Renewable energy technologies offer many advantages in sub-Saharan Africa, but widespread deployment will require strong endogenous innovation capabilities. Universities in general and doctoral research in particular play a key role in tailoring technologies to local contexts and equipping future educators, policymakers and entrepreneurs with relevant skill sets. This capacity assessment of four sub-Saharan African universities identifies common functional capacity deficits in their renewable energy PhD programmes: (1) highly centralised institutional arrangements, (2) lack of accountability for supervisors, (3) tendency to produce low-impact research, and (4) poor physical infrastructure, particularly internet access. However, this cross-institutional comparison also highlights low-or no-cost capacity-building strategies that are being piloted within the four universities, including joint supervision policies, weekly seminar programmes, the establishment of specialist centres to engage stakeholders and the introduction of internal monitoring processes. These results suggest that, despite limited resource envelopes and with mutual learning, there is substantial scope to enhance the quality of renewable energy doctoral programmes in sub-Saharan African universities.
Colenbrander, S., Lovett, J., Abbo, M. S., Msigwa, C., M’Passi-Mabiala, B., & Opoku, R. (2015). Renewable energy doctoral programmes in sub-Saharan Africa: A preliminary assessment of common capacity deficits and emerging capacity-building strategies. Energy Research and Social Science, 5, 70–77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2014.12.010