA Publishing Workshop

    The MIASA Publication Workshop aims to foster research by African scholars to facilitate their publication in renowned African Studies journals. In doing so, it seeks to address asymmetries in knowledge production, which is the overarching goal of the Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA).

    Digital or Visual Products | 2021

    Rural Transformations in sub-Saharan Africa: A Research Comic by Fellows from the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA)

    This comic addresses rural transformations in Africa. Between February and May 2020, researchers from different countries worked together virtually and at the Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa. This comic gives you an insight into our research.

    Dr. Lisa Hoffmann

    Research Fellow

    Research Project | 01/09/2020 - 31/08/2026

    Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA)

    MIASA, based at the University of Legon, Ghana, is one of five Maria Sibylla Merian Centres for Advanced Studies, funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research. Its overall aim is to work towards a reduction of global asymmetries in knowledge production and bridging the cultural divide between anglophone and francophone Africa. MIASA's thematical focus is on sustainable governance. The GIGA contributes to the Interdisciplinary Fellow Group on ‘Sustainable Rural Transformation’ and its outreach activities.
    BMBF, 2020-2026

    Research Platform Asia

    Since 2015 the GIGA has operated a research platform in Asia that aims to intensify collaboration and exchange between academia, think tanks, the German Federal Foreign Office, political foundations, and other partners. Activities include joint academic conferences, workshops, and policy-oriented events, as well as staff exchanges. The platform also allows us to explore innovative collaborations and establish new partnerships with institutions in the wider Indo-Pacific and in Europe. In recent years, we have co-organised several academic events in Beijing, Dunedin (New Zealand), Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Phitsanulok (Thailand), Tokyo, Ulaanbaatar, and Yangon. Joint activities with academics and journalists from the region have also taken place in Hamburg and Berlin. A substantial number of edited volumes, special issues of peer-reviewed journals, and other publications have resulted from these events. In terms of institutional collaboration, the GIGA Research Platform Asia benefits from cooperation agreements with the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In Tokyo, the GIGA is represented by its senior research fellow Dr. Iris Wieczorek. Between 2017 and 2020 the GIGA granted several “GIGA India Fellowships” to India specialists to spend time as Visiting Fellows at the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies. Some former Visiting Fellows are now Associates of the institute. Together with its French partner, the Institute for International Studies (CERI) at the SciencesPo Paris, in 2021 the GIGA launched the Franco-German Observatory of the Indo-Pacific, which organises a webinar series, joint conferences, and other exchanges.


    Prof. Dr. Patrick Köllner

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies / Vice President

    Cooperation Event | 06/07/2022

    Engaging in the Indo-Pacific

    The East Asia Institute (EAI), Seoul, and the GIGA co-hosted a seminar titled “Engaging in the Indo-Pacific: German and South Korean Views” on 6 July 2022 at the East Asia Institute conference hall. The panelists held an in-depth discussion on the vision for the Indo-Pacific region, measures for German-South Korean cooperation, and both countries’ strategies for engagement.

    Research Project | 01/01/2022 - 31/12/2022

    Engaging the Indo-Pacific: German and Korean Perspectives on Regional Cooperation

    A policy-oriented research project bringing together the GIGA and the East Asia Institute in Seoul. The project aims at analysing German/EU and Korean strategies for Indo-Pacific engagement and identifying areas for in-depth consultation, coordination and cooperation.
    Korea Foundation, 2022

    Prof. Dr. Sook-Jong Lee

    Prof. Dr. Yul Sohn

    Prof. Dr. Chaesung Chun

    Lecture Series | 30/09/2022

    Franco-German Observatory of the Indo-Pacific

    The Franco-German Observatory invites key actors from the Indo-Pacific to discuss questions of a strategic nature, of economic interdependence and independence, and the expectations the countries of the Indo-Pacific might have towards the “West”. Upcoming lecture by Ambassador Romana Vlahutin and Dr. Maaike Okano-Heijmans.

    Conference | 09/12/2021 - 10/12/2021

    Franco-German Observatory on the Indo-Pacific Conference 2021

    This conference discusses the current geopolitical transformations taking place in the Indo-Pacific. The objective is to debate the stakes of these evolutions, their implications for our understanding of international politics in Asia, and their policy implications for European states and the European Union.

    Research Platform Latin America

    Consolidating and expanding its collaborative work with leading universities and research institutes in Brazil and beyond is a primary objective of GIGA Research Platform in Latin America. In addition to our main cooperation partner, the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), we have been working closely together with 10 institutions to organise joint international workshops and conferences, arrange mutual research visits, and discuss topics of joint interest with different target groups in the region. The platform's activities are interlocked with GIGA research projects, thus paving the way for synergies and institutional bonds for long-term cooperation.


    Prof. Dr. Merike Blofield

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies

    Research Platform Middle East

    The GIGA currently operates one research platform in North Africa (Tunis) and one in the Middle East (Beirut). They bring together academics and practitioners from the Arab world and beyond and enable the GIGA and its partners to jointly address issues of particular relevance for the involved institutions and researchers. Together with the L’Observatoire Tunisien de la Transition Démocratique (OTTD) in Tunisia and the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut, the GIGA organises activities to promote a common impact on the scientific and political arenas in the locations of the respective platforms – these consist of international conferences and workshops, research cooperation, and mutual research visits.


    Dr. André Bank

    Senior Research Fellow

    Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies

    Research Project | 01/04/2020 - 31/03/2023

    Merian Center for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM): Imagining Futures - Dealing with Disparity

    The "Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb" (MECAM), founded in 2020, is a platform for regional and international scientific exchange in Tunisia based on the central theme "Imagining Futures - Dealing with Disparity". The centre is located at the renowned Université de Tunis in the Tunisian capital. Its research work focuses on the effects of multidimensional disparity on models, visions and ideas about political, social, economic, and cultural futures.
    BMBF, 2020-2023

    Cooperation | 20/04/2020

    New Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in Tunis

    The GIGA is taking part in the establishment of a Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) in the capital of Tunisia. This research centre will be dedicated to the study of processes of social change that have come about as a result of the Arab protest movements of 2011.

    Cooperation Event | 19/02/2021

    Teaching and Research in Times of Pandemic: State of Play in Tunisia and Germany

    To inaugurate the "Rencontres Ibn Khaldûn", MECAM is holding an event in which actors directly concerned by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the academic world will take part. They will be invited to discuss the problems of distance learning, mobility and the challenges of research in times of health crisis.

    Press Release | 30/03/2020

    Imagining Futures – Dealing with Disparity

    Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) to be established at the Université de Tunis


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