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The COVID 19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund announces 74 projects in Health Research, Science Engagement, and Science Advice

October 1, 2020
Work is getting underway for African researchers, science communicators, and science advisers in 17 countries, selected under the COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund.
A laboratory technician at work in Nairobi, Kenya (2014)
IDRC / Bartay

The Fund is being run from the continent as well, at South Africa’s National Research Foundation. NRF CEO Dr Molapo Qhobela says: “Knowledge gained from scientific enquiry has a vital role to play in transforming societies by encouraging critical conversations and developing responsible and engaged citizens. For the African continent to thrive, knowledge creation and sharing must be at the heart of our efforts to transform and respond to the challenges facing our society”.

A total of 74 projects are being led by top researchers in three main domains:

Research projects include assessments of genetic and immunologic factors associated with the severity of COVID-19 in different demographic groups, the investigation of lessons learned from similar infectious disease outbreaks, and the analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the socio-economic livelihoods for vulnerable communities.

Science journalism and communication projects address topics such as exploring the role of the media in the dissemination of information and misinformation; developing effective communication strategies to counter COVID-19 misinformation, and what methods can alleviate fear generated by misinformation.

Science advice projects aim to provide evidence-based science advice to African government. They will contribute to the development of rapid response material with policy briefs as key knowledge products, and the direct engagement of government decision-makers.

“It is critical that COVID-19 research be conducted in Africa and by African researchers in order to find fit-for-purpose solutions to this devastating situation”, says Jean Lebel, IDRC President. “The global challenges ahead are vast, and we must not miss this opportunity to leverage Africa’s research capacities to improve understanding of COVID-19 as well as how pandemic interventions are affecting the continent”.

The COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund is a partnership between the IDRC, the NRF, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the UK Research and Innovation through the Newton Fund, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation and the Fonds de recherche du Québec. Several councils participating in the Science Granting Councils Initiative in sub-Saharan Africa are providing additional support.

More information can be found here: CARGF Resources – SGCI (