By Mary Hearty

The Association of African Universities have partnered with the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) to implement the second phase of the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) research management project.

The project that is funded by four organizations including Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) is expected to strengthen the capacities of Africa’s Science Granting Councils (SGCs).

As a result, this will enable the Councils to work effectively and efficiently in research, knowledge acquisition and innovation through training, technical support and peer to peer learning.

“The overall goal of the project is to fortify the capability of SGCs in explicit areas of research management, namely research excellence, research ethics, emerging scientific practices and development of online grant management systems” Prof Jonathan Mba, Director of Research and Academic Planning at the AAU said.

Moreover, the AAU and its partner is committed to working closely with the SGCs to achieve ‘Research Excellence’ as reflected in their 2020 -2025 strategic plan.

For instance, the AAU prioritizes closer engagement with national policy systems in African Countries, whilst the AAS Strategy emphasizes strengthening of African institutions to become excellent and adaptable to proven needs.
“Our participation in this project is to complement our efforts to address systemic gaps in the broad research ecosystem so as to create and sustain research environments that enable research to flourish,” Allen Mukhwana, Research Systems Manager at the AAS noted.

The project that is implemented in 15 sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, among others, will support the development of research and evidence-based policies to facilitate economic and social development on the continent.

Africa’s SGCs are key players and strategic partners in improving the continent’s scientific research outputs and achieving continental policy initiatives.

Like the African Union’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024), and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025 (CESA 16-25).

It is therefore critical that their capacity in research management is regularly built in areas where gaps have been identified.

With strengthened capacities in research management, SGCs in Africa will better play their crucial roles as integrators and brokers of knowledge within their national systems of innovation.