Share this article:
ShareTweetShareShareShareEmailSharePretoria – South Africa’s National Research Foundation has announced the launch of a R90-million international Covid-19 Africa Rapid Fund Grant to support the creation and translation of knowledge to help with diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
It will also reinforce regional and continental science engagement activities in Africa, make use of multilateral programmes, and encourage new international collaborative partnerships.
Chief executive Dr Molapo Qhobela said the pandemic had taken a significant toll on the lives and health of millions of people across the globe.
As such, strategic partnerships and concerted efforts such as these were an essential element of delivery on the mandate of science granting councils – such as the foundation, to advance, enable, support and promote scientific research and science engagement with the aim to improve the quality of lives of citizens.
The fund will support both research and science engagement.
The research aspect will see funding for Covid-19 prevention and control, sociocultural transmission dynamics, and mental health and vulnerability research projects.
The selection of these themes reflects issues designated by the African Academy of Sciences, the Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus Rapid Grant Funding Opportunity and the World Health Organization.
The science engagement element will have two aspects – one directed at health and science communicators and journalists, and the other at science advisers. Science engagement is hugely important, because it connects scientific findings to society at large and allows their translation for, and adoption, by policymakers. The idea for the fund was developed under the aegis of the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa, which involves national science funding councils in 15 Southern, East and West African countries. While South Africa is not a member (neither is Nigeria), the fund will be administered by the foundation.
Researchers and those engaged in science engagement from 17 African countries will be able to make applications to the fund. These are Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Four countries and seven national agencies, plus the councils, are working together to enable this initiative.
* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL’s
#Coronavirus trend page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za