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Royal Society-DFID Africa Capacity Building Initiative

This programme is for scientists who want to develop collaborative research consortia between scientists in sub-Saharan Africa and a research institution in the UK.

This scheme is now closed to applications

The overall aim of the scheme is to strengthen the research capacity of universities and research institutions in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting the development of sustainable research networks.

The objectives are to:

  1. facilitate sustainable multidisciplinary partnerships between research groups in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK.
  2. strengthen research and training capacity in sub-Saharan African Institutions of Higher Education through the skill transfer between partner organisations of the research consortia.
  3. Support a cohort of young, talented researchers through integrated PhD scholarships and shared supervision of post-graduate students between the UK-based and African consortia members.
  4. evaluate the contributions of the Africa Initiative to supporting universities and institutions in Africa to develop sustainable research and research training capacity.

The scheme provides funding towards research expenses, travel and subsistence costs, (PhD) training, and limited funds for equipment.

The scheme is funded by the UK's Department for International Development.

Who was eligible to apply?

Applicants could apply for this scheme if they were based in one of the eligible sub-Saharan African countries (PDF) or the UK. In order to act as a principal investigator (PI), applicants must:

  • have a PhD or have extensive research experience at an equivalent level
  • have a proven track record of training students at Master’s and Doctoral level
  • have a proven track record of publishing in both national and international journals
  • be based in the respective countries at the time of the application

Applications were accepted in three research priority areas:

  • Water & sanitation
  • Renewable energy
  • Soil-related research

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

Programme Grants provide support for Research Consortia, consisting of three African groups and one UK-based laboratory.

Applicants did not need to have held a Scientific Networking award to apply for a Programme Grant.

The Programme Grant may provide support of up to £1,243,000 over a five year period, including:

Expense Budget per partner Total Budget
A PhD studentship for each of the African PI’s £60,000/studentship   £180,000  
Research costs Up to £20,000 per year for each research group £400,000               
Exchanges of researchers Costs for travel and subsistence of up to £10,000 per year for each laboratory £200,000
Equipment purchasing, repair and maintenance Up to £10,000 per year for each African laboratory £150,000
Additional training modules (workshops and seminars) Up to £10,000 per year for each PI £200,000
Co-ordination and management costs 10% of value of the grant £113,000
Total Budget £1,243,000

What was the application process?

DFIDThis scheme is funded by the UK's Department for International Development.

Applications were submitted through the Royal Society’s electronic grant application system (e-GAP).

Applications to the Programme grants were initially reviewed by three members of the Royal Society-DFID Africa Capacity Strengthening Initiative panel. Shortlisted applications were independently peer reviewed and discussed at a panel meeting.