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Strengthening the Capacity of Africa’s Science Granting Councils in Research Management

Release date: 17th August, 2020

Africa faces some of the world’s greatest development challenges and its research capacity is not yet sufficient to meet them. Improving
research management within institutions is crucial, if research and innovation is to underpin social and economic development in Africa.

The Association of African Universities (AAU) is collaborating with the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) to implement the second phase of the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) Research Management Project which will strengthen the capacities of Africa’s Science Granting
Councils to play their essential roles effectively and efficiently in research, knowledge generation and innovation through training, technical support, and peer-to-peer learning.

Building on the success of the first phase of the SGCI, the Research Management Project is being implemented in 15 sub Saharan African countries, specifically in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, and Rwanda. The project will support the development of research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to economic and social development on the continent.

“The overall goal of the project is to fortify the capability of Science Granting Councils in explicit areas of research management, namely research excellence, research ethics, emerging scientific practices (especially open data, open access and scientific citizenship) and development of online
grant management systems”
said Prof Jonathan Mba, Director of Research and Academic Planning at the AAU.

“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.” said Allen Mukhwana, Research Systems Manager at the AAS.

Africa’s Science Granting Councils are key players and strategic partners in improving the continent’s scientific research outputs and achieving continental policy initiatives such as 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, Science Granting Councils in Africa will better play their crucial roles as integrators and brokers of knowledge within their national systems of innovation.

The SGCI is a multi-funder initiative that is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), South Africa’s National Research
Foundation (NRF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG).
The Association of African Universities and the African Academy of Sciences are strongly committed to working closely with the Science Granting Councils to achieve ‘Research Excellence’ as reflected in their strategic plans. The AAU’s 2020 -2025 Strategic Plan, for instance, 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.

The Association of African Universities
The Association of African Universities (the project lead) is an international non-profit, nongovernmental organization created by African Universities to promote cooperation among them on the one hand, and between them and the international academic community on the other.
Created in 1967, the AAU is the voice of higher education in Africa. AAU aims to improve the quality of African higher education, and to strengthen its contribution to Africa’s development by supporting the core functions of higher education institutions and facilitating critical reflection and
consensus building on issues affecting higher education. It is headquartered in Accra, Ghana, has a membership of more than 400 HEIs and has three regional offices – North Africa Regional Office (NARO) in Cairo, Egypt; East Africa Regional Office (EARO) in Khartoum, Sudan; and
North America Office (NAMO) in Washington DC, USA. The Association is the technical implementing arm of the African Union in higher education – with coverage and mandate across the language divide of Africa. We have influence in the francophone, anglophone, lusophone and arabophone regions. The AAU is the coordinating agency of the Higher Education Cluster of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) of the African Union Commission (AUC). Through our guidance, our member universities are responsible for implementing the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) of the AUC. (Website – |Facebook – Association of African Universities| Twitter -@aau_67) .

The African Academy of Sciences The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. Our tripartite mandate is recognising excellence through the AAS’ highly prestigious fellowship and award schemes, providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies and implementing key STI programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges. The Academy’s five strategic focus areas include: Environment and climate change; health and wellbeing; natural sciences; policy and governance; and social sciences and humanities. Its programmatic unit ,the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa’s (AESA’s) created in partnership with the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, has a mission to catalyse investments, strategies and programmes that promote the brightest minds in Africa, foster scientific excellence, inspire research leadership and accelerate innovation in ways that will improve lives and shift the centre of gravity for African science to Africa. Join us on and Twitter @AASciences and learn more by visiting

Media Inquiries:

The Association of African Universities, Accra, Ghana
Felicia Kuagbedzi, +233246425147

The African Academy of Sciences, Nairobi, Kenya
Deborah-Fay NdlovuI I +254 727 660 760; +254 20 806 0674