KNUST Admission Into PHD Degree in Development Studies

By | October 12, 2021

KNUST Admission Into PHD Degree in Development Studies

Call for Applications for Admission into Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Development Studies at KNUST

The Brew-Hammond Energy Centre under the auspices of the College of Engineering, through the School of Graduate studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), is pleased to announce the availability of full funding to pursue a 3-year full time PhD programme in DEVELOPMENT STUDIES.

Project title: Energy struggles: renewable energy in Africa

Funding: The project is funded by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and administered by DANIDA Fellowship Centre

Background of candidate: Ghanaian candidates with background inPlanning, Development Studies, Integrated Development Studies, Geography, Environmental Studies, Social Studies, Sociology, Local Economic Development, Renewable Natural Resources, and any related programmes.

Female candidates are especially encouraged to apply to take advantage of the funding opportunity available.

Funding period: Three academic years, beginning in the 2021/2022 academic year. The scholarship includes study stays at the Denmark Technical University in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Number of places: One (1)

Nationality: Ghanaian


The overall objective of this project is to contribute to a better understanding of how a transition to renewable energy can occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Many countries have set targets for solar and wind, but implementation has been slow and uneven. With rising energy consumption, there is a risk that the continent will become a more significant contributor to climate change. Understanding the difference between targets and the implementation of renewable energy in developing countries is still little developed. In the literature, there has been a tendency to focus on how technical innovation in renewable energy can drive a transition of energy systems. It is, however, increasingly clear that politics and power play a decisive role in the prioritization of energy projects. The project aims to develop a conceptual framework for the study of the political economy of energy that can analyse and help explain how energy projects are prioritized in different countries. It will conduct research on the development of the energy sectors in Tanzania and Ghana, which have both set targets for renewable energy. The two countries differ in the degree of the state’s involvement in their energy sectors, Ghana having liberalized more than Tanzania. The project’s hypothesis is that this difference caters for different dynamics in the energy sectors that decisively influence how an energy transition can occur. The project team intends to use multidisciplinary approaches to undertake research on the relative importance of technological capabilities, state capacity, and policy coalitions in the energy sectors. The project pays particular attention to the role of access to energy services for the poor, which is a priority for both Tanzania and Ghana, as well as for Danish development assistance. The project also aims to provide evidence-based findings that can lead to more informed decision-making in partner countries with regard to the choice of renewable energy technologies.


  1. The overall objective of this project is to contribute to a better understanding of how an energy transition can occur in sub-Saharan African countries.
  2. The research objective is to analyse how new renewable energy is prioritized in policy formulation and implementation in Tanzania and Ghana.
  3. As part of this, the project will develop a conceptual framework for the study of the political economy of energy, which can analyse and help explain the prioritisation of energy technologies and projects in different countries.
  4. The project’s policy objective is the provision of evidence-based findings that can lead to more informed decision-making in partner countries with regard to (i) the factors that are important for the prioritization of different energy technologies, and (ii) how best to promote new renewable energy.
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The PhD candidate at KNUST will work with the project team to answer the following key research question:

  1. What role does the development of technological capabilities play in the prioritisation of energy technologies?
  • To what extent have local firms improved their capabilities in new renewable energy technologies vis-à-vis more established technologies, and how important is this for the prioritization of energy technologies in a country?
  • How have state organisations promoted the building of technological capabilities in different technologies, in particular new renewable energy, and what role, if any, do support structures like training schemes, local content policies, infant industry and domestic market protection play in this?


  • Mapping of markets for major technologies (such as solar PV, hydro and gas), i.e., major foreign and local manufacturers, equipment suppliers and suppliers of sub-components, and related services (including logistics, transport, construction, and operation and maintenance) (survey of industry reports and interviews with key industry informants).
  • In-depth analyses of market developments and capability-building for one niche technology (solar PV) and one conventional technology (hydro or gas) as part of global value chains to identify importance of different actors and transnational linkages in capabilities. Niche development focus on actor network formation, learning processes, experimentation and expectations.
  • Analysis of the role of industry support structures such as local content policies and energy planning for capability development in new renewable and more established energy technologies respectively.  Focus on whether and how local firms in different technologies have improved their capabilities through various types of learning mechanisms, influenced policy coalitions and the extent to which this can explain the choice of technologies in the two countries.
  • Assessment of the capacity of state organisations to facilitate the building of capabilities and integrate new renewable energy technologies into energy systems.


In conformity with the entry requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the successful candidate should have a minimum of:

  • Academic qualifications: Bachelor degree with First or Second Class (Upper Division), and
  • Master’s degree with an average of at least 60% preferably in development studies, human geography, social science and related areas.
  • Age: Not more than 40 years by 31st December, 2021.

In addition

  • Applicants with at least one publication in a journal as first author have an advantage. 
  • Applicants with demonstrated ability to plan and carry out research, including empirical fieldwork, based on qualitative research methods, have an advantage.
  • Applicants must present evidence of current and previous employments, if any.
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  • Purchase the e-voucher based information provided (HERE!) and complete the relevant application documents for the programme.
  • Once the process has been completed, candidates MUST PRINT OUT 2 COPIES of the completed application form from the portal and submit signed copies (by post) to the School of Graduate Studies together with all relevant documents including Photocopies of Certificates, Recommendation Letters, and Transcript to the following address:

The Secretary

School of Graduate Studies



  • ELECTRONIC COPIES of completed application forms and supporting documents should be sent to for application to be considered.
  • Deadline for the submission of application forms is 31st October, 2021.
  • Application forms submitted after the deadline will not be processed.


Completed application form with Two passport photographs

Detailed CV and two letters of reference (one from a supervisor at the Master’s level)

Official transcripts and certificates for BSc and MSc degrees

Soft and hard copies of a letter of motivation (max. 2 pages) with the heading outlining why you want to study, what makes you well-suited to study in your chosen specialisation, current occupation, how the programme will fit into your professional vision, how your (home) country stands to benefit after your training.

Soft and hard copies of a short concept note (max. 3 pages) outlining the research. The concept note should include the title of the study; Problem statement and/or research question; theoretical approach and proposed research methodology.


  • Only applicants given admissions offer by the department are eligible for shortlisting for the scholarship.
  • Candidates who meet the condition above will be screened against a set of criteria and those shortlisted will be invited to an online interview and to present their proposals.
  • The assessment committee will consist of a panel of researchers from KNUST and partner institutions in the Energy Struggles research project. The partners in the research project are the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), UNEP DTU Partnership, University of Ghana (UG), and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organization (STIPRO) in Tanzania.


The Brew-Hammond Energy Centre

3rd Floor Petroleum Building

College of Engineering

KNUST – Kumasi


Telephone: +233 3224 93186

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