COVID-19 Africa Rapid-Grant Fund

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new type of Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 respiratory disease) a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. The pandemic presented a significant challenge requiring a global response informed by the best scientific research. The Global Research Council (GRC) issued a declaration calling on participating councils to collaborate in the fight against the virus and encourage open sharing of research findings and data as transparency shall help ensure the development of diagnostics, vaccines and prevention measures for the benefit of every nation. To support Africa’s response to the pandemic and under the auspices of the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI), the NRF South Africa, IDRC, Sida, DFID, United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Newton Fund, South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ), SGCI participating councils, and additional partners collaborated to implement a Rapid Grant Fund to address research questions and implement science engagement activities associated with COVID-19. The Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI) has been implemented through collaborative efforts of fifteen science granting councils in sub-Saharan Africa since 2015. The NRF South Africa administered the USD4.75million Rapid Grant Fund. The Fund sought to:
  • Contribute to the African regional and continental response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Support knowledge generation and translation to inform diagnostics, prevention and treatment of COVID-19 on the continent.
  • Strengthen African regional and continental science engagement efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Leverage strong multilateral collaborations to support Africa’s consolidated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and attract new collaborations from international partners.
The fund supported Research and Science Engagement. The COVID-19 Rapid Grant Fund Community on Africarxiv, archives the research and engagement outputs from grant recipients.