Founded in 2008, the GGDDS is built on five pillars:

1. PhD program in development studies

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Development Studies seeks to provide highest level scholarship to individuals involved in different aspects of activities that promote the advancement/betterment of society (in Ghana and elsewhere). It is also geared towards the greater fulfilment of the well-being of individuals, groups and societies at large.

Teachers/lecturers, researchers, development workers, NGO leaders, health and political leaders are some of the persons this course seeks to target. The PhD programme is also directed at middle and upper level policy makers and development practitioners as well as university graduates with an excellent academic record.

Every year, seven sponsored students are admitted to the programme after a competitive screening process. Self-funding students can also join the programme, if qualified.

The programme starts with a course work focusing on development theories, research methodologies and provides training in managerial and professional skills. After the course work, the students visit Germany in order to interact with development researchers at the Centre for Development Research (ZEF), review their literature and work on their research proposals. In the second year, students will be required to undergo practical training in research work. The remaining years will be used to work on their thesis and submit them for assessment.


2.Staff  Development

Staff development activities for senior staff include specialized training courses and lectures, research visits, the organization of scientific workshops and conference participation, both in Ghana and Germany. Capacity-building activities, as well as shared development of curricula and teaching in the PhD programme have led to the exchange of knowledge and experiences amongst the institutes, and contributed directly to the development of staff capacity and high academic standards.

3.Enhanced research infrastructure at the University of Ghana

The scientific infrastructure of ISSER has been greatly improved in order to create the right conditions for advanced education. Key amongst them is the Students’ offices which have been renovated and equipped, the purchase of essential and current literature and enhanced IT facilities.

The purchase and maintenance of important statistical and econometric software are helping to develop ISSER’s software training facilities.


The development of joint research proposals is an essential part of the strategy to safeguard the future viability of the Centre for Development Studies. The idea is to attract research funds provided for development research from international (development oriented) organizations and German development organizations in Ghana.

5.Academic exchange and networking

Academic networks between Ghana and Germany have been established through frequent research visits by ISSER scientists to Germany and through short-term lecture stays by German scientists in Ghana. The aim of developing joint research projects will give these networks additional impetus and will spark intensive disciplinary and methodological exchanges. African academic networks are being strengthened through visits by scientists from Ghanaian, partner institutes, as well as from other African Centres of Excellence.

Similarly, capacity-building training courses and individual training modules within the PhD course structure will be open to members of partner institutions.

Most importantly, however, Ghanaian and African partner institutes are invited to name candidates who will be enrolled in the PhD programme if they meet the enrolment requirements. Alumni of the PhD course in Development Studies will remain affiliated to the Centre for Development Studies; they will be invited to the annual workshops and may become part of research projects that the Centre wants to attract in cooperation with ZEF.