COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge that requires a global response informed by evidence. On the African continent, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the African Union are leading a continental response to COVID-19. At the national level, African governments have launched efforts to promote prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Public funding agencies and science granting councils are complementing these continental and national efforts by supporting research and research-related activities.

This project supports the COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund, which will support research and science engagement projects across seventeen countries through a competitive, peer-reviewed call for research. The funding opportunity invites African researchers, science communicators, and science advisers to submit proposals on the following topics: the COVID-19 virus in Africa; prevention and control; African health governance systems; socio-cultural dynamics of transmission; science engagement; the impact of COVID-19 on individual and community mental health; and vulnerability. The Fund will support up to ninety projects over a 24-month period with the goal of strengthening the evidence base for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and future pandemics. Moreover, the Fund will strengthen national and regional capacity to collaborate and respond to future shared challenges.

The Africa Rapid Grant Fund was jointly established by IDRC, South Africa’s National Research Foundation and its Department of Science and Innovation, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and UK Research and Innovation through the Newton Fund, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec. The fifteen African agencies involved in the Science Granting Councils Initiative in sub-Saharan Africa are providing additional support.

Project ID


Project status



31 months

IDRC Officer

David O'Brien

Total funding

CA$ 4,413,700


Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South of Sahara, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe


Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa, Foundations for Innovation

Project Leader

Aldo Stroebel


National Research Foundation/Nasionale Navorsingstigting

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website