NELGA facilitates various applied research studies and contributes to the publication of key knowledge products; for example, in partnership with the World Bank, NELGA members carry out Land Governance Assessments (under the LGAF framework) in eleven countries. It has contributed to a comprehensive diagnostic of the legal and institutional framework and shed light on aspects of land use planning, management and taxation, public land management, public provision of land information and dispute resolution/conflict management in the eleven countries. A similar exercise has been conducted across Southern Africa, in the context of a so-called regional scoping study called ‘Land Governance in Southern Africa’. In each southern African country, NELGA members have conducted an in-depth assessment of the land sector, focusing on the legal framework of land tenure, the existing dispute resolution mechanisms, and valuation and taxation, etc. It has helped identify key bottlenecks in the area of land governance across Southern Africa. In another flagship initiative, NELGA members carried out studies that addressed ways of better integrating land governance aspects in the national investment strategies, thus contributing to the review of the National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIP) of eight African Union member within the framework of the AUDA-NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

NELGA has also created the African Journal on Land Policy & Geospatial Sciences (AJLP & GS), a journal that publishes research activities in the field of geospatial sciences and land governance. It aims to encourage innovation and promote the exchange of knowledge and scientific outcomes related to its themes. The journal’s target community comprises researchers, professors and media professionals. The journal also aims to promote scientific articles and productions regionally, as well as throughout Africa and worldwide.

Moreover, NELGA encourages its member universities to undertake a more applied approach to research by, for example, fostering dialogue with policy makers, ministries, CSOs and implementing agencies, etc. NELGA member universities can thus define their research agenda on a demand-driven and participatory basis. Mechanisms are also in place to further encourage the younger researchers of NELGA to become actors of applied knowledge creation, notably through the NELGA research fellowship.