DFG Involved in the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI)

Since November 2019, the DFG has been an Associate Funder of the SGCI and has since been involved in expanding network-building measures to promote joint, regional calls for proposals.

(05.11.20) In 2015, the DFG Executive Committee adopted an Africa concept that aims to establish optimum framework conditions for research cooperation between sub-Saharan Africa and Germany through collaboration with DFG partner organisations. Given the heterogeneous nature of this rapidly developing region, opportunities for collaboration are to be identified as quickly as possible so as to enable the set-up and support of initial scientific cooperations. Efficient points of contact that are of interest in the search for sites and access to scientific excellence in Africa are provided by the African networks and funding initiatives established for this purpose. Cooperation with the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI) has proven particularly valuable here.

The Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI) was founded in 2015 with the aim of strengthening the participating science-funding organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa, currently 15 in number, by means of joint capacity-building and coordinated funding activities. The aim is to support research and policy, thereby promoting the social and economic development of the region.

For several years now, the DFG has supported the SGCI in terms of content through lectures at SGCI annual meetings, scientific symposia and the organisation of science administration and science policy workshops. On the sidelines of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) in Kigali in March 2018, the opportunity arose to reach an agreement on the scope, fields of action and objectives of an expanded DFG involvement in the SGCI, ultimately resulting in the signing of a partnership agreement between the SGCI and the DFG in November 2019. Since then, the DFG has been one of the SGCI’s funding bodies, in particular supporting the expansion of network-building measures to establish joint, regional calls for proposals for research project funding. In doing so, it is important to the DFG to consider optional interfaces with DFG funding opportunities for researchers in Germany from the very outset. For example, thematic German-African workshops or participation by German researchers in SGCI events offer potential in terms of initiating scientific cooperation.

However, another aim is to strengthen the organisation and implementation of South-South scientific collaborations between Science Granting Councils (SGCs) in sub-Saharan Africa that are able to bring together expertise and budgets that are highly critical in a largely underfunded science landscape. In the first funding phase of the SGCI (2015-2019), a total of seven multilateral projects were funded that were run by African research teams. Finally, the partnership between the SGCI and the DFG also gave rise to a call for proposals in July this year for the continuation of these projects during the second SGCI funding phase (2020-2023). The deadline for proposal submission was 30 October 2020.