COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund launched

Image of Table Mountain Cape Town South Africa

A COVID-19 Africa Rapid Fund Grant with an initial total funding of (approx.) £3.8m has launched today (21 May) to address research questions and implement science engagement activities associated with the pandemic.

The funding is for teams of researchers and science journalists and communicators from 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It aims to support 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 leverage existing multilateral collaborations and attract new collaborations from international partners.

Dr Molapo Qhobela, Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation (NRF) South Africa 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.”

James Duddridge, Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office joint Minister for Africa, said:  “Coronavirus is a global crisis, which is affecting us all right now. However, by bringing together scientific research and expertise from around the world we can end this pandemic sooner for the benefit of everyone. UK aid support to the Africa Rapid Grant Fund will support African researchers to mitigate the impact of the virus across Africa. This will help stop future global waves of the infection.”

The National Research Foundation South Africa, South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), 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).


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