Since its establishment in the 1980s, OSSREA has been promoting its intellectual agenda through conducting research in various areas of social sciences. As part of its five year strategic plan – 2010 – 2014, OSSREA has now developed research themes that are grouped under five research clusters and focus on theoretical, methodological and policy alternatives. The themes are based on the vision of OSSREA and will be pursued within the framework of OSSREA’s main objectives: generating and disseminating of knowledge in social sciences; as well as promoting dialogue and interaction between social scientists and policy makers in Eastern and Southern Africa with a view of enhancing the impact of social science research on policy making and development planning.
The identified research themes are centred on various development and governance issues that need the attention of policy-makers and scholars in Eastern and Southern Africa. The issues, inter alia, include poverty, employment, migration, HIV/AIDs, health, education, natural resources, climate change, gender, governance, rural development, corruption, land use, etc. Around each of these research themes, OSSREA will encourage comparative research within the countries in the region (south-south) and outside the region (north-south) to unearth ‘what works best or bad’, ‘how’ and ‘why’. It will also support innovative methodologies that allows prudent and scientific collection, analysis and interpretation of empirical data; promote theoretical and conceptual reflections that blends thinking of African intellectuals and other scholars in the rest of the world; and press on discovering policy alternatives to address development and governance deficits in the region.
In the process of knowledge creation and dissemination, OSSREA will follow a combination of research modalities. These include a) commissioning young and/or senior researchers in African higher education and research institutions to conduct researches, either in group or independently. B) creating network and partnership with universities and research institution outside Africa, especially in the global south, to create north-south research teams c) work with research institutions or planning and research bodies of government institutions to link research and policy; and d) perform collaborative research with non-government and private sector institutions. OSSREA will disseminate the research results in workshops and other fora involving researchers, technical executives in government and political executives (policy makers). Moreover, research reports, policy briefs, which entail advocacy for policy reforms, as well as scientific publications that will be developed and widely disseminated.
The following are the research clusters and themes.