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Professorial Inaugural Lecture by Professor Divine Kwaku Ahadzie

The Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, through the Public Lectures Committee invites the University Community and the general public to a Professorial Inaugural Lecture scheduled as follows:

Prof. Ahadzie


Topic: “Winning the Real Impact Award: A Reflexive Journey Through Housing, Environment and Community Flood Resilience.”

In this lecture, I am seeking to convince readers and the audience that: it is possible to work as a researcher in a developing country such as Ghana, remain innovative  and globally relevant; the housing industry in Ghana persuades what I call “Elite Supremacy” and require eschewing this notion, if we are to use housing in building an inclusive society; studies in Kumasi suggests, if flood resilience initiatives are to be engendered in our communities, it will require the crucial role of Assemblymen, MPs and Chiefs (APC) acting in common trinity; Accra requires the construction of a large retention basin in the Odaw-Korle Catchment. This could reduce the overall risk by about 30%, translating to a yearly risk reduction of 5.24 million dollars in financial terms.

To this effect, I present an overview of my research over the past 25 years in the housing sector, the impact of the research and how this culminated in winning the 2020 Emerald Real Impact Award. I will first introduce the audience to some theoretical concepts relating to housing and its relation with the environment, what the impact agenda is all about and why it must be of interest to scholars. I will then introduce to the audience, the significance of my PhD research in 2007 and the link it draws from the quantitative perspective between housing and the environment.

Next, I will introduce my post PhD research works as a Research Fellow at KNUST on particularly housing affordability and flood resilience at both the community and property level. I will subsequently highlight on the innovative research approach used for my community engaged research including the use of media friendly articles, blogposts and how these propelled me in winning the Emerald 2020 award.

I will end my lecture by highlighting on the application process for the award and how the judges came to the decision in declaring me the winner.

By way of summary, I will provide my reflections two years on. Implications of the research findings regarding housing, the environment and community flood resilience are discussed including pieces of advice to young scholars on the need to effectively communicate research findings beyond the ivory tower, in reframing knowledge transfer to impact society.

Keywords: community action, environment, flood resilience, housing, research impact



BSc K'si, MSc, Manchester, PhD, Wolverhampton, MGIOC, CMCIH (UK)

Professor of Construction and Human Settlement Development

(Head, Centre for Settlements Studies, KNUST)


Professor Divine Kwaku Ahadzie was born on 10th February 1965 at Ho in the Volta Regional Capital of Ghana to Mr. William Kwadzo Ahadzie and Mrs. Inocentia Nuname Ahadzie (aka Nuname Attipoe).

Prof. Ahadzie started his kindergarten education at the Mercy Baptist School at Anloga-Kumasi, and later transferred to Ayeduase Roman Catholic (R/C) School in 1971. In 1978, he sat and passed the common entrance examination to enter Technology Secondary School, now KNUST Senior High School where he obtained his ‘Ordinary” and “Advanced” level Certificates in 1983 and 1985 respectively. Prof. Ahadzie was among the pioneer sixth formers who did their “A” levels at the KNUST Senior High School.

After his one-year post sixth-form national service at the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), he enrolled at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to read BSc. Building Technology in 1986 and graduated in 1990.  He undertook his post university national service at the Department of Housing and Planning Research, now Centre for Settlements Studies (CSS), which was to carve his career path to this climax we are witnessing here today.

Following his National Service at the CSS, he was appointed a Research Assistant in the same Department, where he later benefited from a British Technical Cooperation Award to study in the UK, in September, 1992. He subsequently proceeded to the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology, (UMIST) where he earned his MSc. in Construction Project Management in 1993, and returned to Ghana in December, the same year.

He was officially appointed a Research Fellow in December 1993 and worked in this capacity until the year 2003, when he proceeded on study leave for his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton-UK, on a Ghana Government Scholarship. Professor Ahadzie's PhD is in the area of Construction and Project Management specialising on Performance Improvement in Mass House Building Projects.

After his PhD studies in 2007, he served as “Lady Wulfrun” Visiting Fellow at the School of Engineering and Built Environment of the University of Wolverhampton for three months and returned to post in March, 2008.

He got promoted to the rank of Senior Research Fellow in August, 2008. In 2015, he earned promotion to the position of Associate Professor and was subsequently promoted to the position of full Professor in 2021.

Prof. Ahadzie has a certificate in University Teaching from the University of Hong Kong. He is a member of the Ghana Institute of Construction and a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing, UK.


Professor Divine Kwaku Ahadzie has served as a former Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Built Environment, KNUST and is currently Head of the Centre for Settlements Studies (CSS). He is also the current KNUST representative on the Council of the Institute of Development and Technology Management (IDTM), Cape Coast and former representative on the Council of Kessben University College.

He has been a member of the College Board for several years, he was a member of the committee that reviewed the criteria for examining postgraduate students at the School of Graduate Studies, KNUST in 2015, and Chairman of the Committee to rationalise the BSc. Tourism and Hospitality programmes in 2019. He has been a member of the KNUST Research Fund Review Committee and also Chairman of the Committee that prepared the Land Allocation Policy for the University. He also prepared the policy document for the Accra Guest House. He has also chaired a number of disciplinary committees that looked into students’ indiscretions on campus.

Professor Ahadzie has taught courses in the Department of Construction Technology and Management, Department of Civil Engineering, Department of Planning, and Department of Architecture at KNUST. Following his research on flood risk management, he has developed an MPhil/PhD programme in Disaster Prevention and Management which is currently receiving attention at the Planning and Resources Committee of the University. He has supervised several postgraduate students including MPhil and PhD candidates both at KNUST and also universities abroad. He has been a PhD external examiner at the Nelson Mandela University-South Africa, University of Dresden in Germany and is also a DIGIFELLOW in the postgraduate programme “Water challenges in a Changing World” for the University of Siegen’s Fellowship for Innovation in Digital Collaborative Academic Teaching (DigiFellows) in Germany.

He led the invention of the Tek Fire Escape louvre-blade Burglar Proof Window which has been endorsed by the Ghana National Fire Service. He has collaborated and won several research grants including the forthcoming BRIDGE project - Building Resilient Communities through Integrating Climate Change Adaptation with the SDGs in University Education and Research (BRIDGE), a partnership between KNUST and RWTH Aachen, Germany and supported with funding from the DAAD. This is a 4-year project set to begin in April 2023 with Professor Ahadzie as the National Coordinator. Under this Project, at least 7 PhD students and 50 junior academic staff will benefit from research exchange programme at RWTH Aachen.


Professor Divine Kwaku Ahadzie has published over 80 academic manuscripts in both local and international outlets, edited two special journal editions for the Emerald Publishing Group, contributed to four book chapters and is currently editing a Handbook on community action in flood risk management for Routledge, Taylor, and Francis. He is also the author of over 20 blog posts relating to his research and other pressing national issues of academic and community interest.

In 2008, he was listed as the 4th most cited author in the International Journal of Project Management. He is the winner of the Emerald Real Impact Award for 2020, making him the first researcher from Africa and a developing country to win the award. Following this, Professor Ahadzie was invited by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Malaysia in conjunction with UCSI University Sarawak, and Emerald Publishing, South East Asia, to be a keynote speaker on the impact agenda at the International Conference on Responsible Tourism and Hospitality, 2021 in Malaysia.

He has also served as a judge for Emerald South East Asia Young Researchers Award in 2021. In two consecutive years, 2021 and 2022 respectively, the World Scientists and University Rankings named Professor Ahadzie amongst the top 50 Researchers at KNUST and 200 in Ghana. He is the regional editor for Africa for the Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, and also a recognised publons reviewer having reviewed over 120 manuscripts for high ranking academic journals, such as the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate and Development, Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Journal of Housing Market and Analysis, Construction Management and Economics, Journal of Urban Planning and Development, Engineering Construction and Architectural Management, International Journal of Real Estate, CITIES and Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering.

In 2017, Professor Divine Kwaku Ahadzie received an accolade from the International Journal of Project Management as an outstanding reviewer. He is also listed as an outstanding reviewer for 2021 for the Journal of Urban Planning and Development of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and has his name printed on the landing page of the institution’s library.

2022 was another remarkable year for Professor Ahadzie as he was recognised by Elsevier for his contributions towards addressing the UN SDGs in his research.

Professor Ahadzie was the brain behind the successful running of the International Conference on Infrastructure Development in Africa (ICIDA) from 2012-2017. In 2008, he helped organised a Doctoral Workshop for the Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM), UK.

He is a former steering committee member of the African Urban Research Initiative (AURI) and has participated in conferences of the network in Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Dar es salaam and Cape town. He has also participated in other conferences in cities such as London, Liverpool, Manchester, Brussels, Abeokuta-Nigeria and Kara-Togo.


Professor Ahadzie has rendered research consultancy services to international organisations such as the World Bank, the World University Services of Canada (WUSC) and UN-Habitat. In 2010, he served as a Construction Industry Analyst for the World Bank funded Ghana Skills and Technology Development Project (GSTDP). In 2011, he was the regional host for the African regional workshop in Accra, Ghana in developing the World Bank Urban Flood Risk Management Handbook for Developing Countries. In 2015, he was consulted for the New York State University/United Nations STERN Urbanization Survey of 200 Global Cities around the World in collecting Land and Housing data on Accra. In 1997, Prof. Ahadzie served as a supervising field consultant with PERD Consult, a Design and Engineering Consultancy Firm on the European Union/ Government of Ghana Micro Projects programme, overseeing community infrastructural projects in over 40 rural communities in Wa, Nadowli and Jirapa-Lambussie districts of the Upper West Region. He served in the same capacity in the year 2000, overseeing over 30 rural infrastructural community projects in Tamale, Savelugu-Nanton, Tolon-Kunbugu and East Gonja Districts of the then Northern region. He also worked as technical supervising consultant with PERD consult on the Kumasi Sanitation Project in the year 2000.

In addition to his broad experience in academic education at the tertiary level and professional practice, he has also been active in providing support at the basic and secondary education level. He is a former governing board member of St. Stephen's Church of England Primary School in Wolverhampton, UK in 2008 and immediate past Board Chairman of the KNUST Senior High School, Ghana. At KNUST Senior High School, he provided leadership in transforming the School from a Day School to a fully-fledged Boarding School and also raising the standard to a top-class co-educational institution in Ghana. He is currently the Vice-Chairman of the School Management Committee at his former Basic School, Ayeduase R/C School. Prof. Ahadzie believes strongly in inclusive and equitable provision of educational facilities as enshrined in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4.


He is married to Mrs. Patience Efuah Ahadzie a teacher at the Gyinyasi Basic School, Kumasi with whom they have three children – Senam (Research Assistant at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, KCCR), Edinam (Software Engineer at Turntabl, Accra) and Adzo (5th year Architecture Student at KNUST) and is a guardian to Emmanuel Johnson Amankwah (4th year Agric-Biotech Student at KNUST).