Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa


Welcome to the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA)! MIASA was created in 2018 at the College of Humanities at the University of Ghana, Legon campus. It is based on a collaboration between the University of Ghana and a consortium of German partners – the University of Freiburg, Goethe University Frankfurt, the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), and the German Historical Institute Paris (DHIP).

MIASA is dedicated to the topic of ‘Sustainable Governance’. We define 'governance' as the interplay of informal and formal rules for steering public affairs, embedded in historically contextualized social, material and cultural practices of everyday life. MIASA’s three research foci are: sustainable environmental transformation, sustainable conflict management, and sustainable democracy. The Institute also covers intersectional topics like landownership and acquisition, migration and mobility, restitution of colonially acquired cultural objects, African cities, and human rights. 

MIASA offers fellowships for senior and junior postdoctoral researchers from the Humanities and Social Sciences. MIASA’s programmes are funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), with cofunding from the University of Ghana.

Overarching aims of MIASA are working towards a reduction of global asymmetries in knowledge production and bridging the cultural divide between anglophone and francophone Africa. MIASA will serve as a hub for exchange, networking and collaboration amongst leading researchers from Ghana, Germany, the African and European continents and beyond.

Besides its fellowship programme MIASA organizes a broad range of events, including thematic conferences (in Ghana and other African countries), policy conferences, the Annual Anton Wilhelm Amo Lecture, as well as workshops for early career researchers from Africa such as Writing Workshops, Publishing Workshops and Female Academic Careers in Africa Workshops. 

Key findings of MIASA’s research are published in the institute’s working paper series (available on UGSpace), on MIASA’s academic blog and as external papers in peer reviewed journals and books.