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Dr Joana Zozimo

Senior Research Associate, Visiting Researcher

Joana Zozimo

The Management School



Tel: +44 1524 592814

Research overview

Joana is a social scientist and researcher, interested in evaluation practice, African studies, collaborative learning and the use of social practice theory in education and community development.

She has been involved in evaluative research and community projects across the UK, in Portugal, Spain and in various African countries, having lived and worked in Mozambique. Joana was a researcher on REAP in a HEFCE grant and is currently a Research Associate, working on the Global Challenges Research Fund project RECIRCULATE. This interdisciplinar project is an international collaboration to enable African researchers to grow transformational impact through working with, in and for their communities and to develop robust, durable and equitable partnerships with UK researchers.


Joana completed a MA in African Studies at ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon, where her thesis analysed models of societal reinsertion for young offenders in Cape Verde Islands, in the Western Coast of the African continent. She had volunteered in the prisons working with young people across these islands.

Joana has seventeen years extensive experience working with charitable organisations, as a project manager and researcher in educational projects, mainly in Sub-Saharan African countries. From these global experiences, Joana developed a deep interest on holistic and arts-based approaches to evaluation practice. Joana’s doctoral research focused on evaluation practice within development education sector, using social practice theory, and she was successfully awarded her PhD in 2016 by Lancaster University, whilst part-time working as a social researcher.

Her research project involved ethnographic techniques that formed the basis of a longitudinal in-depth case study to make a case for the introduction of holistic and arts-based approaches into funders and policy makers evaluation requests.

Joana presented her work in various conferences (e.g.UK Evaluation Society; IoE UCL, Evidence-based Evaluation approaches to Global Development) and in a Lancaster research seminar entitled ‘What if evaluation takes place seated around the table with a glass of wine?’


Joana’s experience of academic writing led to a more profound interest in well-being approaches to writing when supporting her peers, both in the classroom, in writing groups and through online tutorials for postgraduate students. She did a certified professional qualification as a writing retreat facilitator and delivers healthy writing retreats at Lancaster University (FASS and LUMS) and in other universities in the UK and abroad.

Working and living in Mozambique has led to Joana's passionate interest in the social contexts of African communities and in the multiple challenges they face on various sectors of life. This interest in Africa combined with her research background on evaluation practice were a perfect fit for RECIRCULATE project – a £6.7m funded project by GCRF through Research Councils UK.

A substantial part of the project is to conduct interdisciplinary co-designed research, given that solving global challenges in Africa demands new approaches to research, and to investigate how research is translated to meet the needs of communities across Africa. Recirculate combines excellence in scientific research, social science and management research (entrepreneurial learning and knowledge exchange).

Joana is excited to be part of RECIRCULATE team working at LUMS in work package on entrepreneurship and innovation, to investigate, produce and apply high standard academic research exploring the optimum ‘ecosystem’ for African research institutions to work with, in and for their communities.

Professional Role

Joana volunteered for Global Link Development Education Centre in Lancaster, using her evaluation expertise to contribute to evaluation of global learning and community-based projects with young people and adults.

She consults for development agencies and international consultancies, mainly on evaluation across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Joana also does online tutoring for postgraduate students at UNICAF, and delivers ‘healthy’ structured writing retreats (www.thewritingcottage.com).

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