Astghik Sahakyan detects Africa scholars for the NARN database.

Linking Africa researchers in a new database

The Nordic Africa Research Network (NARN) is a network that aims to increase cooperation between African researchers in the Nordic region. NARN is currently mapping all the people and organisations involved in Africa research in the Nordic countries in order to create a database accessible for its members.

“The idea is that a researcher quickly can get in touch with a colleague. It may be to cooperate on a project to apply for research grants together. Conference organisers can easily get information about who to invite. The database will also provide an overview of what research on Africa is currently being conducted in the Nordic countries. There will be a lot of different ways to search; countries, themes, as well as names and organisations”, NAI intern Astghik Sahakyan explains.

Her main task has been to find the information for the database – at times it has needed a bit of detective work. In parallel with the NARN assignment, she has written her Master's thesis in European studies at Lund University.

"In the autumn another intern will compile all the data I've found and, together with an IT specialist, complete the digital platform", Sahakyan says.

NARN is waiting until everything is up and running before publicising the database. It is easier to showcase a product already in operation, she points out, rather than telling people about something that is going to happen soon. After the launch, NARN will need to continuously update the information.

“For instance, by sending surveys to institutes and individual researchers to fill out. If researchers are to use the database, all information must be correct and relevant”, Sahakyan says.

TEXT: Johan Sävström

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