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