ISSC partners with ICSU and NASAC to support integrated science in Africapublished: June 1, 2016
The ISSC has partnered with the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) on a successful proposal for a 5-year capacity building programme on science research in Africa, “Leading Integrated Science Research in Africa – Agenda 2030″. The programme will be funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) for 5 million Euros over 5 years.
The programme’s vision is to develop the potential of the next generation of scientists in Africa who will produce and communicate integrated solutions-oriented and policy relevant knowledge. It aims to strengthen capacity in Africa to undertake integrated research through support for a network of over 30 integrated research projects on global sustainability across Africa. Two African-based institutions, NASAC and ICSU Regional Office for Africa (ICSU-ROA), will manage the research funding scheme.
The programme will provide two-year collaborative research grants with a thematic focus on global environmental change, disaster risk reduction, sustainable energy, human health and well-being in urban environments and related nexus issues. ISSC’s co-sponsored international research programmes – Future Earth and the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme, together with the ICSU co-sponsored Health and Wellbeing in Urban Environments programme – will provide an overall thematic framing for the programme’s activities. The programme will also promote the integration of gender and poverty reduction concerns.
The grants are intended to support integrated and solutions-oriented research by reaching across disciplines, and engaging with other knowledge partners (e.g. civil society, policy makers, and private sector). The grants are expected to foster research collaboration among early-career scientists in Africa, with an emphasis on researchers based in low income countries.
Activities will also include training for early career scientists on co-design and co-production, science communication and science advice to governments. The trainings will be delivered by ISSC, and will form the basis for developing full proposals by selected grantees.
Alberto Martinelli, President of the ISSC, said:
“The LIRA 2030 programme is a welcome addition to promote and strengthen inter- and transdisciplinary science in Africa. There is a great demand on all sciences, natural and social, to address the complex, integrative problems facing society and an urgency to do so in partnership with other societal partners. This research programme will provide early career African scientists with excellent opportunities for building collaborative research networks working on solutions-oriented science”.
An important priority for the programme is to reach a broad range of audiences, ranging from the scientific community to policymakers and the public at large. The knowledge generated by the programme will also inform policy processes such as the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Annual events will be organized to promote scientific exchange and provide opportunities for South-South and North-South research collaboration. Outstanding early career scientists will also have opportunities for career development through participation in international scientific committees and conferences, working groups, and inter-governmental policy processes.
An advisory committee will be appointed in June 2016. This committee will include natural and social scientists from Africa, stakeholder representatives and leadership representatives of all partners involved. The committee will meet every year to define the programme’s scientific strategy, make research funding decisions based on review of research proposals and agree on the development of the programme.
The first call for pre-proposals will be launched in the second half of 2016 through partners’ websites. Representatives of successful pre-proposals will be invited to attend a training event on integrated research to be held during fall of 2016. Following the training, participants will be given two months to develop full proposals, which will be peer-reviewed. Based on the review, the programme advisory committee will make research funding decisions to be announced in the beginning of 2017.