New research chairs program will expand research and innovation in Africa

December 11, 2018
University students sit in a science lab in Nairobi, Kenya.

Photo: Edith Amuhaya

IDRC and South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) are pleased to announce a new research chairs initiative that is set to transform the African research landscape.

The OR Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative, named after Oliver Reginald Tambo, the pre-eminent South African leader and advocate of science and technology, will support up to 10 top researchers from across Africa over the next five years.

The Initiative has been designed to honour a leading figure in the development of African unity; to make an important impact on the development of research infrastructure in recipient countries; and to contribute to knowledge production and high-end skills in alignment with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa.

Through international and regional strategic partnerships, the Chairs will contribute to the development of long-term mutually beneficial research collaborations on the continent. They will focus on world-class research in diverse fields and on training graduate students at leading universities in the 15 sub-Saharan African countries that make up the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI), a collaboration between IDRC, NRF, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the UK’s Department for International Development.

The application and selection process will be conducted using a two-phase approach coordinated by NRF, which will also manage the Chairs once awarded. The call for institutional expressions of interest is being launched in December 2018 and the call for detailed chair-holder applications will be launched in May/June 2019. Councils participating in SGCI are expected to play a key role in the research and grants management, implementation, and sustainability of the Chairs.

This exciting new research and development collaboration builds on Canada’s and South Africa’s extensive experience in supporting research chairs, including the South Africa-Canada trilateral research chair program led by IDRC and NRF.

Read the call for institutional expressions of interest for the OR Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative.