Next Generation Researchers

NGR members with senior ESDA cosortium members and ESDA secretariat at first NGR meeting in Lusaka.

The Next Generation Researchers Team (NGR) is one of the notable outcomes of the ESDA programme. The NGR was born out of the need to develop the research capacity of young faculty members in the eight universities participating in the ESDA programme. It was envisaged that NGR would play an important role in generating research outputs that would enrich the ESDA masters programmes by providing research informed instructional material and supporting ESDA masters fieldwork. Thus, at the initiative of the ESDA secretariat, eight young faculty members from the consortium converged in Lusaka in 2012 to establish NGR and to develop a framework for working together beyond geographical and disciplinary constraints.

ESDA Membership and Coordination.

The NGR begun with a membership of eight young faculty members from the ESDA partner Universities. These are Divine Fuh (UCT, South Africa), Orleans Mfune (UNZA, Zambia), Jackline Nyerere (KU, Kenya), Alice Odingo (UoN, Kenya), Fadairo Olushola (UI, Nigeria), Gerald Yiran (UG, Ghana), Joana Ameyaw (KNUST, Ghana), Nashiru Sulemana (UDS, Ghana)

From the eight founding members, the NGR Team has expanded to include country teams of between 3 -5 members in each of the eight Universities. Further, in Asia, Dr. Shogo Kudo of the University of Tokyo has taken the lead in linking NGR in Africa with NGR-Asia.

The NGR network is coordinated by the Dr. Emmanuel Mutisya at the ESDA secretariat and chaired by Dr. Orleans Mfune of the University of Zambia. Dr. Orleans Mfune is deputized by Dr. Alice Odinga from the University of Nairobi.

Aims of the NGR

The network is bound together by shared interest in the theme of sustainable development in Africa.  In this regard, the goal of NGR is to develop and implement joint research in sustainable development to compliment the ESDA masters programmes in all the ESDA eight Universities. In addition, NGR provides a platform for knowledge sharing in the theme of sustainable development, not only among young researchers in the eight African universities, but also with other young faculty members in Asia.

NGR field visit to the Kafue Steel Plant in Zambia

The NGR Approach

The NGR approaches its research programmes through inter-university collaboration within the ESDA consortium and partner Universities in Asia such as the Tokyo University. NGR research brings together knowledge and skills from various disciplines to provide a nuanced understanding of sustainability issues in Africa and generate policy relevant outcomes for sustainable development. Like all ESDA programmes, a

notable feature of the NGR research approach is its field based problem solving approach to research which allows NGR to provide technical advice to communities and institutions involved in sustainable development in Africa.

Research sub-themes

NGR’s work on sustainable development focuses on four sub-themes. These are:

  • Gender and Resource Governance
  • Youth unemployment and sustainability
  • Aging and Rural Development
  • Rural-Urban Linkages and Sustainable Development

Current ESDA Activities

Currently, the NGR network is implementing research in rural-urban linkages in the context of a two year project called Promotion of Knowledge Exchange, Creation and Sharing Between Africa and Asia in Support of Africa’s Sustainable Development, funded by the African Development Bank Japan Trust Fund (JTF)’.

The research on rural-urban linkages seeks to identify ways in which various sectors can be used to enhance rural-urban linkages for sustainable development in Africa.  As part of the project, the NGR is:


  • Carrying out field research in various aspects of rural-urban linkages
  • Providing support for fieldwork to ESDA students working on rural-urban linkages themes
  • Participating in the supervision of ESDA students research projects
  • Running research workshops/seminars for ESDA students and other stakeholders on the theme of rural-urban linkages and sustainable development


Expected Outcomes of NGR Research.

 The following are the expected outcomes of the NGR research in rural-urban linkages

  • Production of a book on rural-urban linkages
  • Production of working papers and journal articles
  • Development of instructional materials for NGR


NGR Future Plans

As part of its future plans, the NGR is exploring the development of new research projects in collaboration with the Asia counterparts. One promising project is that being developed by Dr. Shog Kudo in aging and sustainability. In addition, the NGR is exploring the possibility of developing a think tank in sustainable development in Africa that will play the role of generating new sustainable development ideas and advising African governments and other institutions in sustainable development.