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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. 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 and events. 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.



Research Platform Asia

Since 2015 the GIGA has operated a research platform in Asia. Our aim is to intensify collaboration and exchange between academia, think tanks, the Federal Foreign Office, political foundations, and other partners in the region. 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 other institutions in the wider Asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific. In recent years, we have thus co-organised a number of academic events and policy-oriented exchanges 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.

In terms of institutional collaboration, the GIGA Research Platform Asia benefits from our cooperation agreements with the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, United States. In Tokyo, the GIGA is permanently represented by its senior research fellow Dr. Iris Wieczorek. Building on a long-standing, fruitful collaboration with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, the platform also facilitates our exchange with excellent scholars from or working on India. Objectives include strengthening our networks among research institutions and think tanks in India, enabling joint research, and transferring knowledge about policy-relevant research results to decision-makers and other key target audiences. Between 2017 and 2020 the GIGA granted a number of "GIGA India Fellowships" to Indian scholars to spend some time as visiting fellows at the IAS.



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.


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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.



Global Approach to Scholarship

The GIGA works with perspectives, concepts, and experiences from different world regions. It stands for research that is global in content, reach, and structure.