SGCI strengthens the capacities of 15 science granting councils across sub-Saharan Africa in order to support research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to economic and social development. It is recognized by policymakers, researchers, and donors as a leading model for building the capacity to fund and manage excellent research for development in Africa. In 2017, the Initiative received a Science Diplomacy Award from the Government of South Africa for its work with public funding agencies across sub-Saharan Africa, as well as several collaborating science and technology policy and practice organizations within and outside Africa.
In addition to building the capacity of councils, the new funding will enable participating councils to access funds to administer research calls in partnership with one another, providing opportunities to apply their enhanced skills. Currently the SGCI supports the capacity of councils to:
- Manage research
- Design and monitor research programs, and to formulate and implement policies based on the use of robust science, technology, and innovation indicators
- Support knowledge transfer to the private sector and establish partnerships between councils for research competitions and other activities
- Build networks among councils and with other science system actors
In addition to supporting these four themes, the new partnership with Sida will add two new cross-cutting themes, namely research excellence and gender equality and inclusivity. Councils will be supported to consider how the research they fund can be gender-transformative and inclusive, as well as how their grant-making policies and practices can empower women scientists and those from marginalized communities.
The Science Granting Councils Initiative began as a five-year, CA$13.9 million initiative jointly funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, South Africa’s National Research Foundation, and IDRC.