Call Opening Date: 26th June, 2023
Call Closing Date: 25th July, 2023

1.0       BACKGROUND

The National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) of the Republic of Malawi and the Research Council of Zimbabwe (RCZ) are participating in the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) Phase II-plus. Participation in the SGCI Phase II-plus builds on the previous SGCI Phase II objective of seeking to strengthen the capacities of Science Granting Councils (SGCs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) concerned with the support of research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to socio-economic development. SGCI Phase II-plus will continue to focus on the management of research and innovation projects.

During this phase, NCST and RCZ are jointly administering a Grant aimed at managing collaborative research calls in emerging technologies and development in Malawi and Zimbabwe. The Grant will support and manage research in Agricultural Biotechnology conducted in both Malawi and Zimbabwe under the auspices of the SGCI. The Initiative is jointly funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), NORAD and German Research Foundation.


The transition to knowledge-based economies has put the role of knowledge at the pinnacle of trade, investments, and manufacturing. In that regard, the contribution of the knowledge generating organizations, their linkages with the private sector, the potential for knowledge exchange and technology transfer has become central to socio-economic development in Africa.

In order to promote the co-creation and exchange of knowledge to boost agricultural productivity in the two countries, the NCST and RCZ have instituted a Collaborative Research Grant in Agricultural Biotechnology. The grant, has been established through a co-fund between the SGCs, NCST and RCZ with the aim of supporting Agricultural Biotechnology research projects   identified by the National Research Priority Areas in both countries.


Researchers in the area of Agriculture Biotechnology in both countries will collaborate to prepare joint research proposals focusing on either Plant or Animal Biotechnology. Project proposals submitted under this call may include, but are not limited to, the following research areas:

  • Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience;
  • Yield production improvements; (against Cotton Mealybug, Fall Army Worm and Large Grain Borer);
  • Breeding and Genetics –Multi-disciplinary in nature (Fish Breeding, Artificial Insemination and Molecular Breeding included);
  • Nutrition Research – (Soil Health, Fodder/ Pasture Research included); and
  • Microbial Research


It is expected that interventions of the projects will improve co-creation and exchange of knowledge to boost agricultural productivity in Malawi and Zimbabwe. Projects should also aim within their proposed duration to enhance the capacity of researchers in areas including biotechnology research analysis skills.


The budget limit for project activities in the proposal will be not more than MK32,797,710 for the research team in Malawi and budget limit for project activities for the research team in Zimbabwe will be the local equivalent of USD 30,000.00. Budget modalities will include two separate budgets, one for each team representative of their respective countries. Collaborative research projects will be implemented for a period not exceeding twenty-two months (22 months) from 1st September 2023 to 30th June, 2025. Permissible budget items include the following:

  • Material costs, if they are directly linked to the research project, in particular material of enduring value, the cost of expendable items, field expenses, travel expenses or third party charges.
  • Direct costs incurred through the use of research infrastructure linked to the research.
  • Costs of organizing conferences and workshops in connection with the funded research.
  • Costs of national and international cooperation and networking activities directly associated with the funded research.

Note:   Salaries of applicants are not eligible costs.


Each proposal must have at least one Principal Investigator as a main applicant based in Malawi and one Principal Investigator as a main applicant based in Zimbabwe. These are the Principal Investigators on the Malawian and Zimbabwean sides, respectively. The Principal Investigators will bear the overall responsibility for the project, including its technical and administrative co-ordination as well as the timely delivery of scientific and financial reports.

Applications are open to bona fide researchers from public research and/and or higher learning institutions in both Malawi and Zimbabwe. Researchers from the Private Sector and Non-profit Organisations registered in Malawi and Zimbabwe are eligible to apply but in collaboration with researchers in public research and/or higher learning institutions in both Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Support letters from the Malawi and Zimbabwe host institutions of the Principal Investigators are a prerequisite. Proposals without institutional approval through support letters will not be considered.

Application guidelines are available on and for eligibility and other application requirements.


NCST and RCZ particularly encourage collaborative research projects across institutions, disciplines and individuals. The following should be taken into consideration.

a)Proposals should be well presented and expected to meet quality scientific standards

b)The management structure should be well defined as well as a clear sustainability plan.

c)Applicants should “make the case”, i.e. to explain the steps that led to the proposed research concept and focus.

d)Demonstrate the strategic value of the research to Malawi and Zimbabwe and the Region.

e)Demonstrate commercialisation potential, research capacity building and a description of how gender and diversity will be included in the implementation of proposed projects.

f)Budget should not be inflated and/or expenses should be adequately justified.

g)Applicants should declare originality of their work and sign off to confirm ownership.


The mode of application and submission of the full application package (i.e with all the required attachments) shall be through the web-based online grants management system of both NCST ( and RCZ ( Application packages submitted via email will also be accepted in exceptional circumstances, provided that such circumstances have been communicated to and approved by an officer responsible for handling enquiries at NCST for Malawi principal investigators and at RCZ for Zimbabwe principal investigators.

Those submitting via email, the application package must include principal investigator’s covering letter; full proposal; CVs; and letter of support from an institution of the principal investigator all in one logically flowing PDF document saved as ‘last name of Principal Investigator-NCST-RCZ Call for Proposals 2023”.

a)The application package must be sent via email to both and with a copy to  at NCST and a copy to at RCZ with the subject heading: “Full Proposal in Agricultural Biotechnology Research(2023)” clearly specified.

b)All proposals must be submitted in the prescribed template and will be reviewed based on their quality and merit. A full proposal template is downloadable on and on

c)Proposals should not exceed fifteen (15) pages, using 1.5 spacing and font size 12 Times New Roman (Refer to the proposal template for other details).

d)All proposals will be received and processed in strict confidentiality and with complete acknowledgment of Intellectual Property Rights of the applicants.

e)Proposals will be screened for completeness by both NCST and RCZ before a rigorous review by an independent panel of reviewers.

f)Evaluation, selection, approval and communication to successful applicants by respective Boards of NCST and RCZ will be by 20th August 2023.

g)NCST and RCZ’s decisions will be final.


25thJuly, 2023 at 16:30 Central Africa Time.


Any enquiries from Malawi researchers should be directed to Mr Lyson Kampira at  while enquiries from Zimbabwe researchers should be sent to Dr Timothy Marango at