Project Duration: 2023-2025
Grantor: International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicholas Ozor; Executive Director, African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS);
Co-PI: Prof. Peter Azikiwe Onwualu; Acting President, African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, Nigeria
Grant Amount: US$ 729,320
The Science Granting Councils (Councils) play critical and strategic roles in supporting research and innovation that contribute to the social and economic development of any country. The Councils are charged with the responsibility of research funding, quality assurance, policy and decision-making, knowledge exchange, and training/capacity building of the science system actors to ensure that outputs from the research and innovation endeavours are used to inform policy and practice. Given this important role, and in view of the dynamic nature of research and innovation developments, their capacity to perform these responsibilities to achieve desired goals needs to be continuously strengthened. Compared to other regions in Africa, only a few countries in West Africa have established agencies responsible for research and innovation funding. The Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is providing support that will strengthen the national research and innovation funding agencies in West Africa. This project aims to strengthen the national research and innovation funding agencies where they already exist (Burkina Faso, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire) to improve their performances as well as support the development of institutional frameworks/mechanisms for the development of new research and innovation funding agencies in countries where they do not currently exist (Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone).
This project will be implemented by African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and its partner, the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) working together in a joined-up approach with other Collaborating Technical Agencies (CTAs) to provide the requisite training and technical support to strengthen the national research and innovation funding agencies or their equivalents in the six participating West African countries. To achieve this, the project team has developed three interrelated but distinct Work Packages (WPs) namely: Situational analyses and needs assessment of the research and innovation funding ecosystem in the six participating countries (WP1); Training and Technical support for strengthening the national research and innovation funding agencies where they already exist (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal) (WP2); and Technical support for developing institutional frameworks and mechanisms for establishing new research and innovation funding agencies (Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) (WP3). The methodology and approaches for operationalising the WPs are informed by the best practices and joint wealth of experience of the consortium partners in undertaking similar assignments for four decades and the benchmarking of performance standards in research and innovation funding in Africa and beyond. It is expected that the series of activities (training and technical support) that will be provided by the project team will lead to improved capacity of Council staff to effectively carry out their functions and mandates, especially in research and innovation funding. It is also expected that the process of establishing new research and innovation funding agencies will be kick-started in countries where they do not already exist using the institutional frameworks/mechanisms that will be developed under WP3. Furthermore, there will be an increased opportunity for Councils and emerging Councils to collaborate, share knowledge and network through a community of practice (COP) that will be established along the research and innovation funding ecosystem in the target region.
The overall goal of this project is to provide training and technical support that will strengthen the national research and innovation funding agencies in six selected West African countries namely, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Specifically, the project aims to: