Eighty projects across 17 African countries have been selected for funding under the COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund looking at improving treatments, diagnostics and prevention of COVID-19 as well as bolstering science communication across the continent.
Of the 80 projects selected for funding, 41 are involved in research and 39 in science engagement, including science advice and science journalism. Forty-six per cent of these projects are led by women as principal investigators. The projects will follow a staggered approach, with the duration of research and science advice projects being 24 months, while the science and health journalists and communicators will have a duration of 18 months.
Dr Molapo Qhobela, Chief Executive Officer of the NRF said, “Knowledge gained from scientific enquiry has a vital role to play in transforming societies by encouraging critical conversations and developing responsible and engaged citizens. For the African continent to thrive, knowledge creation and sharing must be at the heart of our efforts to transform and respond to the challenges facing our society”.
The grants will support knowledge generation and translation to inform diagnostics, prevention and treatment of Covid-19, strengthen African regional and continental science engagement efforts in response to the pandemic and leverage existing and new multilateral collaborations from international partners.
The fund will also play a role in facilitating responsive, localized research and science engagement activities in support of efforts on the continent.
This multinational fund, launched in May 2020, is supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Fonds de Recherche du Québec, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa. UKRI’s contribution is through the Newton Fund.
Photo courtesy / Google
Article by Jedidah Mwangi