Science Granting Councils: An Exploration of Policies and Practices for Building Research Capacity
How low- and middle-income countries support public science has a direct bearing on researchers' ability to generate knowledge, and affects how organizations adapt or apply such knowledge. Although some low- and middle-income countries invest considerable resources in building scientific capacity, the majority have weak scientific capacity. But, there are signs of change in how governments support and promote public science. New science granting councils, new directions, and new partnerships merit further investigation. For example, countries such as Panama have created new agencies to fund science and innovation. In the face of change, other countries, such as Egypt and others affected by the Arab Spring, are rethinking their existing science policies and support instruments. Finally, countries with significant scientific capabilities such as South Africa, Brazil, and China may begin or increase support to scientific research outside their borders. This project seeks to better understand these recent developments and to promote learning among science granting councils to strengthen practices and promote cooperation. In support of this, IDRC will facilitate regional and inter-regional workshops. The goal is to allow peer organizations to exchange ideas on topics of mutual interest. Representatives from science granting councils will have the chance to exchange information on thematic programming, discuss operational and strategic challenges, and explore areas for collaboration. All activities will support IDRC's long-standing mandate of encouraging research coordination and fostering cooperation. Expected outcomes of the project include studies, meeting reports, and identification of potential areas for collaboration and provide evidence to inform how national governments and international development agencies support science, technology, and innovation.