Nelson Casimiro Zavale

c:o/re Senior Fellow 12/22–02/24

photo by Jana Hambitzer

Nelson Casimiro Zavale is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), in Mozambique, an affiliate of the African Academy of Sciences. Before joining c:o/re as Research Fellow, he held other positions, notably: Fulbright visiting scholar at CSHE, University of California, Berkeley (2021-2022), Humboldt Research Fellow at INCHER, University of Kassel, in Germany (2018-2021), and as Swiss government excellence post-doctoral fellow (2015-2016) at University of Basel, Switzerland. He has also held managerial positions, such as Director of the UEM Quality Assurance Office.

His research interests focus on sociology of education, higher education, science and innovation studies. He is particularly interested in questioning existing assumptions in Africa (and Global South) about the contribution of higher education, science, technology and innovation to socio-economic development. He published some of his research in Higher Education, Scientometrics, Science and Public Policy, International Journal of Educational Development, Quality in Higher Education.

Alternative approaches to understanding knowledge and technology transfer between academia and non-academic institutions in Global South

With this project, my intention is to achieve two goals. First, to map the state of theory, main findings and intellectual base of research on African higher education (HE) and sciences systems. The rationale for this mapping is that, despite the rapid expansion and complexity of higher education in Africa, there is a lack of analysis of the state of the field. I have recently conducted research in which I seek to fill this gap, by mapping and analyzing HE research targeting all of Africa (Zavale and Schneijderberg, 2022)  including on university-industry linkages (Zavale and Langa, 2018). However, this bulk of reserch was mostly bibliometric and scientometric, i.e., despite including thematic analysis, they mostly provided a quantitative overview of the reviewed literature.  I could not examine the main findings obtained by this literature concerning the diverse aspects of African higher education and science systems. In this project, I intend to provide a comprehensive content-wise picture of this literature and point out cloudy aspects that demand further research. 

Second, my intention is to write a comprehensive research project to empirically test an alternative approach of studying knowledge and technology transfer between academia and non-academic institutions in Global South. I also intend touse my time in Germany to write publications about the research project I am conducting about the relationship between academia and informal actors/marginalized communities in Mozambique.

Publications (selection)

Zavale, Nelson Casimiro. & Schneijderberg, C. 2022. Mapping the field of research on African higher education: a review of 6,483 publications from 1980 to 2019, Higher Education, 83: 199-233.

Zavale, Nelson Casimiro. 2022. Challenges of accreditation in an African university: reflections from the Eduardo Mondlane University, in Mozambique, Quality in Higher Education, 28:2, 236-260,

Zavale, Nelson Casimiro. 2022. Academic freedom in Mozambique: In Lyer, Kirsten R., Saliba, Ilyas and Janika Spannagel (eds.): University Autonomy Decline: Causes, Responses, and Implications for AcademicFreedom,Routledge: London/New York. (Research in Higher Education). 

Zavale, Nelson Casimiro, & Schneijderberg, C. 2021. Academics’ societal engagement in ecologies of knowledge: A case study from Mozambique. Science and Public Policy,  48(1): 37-52.

Zavale, Nelson Casimiro, & Langa, P. V. 2018. University-industry linkages’ literature on Sub-Saharan Africa: systematic literature review and bibliometric account. Scientometrics, 116(1): 1-49.