Africa Launches USD 5,000,000 Covid – 19 Research Fund With International Collaboration

…Tanzania Applauds the Partnership in Scientific Research.

From Rusana Philander in Cape Town for TZ Business News.

A  $5.2 million (R90 million) Africa Rapid Fund Grant has been launched to address research questions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fund is aimed at supporting 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 to leverage existing multilateral collaborations and attract new collaborations from international partners.

The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) has said here that in times of crisis, as in responding to COVID-19, the degree to which existing partnerships in science, technology and innovation can be leveraged to solve a challenge that is inherently transboundary is especially critical.

“Fifteen science granting councils on the continent have been working together to strengthen various aspects linked to our mandates since 2014. We have, during this time, strengthened partnerships with one another and with our development partners in the context of Science Granting Councils Initiatives (SGCI).

“The launch of this call is a demonstration of these partnerships culminating into a multilateral effort to facilitate research and science engagement in response to COVID-19. The SGCI participating councils are delighted to join and contribute to the implementation of the activities of this Fund,” Dr Amos Nungu, Director General, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology and Chair, SGCI Councils Committee said.

Dr Amos Nungu

 Dr Molapo Qhobela, Chief Executive Officer of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) said: “The current pandemic has taken a significant toll on the lives and health of millions of people across the globe. Strategic partnerships and concerted efforts such those leveraged here are an essential element of delivery on the mandate of science granting councils, such as the NRF, to advance, enable, support and promote scientific research and science engagement with the aim to improve the quality of lives of citizens.”

The National Research Foundation (NRF) supported by South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom Research and Innovation  (UKRI) through the Newton Fund, and SGCI participating councils are collaborating in this initiative, which has been conceptualised under the auspices of the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI).

 The research strand is informed by topics identified by the World Health Organization (WHO), the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Grant Funding Opportunity. Funding will be provided to research projects which will investigate research areas such as prevention and control, socio-cultural dynamics of transmission, mental health and vulnerability.

 Canada’s International Development Research Centre said they were very pleased to be collaborating with South Africa’s National Research Foundation, the 15 science granting councils involved in the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in sub-Saharan Africa, and other international partners in the COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund.

Dr Jean Lebel, President, International Development Research Centre, Canada, said:”This powerful collaborative effort to support national researchers, science advisors and communicators in Africa will improve understanding of how to prevent and treat COVID-19 across the continent and internationally.”