Dr Simon Heap has been awarded the inaugural Britain-Nigeria Educational Trust Commonwealth Fellowship at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

The Fellowship, which has been made possible by a donation from the Britain-Nigeria Educational Trust to the CSFP 50th anniversary endowment fund, makes Simon the first UK citizen to hold a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship in Nigeria in nearly 20 years.

Dr Simon HeapSimon is really excited to be the first Britain-Nigeria Educational Trust Commonwealth Fellow, and hopes to fully fulfil the remit of the fellowship in working with students and staff, delivering classes and lectures, and working in partnership with librarians to add key texts to the library. He also aims to spend time in the archives and on field trips to places like Lagos, Calabar, and Enugu to conduct further research.

Until recently, Simon was the Global Research Portfolio Coordinator at Plan International, an NGO working to improve the lives of children around the world – a post he held for over seven years.

Born in Lancaster, Simon studied History at the University of Cambridge and then a Master’s in Area Studies (Africa) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Funded by a Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship, Simon then decided to study the history of alcohol in Nigeria, in Nigeria itself. He studied at the University of Ibadan full-time between 1990 and 1996; his PhD thesis was on ‘The liquor trade and the Nigerian economy, 1880-1939’.

Simon has published articles on the import, transport, regulation, and manufacture of liquor in Nigeria, as well as a variety of other subjects such as NGO-business relations, civil society, Central Asia, water and sanitation, birth registration, HIV, and juvenile delinquency.

Since 2004, Simon has been the voluntary editor of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) quarterly newsletter.