What are Science Granting Councils?
Publicly funded Science Granting Councils are central to funding and catalysing research and innovation. They play a critical role in supporting the consolidation of a country’s national system of innovation, and are both agents of government and represent the interests of a country’s scientific community. They play the following functions:
● Disburse funds for research and development
● Build research capacity through appropriate scholarships and bursaries
● Set and monitor research agendas and priorities
● Advise on science, technology and innovation policies
● Manage bilateral and multilateral science and technology agreements
● Assess the communication, uptake and impact of publicly funded research
Why the SGCI?
Science, technology and innovation landscapes throughout Sub-Saharan Africa are significantly different from what they were ten years ago. Recent positive trends include enhanced research funding commitments from national governments, increases in the rate of scientific production and innovation activities, the emergence of new organisations that fund STI and increasing cases of collaboration on cross-regional research. The drivers behind these changes include a growing recognition of the importance of STI to social and economic development amongst policy-makers across Africa; increased emphasis to demonstrate impact at scale from STI investments; and recognition that collaboration is increasingly necessary, as many of today’s most pressing challenges, such as the impact of climate change and infectious diseases, are transboundary. Despite these positive trends, STI landscapes across all developing regions continue to suffer from a number of challenges, including knowledge gaps to local needs, poor application of knowledge for social and economic development, lack of collaboration among science system actors, limited research capacity, and weak organisations and institutions.
A 2013 scoping study supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in 17 Sub-Saharan African countries underscored the increasingly important role of these councils in national science systems. However, that study also identified a set of interrelated challenges facing these Councils, including limited capacity, inadequate funding, overlapping roles and poor coordination with other agencies, lack of appropriate legislation, and poor implementation of science and research funding policies. To address these challenges, the United Kingdom's Department for lnternational Development (DFID), IDRC and South Africa's National Research Foundation (NRF) agreed to fund jointly a capacity strengthening initiative for publicly funded Science Granting Councils in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015.
What is the SGCI contribution?
To strengthen the ability of Science Granting Councils to:
● Manage research
● Design and monitoring of research programmes based on the use of robust science, technology and innovation indicators
● Support knowledge exchange with the private sector
● Strengthen partnerships between Science Granting Councils and other science system actors
What impact will the SGCI have?
● More effective research management practices among Science Granting Councils;
● Increased use of science, technology and innovation indicators to design and monitor research programmes;
● Increased knowledge transfer to the private sector
● Increasingly coordinated and networked Science Granting Councils
The SGCI is supported by the organizations below: