Effective research and innovation partnerships with both academic and non-academic partners; and across borders are an increasingly strategic component in the internationalisation agenda of nations and regions. The implementation of African Union’s Agenda 2063, and its Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Strategy (STISA 2024) will be further enhanced through strategic partnerships and collaborations within and beyond the region. African science granting councils (SGC), intermediaries positioned to play a key role in the disbursement of public financing for STI have to nurture partnerships amongst each other to increase their global competiveness, and to collaboratively contribute to the implementation of these continental policy instruments.
The Global Research Council (GRC) Africa Regional Meeting and the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in sub-Saharan Africa Annual Forum are co-hosted during 22-24 November 2017 in Livingstone, Zambia, by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), Zambia and the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST), Malawi. The SGCI is also hosting its Annual Forum in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU/NEPAD), the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and the Scinnovent Centre. The SGCI is a partnership programme between the NRF, the UK’s DFID and Canada’s IDRC to strengthen 15 Science Granting Councils in sub-Saharan Africa.
On the occasion of hosting the GRC Africa Regional Meeting, a researcher symposium on animal and livestock sciences is hosted in parallel, and in collaboration with the German Research Foundation (DFG), South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) and Clarivate Analytics.
These engagements harness the strengths and competencies of African SGCs and their partners for directed strategic discussions on topics relevant to the implementation of SGC mandates; contribute to greater regional integration and cooperation; and present an opportunity for further networking and partnerships building amongst SGCs and their stakeholders.
The Honorable Minister of Higher Education for Zambia, Prof Nkandu Luo, officiated the opening of the events.
In his opening remarks, Dr Molapo Qhobela, CEO of the NRF, commented that “the efforts we have been investing in is evident from the increased joint research calls, improved grant management systems, and increased engagement…contributing to enhancing the spirit of cooperation amongst science granting councils in Africa, and with our partners. We have a key collective role in enabling conversations and concrete actions across the various topics, and especially in our role towards effective private-sector partnerships in research and innovation; animal and livestock sciences; merit review; and science diplomacy”.
The NRF’s role in and contribution to the SGCI and the GRC is coordinated by Strategic Partnership.