The SGC Initiative, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), aimed to strengthen the capacities of 15 SGCs in Sub-Saharan Africa in order to support research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to economic and social development. Over the past three years, SARIMA, together with its implementing partners, specifically provided support to strengthen capacities in research management in a number of key areas, such as research and grant-making systems and procedures and principles of scientific merit review. Together we have been able to achieve the following as well as develop resources and tools that will benefit the wider research management community in Africa:
- Trained over 200 participants from 15 SGCs on research and grants management
- Provided mentorship (through experts) to 14 SGCs on aspects related to online grant management systems; review and/or development of strategic, grants processes and high research quality research competition documents; and scientometrics
- Increased awareness towards professional recognition of research managers through finalisation of guidelines such as the Good Practice on the Quality of Research Competitions, the inauguration of the International Professional Recognition Committee (IPRC) and piloting of the first Professionalisation in Research Management call through the SGCI cohort. Best practices have contributed to the professional recognition which is now open to the SADC region.
- Developed a suite of accredited online short courses in partnership with Wits Enterprise and LRMG focused on – focus on research grants and contracts management; programme evaluation; intellectual property, technology transfer and commercialization; gender in science, technology and innovation; research ethics and integrity. Over 67 SGC staff received certificates of competence across all courses.
- Created knowledge outputs in the form of a Good Practice on the Quality of Research Competitions guidelines, Generic Manual for the Management of Research Grants, Needs Assessment reports, academic articles, book chapter, etc.
- Created and managed a virtual platform for dissemination of information amongst SGCs this included 127 news articles, 25 resources, 203 CTA uploads/publications and 95 user accounts were created. All SARIMA-produced resources are available in English, French, and Portuguese.
- Hosted platforms such as the SGCI website and Virtual Hub that promoted collaboration, benchmarking and peer learning, offering the SGCs an opportunity to from NRF SA and each other.
SARIMA would like to thank the funders for the opportunity to participate in this initiative, its implementing partners (list them here individually), the participating SGCs for their willingness to engage and creating an environment for sharing of best practices. Last but not least a heartfelt thanks to the Project Leaders (list them – Jose and Yogi) and the Project team for their dedication and hard work in making this such a successful effort. We hope that the SGCs continue to build on the foundation that we have laid to strengthen their capacity to efficiently carry out their core research management functions
Written by Zimasa Sobuza, Project Manager, SARIMA