Professor Dr Katharina Holzinger
Professor Dr Katharina Holzinger

„MICAS Africa“

African-German research centre “MICAS Africa” with the participation of the University of Konstanz receives funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

A cross-national centre dedicated to state, democracy and crisis research is being created in West Africa: The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) approves the African-German research centre “MICAS Africa” in Ghana, which is to be established in the context of the “Maria Sibylla Merian International Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences” programme. The University of Konstanz is part of the consortium of five German, one Franco-German and two African research facilities that will join forces as “MICAS Africa” to carry out research into “Sustainable Governance”. The research collaboration will explore various issues around the topics of democracy building, internal conflict and the relationship between environmental conditions, natural resources and social development. The new initiative is coordinated by the University of Freiburg (Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies, FRIAS) and the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute Freiburg. To support “MICAS Africa”, the BMBF provides funding in the amount of 1.7 million euros per year during the preparatory phase (two and a half years) and up to 2 million euros per year for the six-year main phase. The project is envisaged to be continued for a total of twelve years.

During the preparatory phase, the University of Konstanz will organise an international group of fellows to explore the topic of parliaments and democracy in Africa, which will be headed by Professor Katharina Holzinger, professor of international politics and conflict research at the University of Konstanz, as well as Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi (Ghana Center for Democratic Development, CDD) and Dr Anja Osei (University of Konstanz). As early as 2012, Katharina Holzinger initiated a pioneering political science project focusing on political structures in Africa with her Reinhart-Koselleck-Project on “Traditionale Governance und moderne Staatlichkeit” (traditional governance and modern statehood). Democracy researcher Anja Osei was recently awarded an ERC Starting Grant for her comparative study of electoral autocracies in Africa.

The “Maria Sybilla Merian Centre” is a new funding programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Its objective is to foster and help intensify sustainable scientific collaborations between Germany and non-European research locations in sub-Saharan Africa. The main focus of the programme is on the humanities and social sciences. As the BMBF states, a “Maria Sibylla Merian Centre” is also “a visible centre for scientific exchange between the partner countries”. The “Maria Sibylla Merian Centre” seeks to recruit both established top-level researchers and junior researchers from all participating countries.

“MICAS Africa” will start its work in the second half of 2018. From 2019 onwards, it will offer a number of research fellowships, especially for junior researchers. Besides its main office at the University of Ghana in the capital of Accra, “MICAS Africa” will maintain a second facility in Senegal at the Centre de Recherches sur les Politiques Sociales (CREPOS) in Dakar.

“Thanks to the University of Ghana and CREPOS in Dakar joining us, we will be able to call two of the leading West African research facilities our project partners. ‘MICAS Africa’ will enable international joint research at eye level, combine basic and applied research and create a platform for exchange between Europe and Africa”, emphasises Katharina Holzinger, one of the initiators of “MICAS Africa” . 


  • “MICAS Africa”: funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the context of the “Maria Sybilla Merian International Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences”.
  • Funding: 1.7 million euros per year during the two-and-a-half-year preparatory phase, up to two million euros per year during the six-year main phase.
  • Duration: Up to twelve years.

Participating organisations:

  • University of Konstanz, Department of Politics and Public Administration
  • University of Freiburg (Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, FRIAS)
  • Arnold Bergstraesser Institute, Freiburg
  • University of Ghana, Accra (Ghana)
  • Centre de Recherches sur les Politiques Sociales (CREPOS), Dakar (Senegal)
  • Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
  • German Institute of Global and Adrea Studies Hamburg (GIGA)
  • Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris (France)