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Strengthening partnerships among Africa’s science granting councils and with the private sector

Science granting councils are central to funding and catalyzing research and innovation. A recent scoping study supported by IDRC underscored the important role of these councils in national science systems in sub-Saharan Africa. However, that study also noted that most councils are pursuing their efforts in isolation, with very few mechanisms for sharing knowledge and learning with sectoral councils or other important actors, such as universities and the private sector. By fostering effective private sector knowledge transfer, councils can ensure that research investments contribute to social and economic development.

The overall goal of this project is to strengthen the capacity of ten participating science granting councils in sub-Saharan African countries to establish partnerships with each other, and to foster knowledge transfer to the private sector. The project will support regional training courses and on-site coaching to strengthen the capacity of participating councils to design and manage collaborative agreements. It will also co-fund demand-led collaborative research projects in selected areas of interest to the private sector. Sharing of evidence, lessons learned and best practices among participating councils will be supported through the initiative’s virtual hub, mentorships and meetings. Implementation of this project is expected to contribute to the goals of the African Union’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024.

This project will be implemented over 38 months by the African Centre for Technology Studies in collaboration with the Kenya-based Scinnovent Centre, the Association of African Universities, and the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organization in Tanzania. It is funded through the Science Granting Councils Initiative in sub-Saharan Africa, which 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. It was developed jointly by IDRC, the United Kingdom’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
End Date
38 months
IDRC Officer
Ellie Osir
Total Funding
CA$ 3,762,060.00
South of Sahara
Foundations for Innovation
Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa
Institution Country
Project Leader
Rebecca Hanlin
African Centre for Technology Studies