South African PhD Partnering Network for Inclusive Growth through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship - The SASIE Programme and Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Essex
Department Name: Essex Business School

Abstract

Social entrepreneurship and social innovation are increasingly promoted by South African policy makers, non-governmental organisations, civil groups, businesses and public sector bodies as a way to address complex and intractable poverty and sustainable development issues as part of a quest for inclusive growth, especially for the marginalized and disenfranchised. Across South Africa non-profits and for-profit socially orientated small businesses are emerging to tackle a wealth of social, environmental and economic issues across townships, in poor rural areas and as part of a sustainable and equitable transformation of South Africa. Larger South African multinationals are also working with social enterprises as part of their corporate social responsibility and economic empowerment initiatives.

There has been a corresponding rise in interest in academia in South Africa and across the world. This includes increased social entrepreneurship/innovation research activity at the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Wits and the Network for Social Entrepreneurs at GIBS University of Pretoria, amongst others. South African scholars in these fields, especially those at the start of their career undertaking PhDs or just starting in academia, can often be isolated in the global research environment. There is a need to offer opportunities to reach out to others in similar research areas across South Africa and the rest of the world. Sharing their own insights and learning from others is critical to developing excellent, rigorous and useful research that has the potential to improve the quality and impact of the research being undertaken on social entrepreneurship and innovation in South Africa. Developing research capacity across South Africa through exposure to cutting edge methodological techniques offers the opportunity to strengthen the collection and analysis of data to produce empirically rigorous work. Publishing in high quality outlets with an international reach is also important in showcasing the excellent research occurring in these areas in South Africa to the global research and practitioner communities.

Through this NRF ESRC funded "South African PhD Partnering Network for Inclusive Growth through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SASIE)" we will deliver the SASIE programme and form a SASIE network of global scholars to exchange knowledge, network and collaborate. Its themes will focus on the broad role of enterprise-based development models and in particular all aspects associated with social innovation, social entrepreneurship and enterprise based inclusive growth initiatives. It is delivered through a partnership between the two lead institutions of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa (Wits) and the University of Essex in the UK with its Doctoral Training Centre in Social Sciences, and a consortium of South African universities. Ten South African PhD placements students will be drawn from across this consortium of Wits, Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, with some places available for eligible PhD students from across any South African university. A further 10 PhD placement students will come from across various Schools at the University of Essex .

A series of activities are planned over the three year programme that will facilitate sustainable links between partners, improve research capacity and training, and build a research community in South Africa and internationally linked to the SASIE research themes. In brief these comprise of:
- A publicly available and searchable database hosted on the project website available to researchers around the work;
- Advanced Research Methods Training Workshops available to PhD students and researchers in South Africa;
- PhD workshops and Colloquiums;
- PhD placements;
- Supervisor visits;
- A public seminar series showcasing SASIE research; and
- Conference attendance bursaries

Planned Impact

In this impact summary we consider two key questions. Namely who will benefit from this 'SASIE' NRF-ESRC PhD partnering award and how they will benefit from this programme.

The first, and primary, group of beneficiaries of this PhD partnering network activities are researchers whose research or PhD topics are in the areas of social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and wider topics related to inclusive growth linked in some manner to enterprise-based initiatives or themes. This beneficiary group will come from across South Africa and the UK but also accessed from across the world through our detailed 'pathways to impact'. A detailed overview of this group is provided in the academic beneficiaries section but includes: PhD students, early career researchers and faculty in South Africa; UK PhD students from Essex, the Essex DTC, and from elsewhere in the UK; UK and South African supervisors; the universities of Wits, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan and Pretoria who will host the various activities; and a wide-range of academics from across the world and multiple disciplines interested in the research profiled in the SASIE directory and events.

The second main group of beneficiaries are the recipients of the range of programmes, initiatives and projects these academic researchers are involved in. The SASIE programme will enhance the quality of work being undertaken by these researchers and may lead to new projects through collaborations between members.

The third group of potential beneficiaries are social entrepreneurs, NGOs and businesses in South Africa, but also across the world, where the work profiled in the researcher directory can act as 'examples' to others interested in such topics, giving inspiration but also offer insights to successful implementation.

The fourth group of beneficiaries is policy makers interested in using enterprise-based initiatives as a vehicle for inclusive growth, sustainable development and poverty alleviation, especially through the promotion of social innovation and entrepreneurship who can use the project resources to identify individuals, enterprises and programmes that maybe of interest.

The final beneficiaries are civil society more widely, including the media, who can learn about the work of individual researchers who provide their details in the researcher directory. By offering this resource we bring the body of work being undertaken by these researchers into the public domain in one easily searchable directory. This directory will be linked to the Trickle Out Africa directory (set up by the UK PI Holt) which profiles social and environmental enterprises and support agencies associated with this in sub-Saharan Africa listing 1000+ from South Africa. Bringing these two together means we have both enterprises or other organisations and the researchers that study them in one publicly available location for any interested in learning more and reaching out to them.

We discuss our Pathways to Impact in more detail later. In summary though we offer a series of key deliverables through which we generate impact. These include:
- PhD Fellowships - UK (10) & SA (10);
- Worldwide online directory of SASIE network researchers;
- Advanced Research Methods Training Workshops (ARMT) held twice each year in South Africa for three years on advanced methodological techniques such as social network analysis, textual analysis, using big data;
- PhD Workshops (in South Africa) run alongside the ARMT workshops on doctoral training topics aimed at PhD students from across S.Africa;
- Colloquiums to present on-going PhD research;
- Supervisor mobility;
- Conference attendance; and
- Four public seminars in UK and S.Africa

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The main focus of this grant was on capacity building activities for PhD scholars and early career researchers in South Africa and the UK. As such 'new' research was not generated directly by the grant. However the grant did support those who were generating new research, supporting the development of rigorous and impactful research and helping them improve how this research is then communicated.

The programme had three main beneficiary groups. The first was the South African and UK PhD scholars in the network. These scholars were able to use the grant to improve their research skills, tap into new networks and spend dedicated time in an environment that facilitated their PhD data collection and analysis. These placement students consisted of the 20 SASIE fellows from the UK and South Africa.

Focusing in on these exchanges students they report gaining significantly from this network including:
- Increased understanding of the HE landscape;
- Being better equipped to work in academia;
- Being given technical research methods skills that supported their research studies, some of which were used in the data analysis in their thesis;
- Being given access to fieldwork locations especially in South Africa;
- Having the chances to network with international students and international faculty;
- Growing in confidence in terms of thinking about publishing their work and where to target these outputs;
- Submitting work to conferences and to journals; and
- Feeling like they have a community of academics they can draw on and interact with in future years

The second beneficiary group were from multiple disciplines and not restricted to the main topic area of the network. This group of South African scholars were able to network with others, learn new skills, gain new knowledge; all designed to support their own academic development. This group consisted of more than 200 attendees over the events across the three years. Events were undertaken in associations with a range of universities and across the country (e.g. Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, East London, Fort Hare, Durban, and Stellenbosch).

The third group were the more senior academics involved as supervisors, visiting researchers, mentors and speakers. Here this group had the opportunity to build new knowledge of the South Africa contexts, network with young scholars and share their own experiences

It seems from the experiences of this programme that support for PhD and early career scholars South Africa remains fragmented. The many PhD scholars who attended various events across South Africa reported very different levels of support and input from their home institutions; some had well developed training programmes focussed on high-level PhD training whilst others seemed much more ad-hoc and basic. The demand for the additional 'roadshow' events highlighted the need widespread academic capacity building events, such as those on building an academic profile, building research ideas that might be fundable, and how to build and test theory.

ODA Relevance
• As this is a capacity building and networking programme as such there are no direct research findings. However, each individual project undertaken by the participants of the core network (the SASIE PhD fellows) are all ODA relevant. Their research focuses on a range of topics that all fit under the broader umbrella of inclusive growth and sustainable development. Thus they will all ultimately have research findings related to aspects that meet ODA compliance criteria.
• The activities of the SASIE network were workshops, networking activities and placement (exchange) visits between UK and South Africa scholars. As discussed above their individual research projects each had a strong ODA relevance as they focus on topics linked to sustainable development and inclusive growth which are key components of the ODA eligibility criteria. In addition South Africa is an ODA country and all the participants of the network from the SA side where studying PhDs in South Africa. Those from the UK were all undertaking PhD topics related to ODA compliant themes and registered at a UK university. There were also many other participants from outside the network who attended the wider set of the SASIE activities in South Africa. All were studying in a South African University, College of Institutes and they came from many disciplinary backgrounds. These wider activities were designed to facilitate the development of stronger research skills and improve participant's abilities to communicate and disseminate their research findings on a global stage.
Exploitation Route Experiences are benefiting UK PhD scholars, South African PhD scholars and early career researchers in South Africa

The programme team have fed their insights from reflecting on this three year programme into wider discussion in South Africa, and with representatives of organisations such as the British Council, on PhD supervision, training and development as well as the needs of early career academics
Sectors Other

URL http://www.sasieresearch.net
 
Description As this was a Newton funded award the following can also be noted: • The economic and societal impact of the award on the DAC list country/countries. There is no direct impact as this was a networking award. However indirect impacts might occur via the network participants own activities in the future • How the award has addressed any of the Sustainable Development Goals The research activities of the participants are focused on a variety of the SDGs. The 20 PhD scholars have research in a variety of areas, with the following goals most relevant: 1: No Poverty, 3: Good Health and Well-being, 4: Quality Education, 5: Gender Equality , 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and 10: Reduced Inequality • Gender The selection of the participants for the fellowships was mindful of gender. Ten, of the twenty, fellows were female • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Across the three-year programme we were mindful of the need to be as inclusive as possible. Therefore we provided funding for attendees from outside the core group of 20 fellows to attend the SA-based events. This included not charging for the events and travel stipends. We also funded 10 PhD scholars in social entrepreneurship research to attend a three-day research colloquium event in Pretoria and provided their accommodation. The events were spread across South Africa to ensure as much geographical reach as possible and included a series of events in areas covered by the historically disadvantaged areas such as Fort Hare.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Other
Impact Types Societal

 
Description SASIE Network partners 
Organisation University of the Witwatersrand
Department Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The SASIE consortium was led by Essex (UK) and Witswatersand (S Africa). In addition the Universities of Nelson Mandela and Pretoria were also key partners.
Collaborator Contribution Wits led the South Africa side of the SASIE network
Impact The outputs reported for this grant are held jointly by Wits and Essex
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collecting data in unusual places - presentation for University of Cape Town PhD programme workshop April 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A presentation on "Collecting data in unusual places" using data from Trickle Out project and other grant activities. Presented to group of PhD students as part of their training programme at University of Cape Town PhD in a workshop April 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description PhD Conference at University Cape Town October 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Holt attended this two day conference for existing University Cape Town PhD scholars - as guest speaker and commentator for PhD proposals
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description SASIE Workshops as part fo PhD partnering award - held in Pretoria May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Venue: University of Pretoria , Hatfield
Tuesday 9th May Using Photo-elicitation for data collection and analysis 10-3pm Dr Marjana Johansson (20 places)
Tuesday 9th May Building an academic profile 3.30-4.30 Professor Diane Holt (35 places)
Wednesday 10th May From idea to publication - building and publishing theory 10-3 Professor Warren Nilsson (30 places)
Wednesday 10th May Finding a fundable research idea and producing high quality applications 3.30-5pm Professor Diane Holt (35 places)

ARMT Workshop: Photo-elicitation interviews
Photo-elicitation is a visual research method which combines interviewing with photographs. In the interview, the participant is encouraged to talk about one or several images with the aim to explore the associations, explanations and interpretations that emerge. Using images rather than relying on talk in interviews is seen as opening up alternative forms of articulation and understanding. Led by Dr Marjana Johansson (Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex) in this workshop we explore using hands-on exercises how to use this methodology in research and consider issues of analysis using practical examples. This is an ideal opportunity to learn more about using this emerging technique.
ARMT Workshop: From idea to publication - building and publishing theory
Dr Warren Nilsson (Associate Professor of Social Innovation, Academic Director MPhil in Inclusive Innovation Program University of Cape Town) will deliver an interactive workshop that traces the development of a paper from first draft to eventual publication in the Academy of Management Review - the premier journal in the Business Management field. Demystifying the process and showing all the stages a paper goes through this interactive workshop will help participants to understand how to deliver a successful paper and to discuss a real-life example including review comments and revised drafts. Our discussions throughout the workshop will also help participants to see how their work can be published and how they might build theory related to their own research. You will also have to chance to discuss your own theories and ideas with participants and the workshop team.
PhD/ECR Workshop: Building an academic profile
Led by Professor Diane Holt (University of Essex) in this free event we consider how academic researchers can build their academic profile in international contexts and also achieve impact with their research. We consider topics such as research gate, citation building, publishing in highly ranked international journals and disseminating your research findings.
PhD/ECR Workshop: Finding a fundable research idea and producing high quality applications
Led by Professor Diane Holt (University of Essex) in this free event we consider how academic researchers can identify a possible fundable research idea, as well as key 'tips' on producing high quality research applications. Professor Holt has won over £600K of research income including funding from the UK's Economic and Social Research Council, the South African National Research Foundation and the Newton Fund. The workshop will include a practical hands-on activity that can help you to identify how your particular interests and strengths can be focused into a research idea for funding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description SASIE workshops (7 days of events) April 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Between 12-20 April 2016 we ran a successful set of workshops in Witwatersrand and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Universities attended by over 50 attendees. Many attended multiple workshops over the 4 days of events in Johannesburg and the 3 days in Port Elizabeth. These workshops included a PhD Colloquium, two days of workshops on quantitative modelling techniques, 2 days of workshops on qualitative data collection and coding, and a workshop on academic publishing and having impact run in each location.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description SASIE workshops (three days) with PhD schaolrs in Fort Hare and Stellenbosch (October 2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Three days of workships held with PhD schalars from the uNivesities of Fort Hare and Stellenbosch. Each workshop day (they were identical and reaching different audiecnes) comprosed of the following:
(1) Finding a fundable research idea and producing high quality applications
Led by Professor Diane Holt in this free event we considered how academic researchers can identify a possible fundable research idea, as well as key 'tips' on producing high quality research applications. The workshop included a practical hands-on activity that can help you to identify how particular interests and strengths can be focused into a research idea for funding.
(2) Understanding journals in the social sciences. This workshop introduced attendees to the major considerations when selecting journals to publish work in. Topics included:
- Which journal to select and why
- Journal rankings and quality considerations
- Avoiding predatory conferences and journals
- How to maximise the possibility of getting a revise and resubmit
- How to deal with reviewer comments
(3) Building an academic profile Here we considered how academic researchers can build their academic profile in international contexts and also achieve impact with their research. We considered topics such as research gate, citation building, publishing in highly ranked international journals and disseminating your research findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description SASIE workshops - series of events as part of SASIE PhD partnership held in Cape Town May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact SASIE Network Annual Workshops May 2017 Venue: University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, Waterfront
Thursday 4th May Using Photo-elicitation for data collection and analysis 10-3pm Dr Marjana Johansson (20 places) with lunch 12-1
Thursday 4th May Building an academic profile 3.30-4.30 Professor Diane Holt (35 places)
Thursday 4th May SASIE Reception 6.30pm University of Cape Town GSB/Bertha Centre.
Friday 5th May From idea to publication - building and publishing theory 10-3 Professor Warren Nilsson (30 places) with lunch 12-1
Friday 5th May Finding a fundable research idea and producing high quality applications 3.30-5pm Professor Diane Holt (35 places)
ARMT Workshop: Photo-elicitation interviews
Photo-elicitation is a visual research method which combines interviewing with photographs. In the interview, the participant is encouraged to talk about one or several images with the aim to explore the associations, explanations and interpretations that emerge. Using images rather than relying on talk in interviews is seen as opening up alternative forms of articulation and understanding. Led by Dr Marjana Johansson (Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex) in this workshop we explore using hands-on exercises how to use this methodology in research and consider issues of analysis using practical examples. This is an ideal opportunity to learn more about using this emerging technique.
ARMT Workshop: From idea to publication - building and publishing theory
Dr Warren Nilsson (Associate Professor of Social Innovation, Academic Director MPhil in Inclusive Innovation Program University of Cape Town) will deliver an interactive workshop that traces the development of a paper from first draft to eventual publication in the Academy of Management Review - the premier journal in the Business Management field. Demystifying the process and showing all the stages a paper goes through this interactive workshop will help participants to understand how to deliver a successful paper and to discuss a real-life example including review comments and revised drafts. Our discussions throughout the workshop will also help participants to see how their work can be published and how they might build theory related to their own research. You will also have to chance to discuss your own theories and ideas with participants and the workshop team.
PhD/ECR Workshop: Building an academic profile
Led by Professor Diane Holt (University of Essex) in this free event we consider how academic researchers can build their academic profile in international contexts and also achieve impact with their research. We consider topics such as research gate, citation building, publishing in highly ranked international journals and disseminating your research findings.
PhD/ECR Workshop: Finding a fundable research idea and producing high quality applications
Led by Professor Diane Holt (University of Essex) in this free event we consider how academic researchers can identify a possible fundable research idea, as well as key 'tips' on producing high quality research applications. Professor Holt has won over £600K of research income including funding from the UK's Economic and Social Research Council, the South African National Research Foundation and the Newton Fund. The workshop will include a practical hands-on activity that can help you to identify how your particular interests and strengths can be focused into a research idea for funding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description SASIE workshops at Pretoria, Fort Hare and Durban (6 days of activities) July/August 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Six days of training workshops. Building on experiences from the previous year's academic capacity building workshops were held in association with the Universities of Stellenbosch, Pretoria and Fort Hare, with events based in Hogsback near East London, Durban, Stellenbosch and Pretoria. This included providing travel and accommodation stipends.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Theory Building Workshop, October 2016 Cape Town 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A two-day theory building workshop led by Prof Godfrey (Brigham Young University) for the SASIE network alongside PhD and other scholars.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016