British Council UK-SA Project


Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) - RSA and British Council - UK


5,000,000 ZAR (£285,000)


Project Leads

Dr Ferdie Gerber (Bid coordinator for Walter Sisulu University), Professor Katherine Wimpenny (Bid coordinator for Coventry University), Professor Liezel Frick (Bid coordinator Stellenbosch University)

Strategic Project Sponsor

Prof. Victor Mtetwa, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Walter Sisulu University


Dr Marta Vizcaya Echano (Doctoral Provision Advisor), Dr Virginia King (Coventry University, UK), Professor Peter Rule, Ms Dorothy Stevens (Head of Postgraduate Office, Stellenbosch University); Professor Wilson Akpan (WA Research Director), Dr Zanoxolo Gobingca (Dean Faculty of Education), Professor Nolutho Diko (Dean Faculty of Education), Ms Bulelwa Mkabile (Acting Dean: Faculty of Education and School Development), Mr Cawe Novukela (Dean Faculty of Business Sciences, Walter Sisulu University)


Walter Sisulu University, University of Stellenbosch and Coventry University.

Project Objectives

This project is a collaboration between Walter Sisulu University, Coventry University and Stellenbosch University. The project is focused on enhancing staff doctoral capacity training and expertise for underrepresented groups in South Africa. The fundamental objectives of this project consist of (1) promoting the recruitment of Black (African, Coloured and Indian) and female academic staff, and (2) facilitating the support and progress selected staff in their respective fields to obtain Doctoral qualifications. This will be particularly useful as all three institutions, Coventry University, Walter Sisulu University and Stellenbosch University, will be able to share supervisory expertise and develop awareness, insight and understanding of each institution’s best supervision practices and strategies. Staff Doctorate candidates will also be exposed to a range of expert knowledge, supervisory guidance and mentorship and be placed in a good position to draw on all resources available at the partner institutions. This will facilitate effective support mechanisms, allowing Staff Doctorate candidates to successfully complete their research in the stipulated time-frame.

Impact Statement

This action-based project will take a holistic view of Doctoral Education space at all three partner institutions, seeking especially to promote the number of Black female staff holding doctoral qualifications, particularly from historically disadvantaged institutions.
This will aim to ensure a more even representation of women Doctorate holders in the South African higher education sphere and also to equip and empower black women with the necessary research skills to advance their career trajectory in the academic space.

Whilst we already have partnership agreements with Stellenbosch University, as part of our commitment to our partnership with WSU, a Memorandum of Understanding between our two universities was signed on 24 June 2019 by Professor Robert Midgely the Vice Chancellor of WSU and Professor Richard Dashwood (photograph) Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Coventry University.

Professor Robert Midgely and Professor Richard Dashwood.

Group of delegates sat behind Professor Robert Midgely and Professor Richard Dashwood

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