Research proposal write shop for the African Union Research Call

  • 19th April 2018
  • by secretary
16-20 April 2018.  Entebbe, Uganda. The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) has organized a proposal write-shop as part of its effort to mobilise and strengthen research capacity in African agricultural universities and research institutions. 
The write-shop targets developing proposals for submission to African Union Research Grants 2018 Call for proposals with a deadline of 22nd May 2018. The Write-shop focused on building capacity of African researchers to design research projects that integrate diverse stakeholders including private sector, industry, farmers and policy makers to strengthen the relevance of research in addressing rural development, national and economic challenges. 
It is also be a platform for African researchers to network and link up with each other and collaboratively develop and implement projects beyond the current African Union Research Grants 2018 Call for proposals.

The Write-shop has three main objectives

  1. researchers skilled to develop and implement demand driven research for development projects, partnerships established among African and European researchers and proposals for submission to the African Union Research Grants. If funded, the projects will develop technologies that lead to improved food value chains to deliver and make accessible more nutritionally rich food to consumers with minimal loss of nutritional value, little wastage and a high level of safety. 
  2. Other projects will improve the nutritional value of crops and animal products, through advances in breeding and biotechnological innovation, such as bio-fortification (improved mineral and vitamin levels in various highly productive crop lines) while others will provide sustainable and innovative technologies used for food processing, packaging and storage, post-harvest handling, and technologies that add values to agricultural produce and their accessibility. These will directly increase the quality, quality and consequently price of agricultural produce, hence farmer income. Through bio-fortification projects, climate resilient and nutritionally enhanced foods will be developed hence sustainably providing food for the poor across the continent. The innovations developed will also provide employment for both women, men and youth. 
  3. In the design of all projects, special emphasis will be pro-women post-harvest handling and food processing technologies. To take care of these needs, youth and women will be engaged in project design. The skills to develop and implement projects of this nature will live beyond the current African Union Research Grants Call for proposals which will be used as a training case. The partnerships establish will continue to develop and submit proposals to different funding sources to develop innovations that address food security and increase farmer incomes. 

The following consortia are attending the Write-shop.

  1. University of Abomey Calavi/Sojagnanon, Benin. SOJAGNON-NGO has a vast experience in innovation partnerships. It received a Euro 250,000 grant from FARA under the PAEPARD to implement a 3-year project. It has also received funding twice from ARF/NWO- Wotro/ The Netherlands to implement projects; Matching grain quality attributes to the requirements of soybean processors in Benin (ProSeSS), 2015-2018 and Enhancing kersting’s groundnut (Macrotiloma geocarpum) production and marketability to improve food security in Benin (Projet Doyiwé), 2017-2020
  2. WOUGNET, UgandaWOUGNET is a member of the PAEPARD Consortia and has implemented several innovation partnerships with support from development partners such as Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), The Food and Business Applied Research Fund (ARF) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs among others.
  3. Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria
  4. Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).  LUANAR has a vast experience in innovation partnerships. LUANAR is designated research centre (Fish Node) of inter Government network of South African Network Biosciences Initiatives for Bioscience (SANBio) which falls under the NEPAD Science and Technology programme. The centre develops innovations and supports other researchers in the Southern Africa region. It currently implements a US$ 6Million Centre of Excellence for Aquaculture and Fisheries (AQUAFISH) with funding from the World Bank which engages non-profit organizations, and the private sector in Malawi, and international research for develop partners to generate innovations that address challenges in Malawi’s fisheries sector. LUANAR has previously implemented research for development projects including European Commission’s funded US$527,000 Concerted Fit-for-purpose PhD training in aquaculture and fisheries to improve food security and livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa, RUFORUM-funded US$ 300,000 Community Action Research Programme on Fisheries and Aquaculture among other research for development projects. All these projects have been managed by the leader of the innovation partnership – Prof. Emmanuel Kaunda.
  5. Uganda Christian University. The Uganda Christian University has experience in agricultural research and development involving innovation partnerships. Some of the on-going projects include; US$ 250,000 PAEPARD supported African Indigenous Vegetable Research Project implemented with FarmGain Africa, Chain Uganda, and University of Greenwich-Natural Resources. UCU has also received support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands to implement the project “Development of a Gender Responsive Commercial Seed System for African Indigenous Vegetables in Uganda” in partnership with CHAIN Uganda, Hanze University of Applied Science and Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (2017-2020). It also received support from to implement the Venture Hub Project (V-Hub project) for two years (2018-2020).
  6. Bio Protect, Burkina FasoBioProtect has vast experience in plant protection and has received support from PAEPARD, the Association for Research and Training in Agroecology (ARFA) based in Burkina Faso and the plant protection research and development company BIOPHYTECH based in France to implement innovation partnerships.
  7. University of Ghana, LegonUniversity of Ghana has been involved in multi-stakeholder partnerships with FAO, IMF, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Leventis Foundation, Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), UNIDO, University of Cambridge, and others and playing a PI role.
  8. University of Zimbabwe

Participants are from the following countries: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The following are thematic areas covered by proposals: Agroforestry, Animal Breeding, Aquaculture, Aquaponics, Bio-fortification, Food processing, plant breeding, and post-harvest handling and storage.


Past Proposal write shop organised by PAEPARD 2012-2016 related to AURG
Write-shop in Entebbe, Uganda (19-24 March 2012) – African Union Research Grants
Write-shop in Cotonou, Benin (26-31 March 2012) – African Union Research Grants
Write-shop in Entebbe, Uganda (11-15 July 2016) – African Union Research Grants
Write-shop in Accra, Ghana (18-22 July 2016) – African Union Research Grants

Under the 2012 African Union Research Grant calls, there was a problem of high wastage and unmet demand with only 20 grants being made (with a further 11 reserves) against the 450 bids received (i.e., a success rate of about 5%). Funding available for the African Union Research Grants was very limited. As a consequence, the success rate for applying was low, and many potentially interesting projects did not receive funding. The available funding was thus not adequate to meet the strong demand for Africa-focused research grants.

The two ARG calls (2001+2012) resulted in 20 grants up of to 750,000 (total value: EUR 13.8 million). 

  • The contracts all end between December 2015 and December 2016. 
  • Of the 20 projects funded, five were led by European and 15 by African organisations, (in contrast with FP7 consortia which are usually European led) although activities always take place in Africa. 
  • This funding was seen as a good preparation to be successful in FP7 calls, although it is too early to say whether AURGs will contribute to more success under H2020. 
  • The EU is pushing the AUC strongly to find other funding sources, including AU Member States, but this continues to be a struggle.