HUMAN AND SOCIAL DYNAMICS IN DEVELOPMENT GRAND CHALLENGE
SHORT-TERM RESEARCH GRANTS FUNDING FRAMEWORK
1. STRATEGIC CONTEXT TO THE CALL
The Department of Science and Technology’s (DST’s) Ten-Year Innovation Plan: Innovation Towards a Knowledge–Based Economy, 2008-2018, was developed to help drive South Africa’s transformation towards a knowledge-based economy, in which the production and dissemination of knowledge leads to economic benefits and enriches all fields of human endeavour.
The Ten-Year Plan asserts that it will be driven by the following four elements:
- Human capital development;
- Knowledge generation and exploitation (R&D);
- Knowledge infrastructure; and
- Enablers to address the “innovation chasm” between research results and socioeconomic outcomes.
The DST’s approach (exemplified in the Ten-Year Plan) also emphasises its orientation to the concept of a knowledge-based economy which rests on four interconnected, interdependent pillars. These are:
- Economic and institutional infrastructure;
- Information infrastructure; and
The Ten-Year Plan sets out 5 “Grand Challenges” one of which refers to the domain of the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). It asserts the importance of taking on the Human and Social Dynamics in Development Grand Challenge (HSDD GC) to: “Increase our ability to anticipate the complex consequences of change; to better understand the dynamics of human and social behaviour at all levels; to better understand the cognitive and social structures that create and define change; and to help people and organisations better manage profound or rapid change”.
The Human and Social Dynamics in Development Grand Challenge (HSDD GC)
Through the HSDD GC, the DST aims to promote research which contributes to the development of knowledge globally, and to have specific and life-changing impact on our society locally – in other words to be relevant to local needs and the concerns of local communities, and to make a difference to national priorities. The DST aims to support new research that will contribute to addressing the developmental problems facing the country, as identified by the National Planning Commission’s Diagnostic Overview.
The key aims of the HSDD GC are to:
- Promote and support Social Science and Humanities (SSH) research which is central to knowledge production;
- Encourage and support research for the public good, i.e. research that makes a substantial, positive difference in people’s lives;
- Strengthen the research-policy nexus;
- Accelerate human capital development; and
- Help produce SA’s next generation of SSH scholars.
There are strong links – both theoretical and empirical – across the four designated thematic focus areas, and hence room for integration to enable interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research approaches:
- Science, technology, and society;
- The dynamics of human and social behaviour;
- Social cohesion and identity; and
- Societal change and the evolution of modern society.
The Social Sciences and Humanities research supported by the HSDD GC is intended to be policy and socially relevant i.e. to be able to inform policy and public debate and to identify and examine key issues and options for sustainable human development.
In 2010, the Department of Science and Technology issued a call for inputs into the national research programme. Applicants were invited to make inputs into the four thematic thrust areas and could also choose instruments that would best support the execution of their research proposals. These instruments included: research chairs, centres of excellence, short-term research grants, social and policy dialogues, policy/research network groups, longitudinal studies and proposed research infrastructure.
In 2011, the Department of Science and Technology contracted the National Research Foundation to administer the processes for the short-term research grants, which had emanated from the call for inputs in 2010. The short-term research grants are thus the focus of this funding framework.
2. SHORT-TERM DIRECTED RESEARCH GRANTS
The purpose of the 2011 closed call was to invite full proposals for grants, based on the inputs for short-term research grants that were submitted to the DST in 2010. The full proposals were to constitute a full exposition and articulation of the original concept or proposal submitted to the DST, and were required to be expressly contextualized in accordance with:
- the aims and objectives of the Human and Social Dynamics in Development Grand Challenge Science Plan (version 4.1, 22 July 2010).
- the priorities of the 2009-2014 Medium Term Strategic Framework.
- a clear rationale for alignment with the HSDD theme that you have chosen to reference in your concept note and proposal.
3. ADJUDICATION PROCESS
The call for proposals was closed on 22 August 2011 and 33 full proposals were received. These 33 proposals were assessed in a two-tiered process:
- a postal peer-review process: where proposals were sent to postal peer reviewers who are specialists within the ambit of the respective proposal. These reviewers were asked to provide a narrative assessment of the proposal.
- a panel assessment process: where the specialist reviewers’ recommendations were considered, and collective agreement reached on the final scoring of each proposal against the scorecard. The panel meeting was held on 11 and 12 October 2011.
The top 9 applications received and adjudicated were supported for funding under the Human and Social Dynamics in Development Grand Challenge short-term research grants funding framework. The successful applicants are as follows:
Prof G Marcelle (WITS) Science, technology and innovation aligning with socio-economic development objectives
Prof M Leibbrandt (UCT) SA’s unfolding human and social dynamics: Evidence from longitudinal data
Prof A Sitas (UCT) Mapping the third African diaspora
Prof L Swartz (US) Place-based health promotion to reduce HIV, parenting and alcohol risk in South Africa
Prof Y Waghid (US) Cultivating democratic citizenship education and cosmopolitanism in Higher Education
Prof C Penn (WITS) Cultural brokerage as a model of healthcare delivery in South Africa
Prof K von Holdt (WITS) Research programme in mining and society
Prof P Bonner (WITS) Social cohesion in emerging communities in SA
Dr G Kruss (HSRC) HSRC The changing role of the University in inclusive innovation in SA: Comparing the role of
public research institutes