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Strengthening Africa’s science granting councils as champions of indicators in public policy making

Science granting councils are central to funding and catalyzing research and innovation, particularly in national science systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The availability of reliable indicators—to monitor Africa’s scientific and technological developments, implement science policies and strategies, track public investment in science, and monitor technological trends—is critical for their work. However, a scoping study supported by IDRC demonstrated that there is limited capacity in this region to contribute to public policy through the use of science, technology, and innovation indicators.

The goal of this Science Granting Councils Initiative project is to strengthen the capacity of science granting councils in 12 sub-Saharan African countries to design and monitor research programs, and to formulate and implement policies based on the use of robust indicators. Specifically, it will strengthen their ability to develop, collect, analyze and disseminate indicators relevant to science, technology and innovation (STI) policies; develop and use indicators for assessing STI policy relevance and advocating for increased research and development investments; design and monitor research programs by developing a guide to best practices; champion the appreciation and use of indicators in public policy decisions; and contribute to monitoring and evaluation by collecting data that informs the results, review, and reflection workshops held during annual meetings and forums.

The capacity strengthening approach will be a participatory one involving customized regional training courses, on-site coaching for individual councils, peer-to-peer learning among councils, and knowledge exchange during annual learning forums. Implementation of this project is expected to contribute to the goals of the African Union’s science, technology, and innovation strategy for Africa 2024, particularly with regards to mobilizing investments for science.

The project will be implemented over 42 months by a consortium led by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency, and the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators of the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa.

The Science Granting Councils Initiative in sub-Saharan Africa aims to strengthen the capacities of science granting councils to support research and evidence-based policies that contribute to economic and social development. The initiative’s activities include training, regional exchanges and forums, online training, on-site coaching, and collaborative research.

The initiative was developed jointly by IDRC, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, and South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Its ultimate goal is nationally-led research that contributes to development.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
42 months
IDRC Officer
Ellie Osir
Total Funding
CA$ 1,877,349.00
South of Sahara
Foundations for Innovation
Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa
Institution Country
South Africa
Project Leader
Aggrey Ambali
African Union Development Agency - NEPAD



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