The John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) has been based in the Division of Peace Studies and International Development (PSID) at the University of Bradford since 2002 and funded by the Allan & Nesta Ferguson Trust since 2005. Its current mission is to support academic and applied research, teaching and knowledge transfer concerning Africa within the University academic theme of Sustainable Societies.
JEFCAS invites colleagues from across the university who are participating in teaching, research or knowledge transfer on issues and processes directly related to Africa and encourages engagement from students particularly at postgraduate level. The centre focuses on rigorous academic work and plays a key role in fostering the research, teaching and knowledge transfer environment in the university through seminars, conferences and student-staff engagement. It stimulates and facilitates publications, knowledge transfer and grant applications. Finally, JEFCAS functions as a national, regional and international centre of excellence and seeks to build on its existing position in networks such as the Yorkshire Africa Study Network and relations with many institutions in Africa such as the African Union and the International Peace-keeping Support Training Centre; sub-regional organisations in Africa, for instance ECOWAS; national and sub-regional police organisations such as the Sierra Leone Police; and numerous universities and research institutes in Africa. It also seeks to encourage researchers and practitioners outside the university to take a role as Associates.
In order to facilitate transparent management and to make informed decisions, the JEFCAS Director is supported by a Management Committee and an Advisory Board.
JEFCAS is a multidisciplinary centre located within the university’s academic theme of Sustainable Societies which supports growth in economic, political and relational well-being for current and future generations through innovative research and teaching and knowledge transfer programmes.
The centre focuses exclusively on Africa and on work in three broad core areas:
- Peace, security and conflict;
- Sustainable development and the environment; and
- Culture and heritage.
Many university disciplines and inter-disciplinary work can be situated within these themes, such as in the following examples:
- International relations – aid, trade, trafficking, relations with old and new world powers, and regional blocs
- Politics – government, democracy, civil society, state reform, security sector reform, and conflict
- Development – aid, trade, governance, health, education, infrastructure, and the environment
- Economics - work, economic growth, poverty reduction, and war economies
- Psychology - war trauma, health and well-being
- Management – Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and counterfeit goods
- Law – Responsibility to Protect, International Humanitarian Law, the International Criminal Court and other tribunals, and International Development Law
- Life Sciences - digital humanitarianism, and forensic post-conflict investigations
- Engineering – water, sanitation, and agriculture
- Archaeology – understanding and protecting architectural and cultural heritage
- Health – good health and well-being
- Gender – cross-cutting all of the above