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The OR Tambo Research Chairs in sub-Saharan Africa

The OR Tambo Africa Research Chairs combine political, development, and higher education objectives. They aim to honour a leading figure in the development of African unity and have a catalytic effect on the development of research infrastructure in recipient countries. By supporting ten Chairs to undertake world-class research in priority areas, the initiative will contribute to producing knowledge and advancing research skills in alignment with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024), and with the development needs of national governments.

The OR Tambo Chairs build on Canadian and South African experiences in using the research chair modality as a catalyst for strengthening their national research systems, such as the Trilateral Research Chairs launched by IDRC and South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2017. The OR Tambo Chairs will empower agencies that are part of the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) funded by IDRC, NRF, and others, to leverage the initiative to significantly expand their national research capabilities, a key component of the SGCI. Each of the ten successful Chairs will be awarded up to US$1 million over five years. The Chairs will focus on training graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as the next generation of research leaders in sub-Saharan Africa.

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 UK’s Department for International Development, and South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Its ultimate goal is nationally led research that contributes to development.

Project ID
Project Status
60 months
IDRC Officer
Ann Weston
Total Funding
CA$ 2,950,000.00
South of Sahara
Education and Science
Education and Science
Foundations for Innovation
Institution Country
South Africa
Project Leader
Aldo Stroebel
National Research Foundation/Nasionale Navorsingstigting