Dr Sam Fongwa is a Senior Research Specialist in the Inclusive Economic Development (IED) Division at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), based at the Pretoria Office. He joined the HSRC as a Post-doctoral research fellow in 2016. Dr Fongwa?s research expertise is cross-disciplinary to include areas of Higher education studies and development studies. This transdisciplinary theme focuses on, inter alia, research linking universities to regional and spatial development, skills development, graduate outcomes. Other research interest includes state of small and medium sized enterprises. His work has applied both qualitative and quantitative research approaches, using a wide range of conceptual and theoretical lenses including Classical Theories of Development, Innovation Systems thinking, Capability Approach and human development framing, Human Capital theory, Ubuntu amongst others.
Dr Fongwa obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Geology from the University of Buea, Cameroon, before obtaining a BA Honours in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape (UWC). He also earned a PhD in Development Studies from the University of the Free State (UFS). Prior to his doctoral degree, he obtained a Master of Higher Education Studies (Cum Laude) from the UWC as part of an exchange programme with the University of Oslo.
Prior to joining the HSRC, Dr Fongwa was a researcher / Post-doctoral fellow at the then Centre for Researching Higher Education and Development at UFS. Dr Fongwa also served as Senior Research Officer at the UFS?s Directorate for Institutional Research and Academic Planning as one of the research team which conducted a review of higher education in the SADC countries. Dr Fongwa was part of the HERANA project network across Africa focusing on the role of higher education in development across eight African countries. Since his first academic publication in 2012, Dr Fongwa has accumulated more than twenty academic publications including a co-authored book, chapters in books, peer-reviewed journal articles in international journals and academic reports. Dr Fongwa is currently co-editing a book manuscript titled The Role of Universities in Society: Mapping University-Community Engagement in Secondary Cities.
Dr Fongwa has been part of several large-scale multi-country projects as well as national projects. As part of his post-doc duties at UFS, he was the research on a British Council-funded project tracking graduates? outcome across four South African universities. The project resulted to a co-authored book titled Universities, Employability and Human Development. He was part of two collaborative projects between the NRF and ESRC across four African countries and the UK. Dr Fongwa has also co-led two projects for the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions and currently managing an NRF project on the role of Universities in development with the Sol Plaatje University as a case study.