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Strengthening the research management capacity of Africa’s science granting councils

Science granting councils are central to funding and catalyzing research and innovation. A recent scoping study supported by IDRC underscored the important role of these councils in national science systems in sub-Saharan Africa. However, that study also identified several challenges facing these councils, including a limited capacity to manage research. Effective research management (at both strategic and operational levels) is a critical element in ensuring that research investments contribute to development outcomes.

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.

The project will involve customized training courses, on-site coaching and online support to individual councils, exchange visits and mentorship to enable peer-to-peer learning among councils, and knowledge exchange during annual forums. This will strengthen the councils’ capacity to: manage research; design and monitor research programs based on the use of robust indicators; support knowledge exchange with the private sector; and establish partnerships with other science system actors. Implementation of this project is expected to contribute to the goals of the African Union’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024.

This project will be implemented over 42 months by the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association, the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities in London.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
42 months
IDRC Officer
Ellie Osir
Total Funding
CA$ 1,348,480.00
South of Sahara
Foundations for Innovation
Foundations for Innovation
Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa
Institution Country
South Africa
Project Leader
Yogi Naik
Southern African Research & Innovation Management Association



Building sustainable research management capacity in science granting councils in Sub-Saharan Africa (SRMinSGC) : final technical report