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Accepted Paper:

Science funding for crisis response and long-term resilience  
Carla-Leanne Washbourne (University College London) Julius Mugwagwa (University College London) Remy Twiringiyimana (UCL) Anne Marie Kagwesage (University of Rwanda)

Paper short abstract:

We examine how development of science, technology and innovation capacities, supported by the Science Granting Councils Initiative in sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI), enabled granting councils to act more swiftly, decisively or with greater impact to the COVID-19 pandemic and reflect on future resilience.

Paper long abstract:

Institutions tasked with supporting national systems of science and innovation have a huge role to play in the response to COVID-19: generating and communicating technical insights, which could have real and immediate societal impact, and allocating and mobilising resources. In this extended state of crisis, many institutions are grappling with a need to balance short-term responsive issues and longer term developmental and strategic goals.

This paper reports on the work of the ‘STECS’ project (Science Granting Councils Initiative in sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI) Training Effectiveness Case Studies) and its COVID-19-focussed successor ‘STECS Plus’, which focussed on nine science granting councils (SGCs) in: Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia. Both projects sought to understand if and how training and capacity strengthening offered by SGCI on topics including research management, partnerships and private sector engagement had been taken up and integrated into the work of the country-level SGCs.

STECS confirmed that SGCI’s activities improved SGCs effectiveness in research management; development and/or strengthening of partnerships; knowledge exchange with the private sector; and coordination and collaboration between the participating SGCs. STECS Plus suggests a key role for these developments in SGCs COVID-19 response, leveraging inter-SGC networking and partnership opportunities facilitated through SGCI; influencing national responses either directly or indirectly; and engaging significantly in funding mechanisms for responsive research. STECS and STECS Plus suggest that SGCs have great potential to play key roles in short-term response and long-term resilience issues in national systems of science and innovation.

Round Table P39
Science as (un)usual: COVID-19, science, innovation and societal recovery in Sub-Saharan Africa
  Session 1 Thursday 1 July, 2021, -