German-Pakistani Research Collaboration and Academic Capacity Building Programme

Pakistani collaboration partners on a visit to ZEF.

ZEF’s Department of Political and Cultural Change and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the Government College University (GCU) Lahore initiated a partnership in 2011 to build up a pool of candidates who qualify for further PhD-studies at international and German academic institutions. The programme targets selected graduates from the Departments of Political Science, Economics, Psychology and History who are at the last stage of their MPhil studies.


kmielke(at)uni-bonn.de

Set-up of the training program

The annual training cycle includes a Spring School “Introduction to Qualitative Social Sciences Research Methods”, during which interdisciplinary social science methods and theoretical approaches are discussed. At this time, the students refine their MPhil thesis research proposals under the joint supervision of GCU and ZEF staff. The Spring School is then followed by six to eight weeks of fieldwork, during which the students conduct original, empirical field research. In the initial field work period the students receive guidance from GCU and ZEF researchers, both in the field and in classroom-sessions.

The topics of research are chosen by the students and fit into a broader thematic framework that ZEF and GCU researchers agree on before each new cycle. After the write-up and successful submission of the theses, two to three of the best performing students are selected to take part in ZEFa’s disciplinary doctoral programme in Bonn. This gives them the opportunity to develop their first plans for a PhD-proposal and to expand their knowledge through participation in the modular training courses on ‘Development Research and Practice’, ‘Research Methods’, ‘Development Cooperation’ and ‘Skills Training’.

Ideally, the interdisciplinary-trained alumni of the program will remain in academia, and will assume significant roles in social science and development research at Pakistani higher education institutes following completion of their doctoral studies. The partners are committed to develop a long-term academic partnership which will help foster Pakistani-German academic cooperation in the field of social sciences.

Facts & people

Team members: Helena Cermeño, M.Arch., Dr. Joe Hill, Katja Mielke, M.A.
PD Dr. Conrad Schetter (Director at BICC)
Main cooperation partners: Government College University (GCU) Lahore, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Main funding partners: DAAD, German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Duration of the project: 08/2011 – 12/2013
Contact: kmielke(at)uni-bonn.de