Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


About us

‘Thinking about Africa differently’

Despite the procession of grim media imagery, 21st Century Africa is experiencing unprecedented economic growth and emerging as a hub for telecommunications, renewable energy, artistic creativity and a host of other innovations. At UCL we aim to promote a holistic vision of Africa guided by innovation, interdisciplinarity, collaboration and the co-production of knowledge. 

The UCL African Studies Research Centre (ASRC) was established in 2015 as a new focus for Africanist research and engagement across the university. The ASRC sits within UCL's Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS),With over 35 academics, UCL has one of the largest communities of full-time, permanent Africanist researchers in the UK. Our expertise extends across the continent and a wide range of disciplines, with particular focus on anthropology, archaeology, geography, global health, development planning, history and education. This breadth is exemplified by our wide-ranging steering committee, who participate in our teaching and planning, and by our vibrant programme of events and seminars. Some of these events are convened jointly with the Royal African Society and other partners.

We leverage this research expertise in the development of research links with African institutions, with a view to enabling the next generation of Africanist scholars, media people, policy makers and leaders in various fields. We aim to transcend narrow disciplinary boundaries and produce research and teaching that address the complex realities, potentialities and challenges of contemporary Africa. We further recognise the deep social and intellectual inequalities that have often existed in the study of Africa. We are committed to bridging these through truly collaborative partnerships with African scholars and institutions. 

Our Vision for Research: World-class collaborations

We recognize the structural imbalances that have often existed between researchers in the Global North and Global South. We are committed to breaking down these inequalities through fully collaborative world-leading research. We aim to partner with scholars and institutions on the continent to develop novel research programmes driven by jointly developed agenda with contemporary relevance. As we move beyond the Millennium Development Goals and towards the more holistic Sustainable Development Goals, we emphasise the need to work in close partnership with African leaders and institutions to develop responses to global challenges. For more information, please visit our research pages.