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CALL FOR RESEARCH PROPOSALS UNDER PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP IN RENEWABLE ENERGY, AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES

Call Opening Date:26th June, 2023

Call Closing Date: 25th July, 2023

1.0       BACKGROUND

The National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) was established under the Science and Technology Act No.16 of 2003 with the mandate to advise the Government and other stakeholders on all science and technology matters in order to achieve a science and technology-led development. Its Mission is to promote, support, co-ordinate and regulate the development and application of research, science, technology and innovation so as to create wealth in order to improve the quality of life.  By its mandate and mission, NCST has secured a research grant under SGCI Phase II-plus from the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in Sub-Saharan Africa and Malawi Government through the Science and Technology Fund. The Grant will enable the Commission to support and manage research and innovation projects in Renewable Energy, Aquaculture and Fisheries under the public and private partnership approach. The SGCI is supported by a consortium of funders, namely; Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), NORAD and German Research Foundation.

2.0       RATIONALE AND SCOPE OF THE CALL

Renewable energy, Aquaculture and Fisheries are some of the national research priority areas in the National Research Agenda. The research projects to be funded under this grant will follow the public and private partnership (PPP) approach. The key defining feature of the PPP approach is its deliberate emphasis on the need to move from research to innovation. Whereas the universities and research institutes have been generating technologies and other research outputs, translating these into commercial products that could spur socio-economic development have been slow. These grants are, thus, designed to break the barriers to the uptake and application of research for socio-economic development by facilitating universities and research institutes to be the champions of the process of translating outputs of their research (e.g. new technologies, new varieties, prototypes, new business models) into products and services in the market place. To achieve this, NCST will provide grants to fund research projects that will involve collaborations between public research institutions with other actors who are not their traditional partners (particularly, the private sector). The grant will also promote multi-disciplinary approach for teams of experts from diverse disciplines to work together on an identified research problem in the priority areas of research. The involvement of the private sector is key to the success of this call management. The private sector will be expected to support the process through additional financing and other forms including sharing of equipment; faculty members and student placements, secondments and internships; etc. In return, the private sector will gain access to expertise within the universities and research institutions; aid in the renewal and expansion of technology; improve access to students as potential employees and leverage internal research capabilities.

3.0    THEMATIC FOCUS

Research project proposals that demonstrate public and private partnership in the following areas will be supported;

  • Renewable Energy;
  • Aquaculture; and
  • Fisheries.

4.0 FUNDING LEVEL

The maximum grant value for each research project proposal is MK32,797,710.00. Each research project 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 organising conferences and workshops in connection with the funded research.
  • Costs of national co-operation and networking activities directly associated with the funded research.

Note: Salaries of applicants are not eligible costs.

5.0       ELIGIBILITY

  • Each proposal must have a principal investigator as a main applicant, based in Malawi and of Malawi origin. 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 and private research and higher learning institutions in Malawi.
  • Support letters from the host institutions of the Principal Investigators are a prerequisite. Proposals without institutional approval through support letters will not be considered.
  • The Grant will fund only applied research projects in the listed thematic areas. Research proposals shall need to demonstrate the application of scientific principles or basic scientific discoveries to solve real life challenges. Basic or purely theoretical research will not be considered.
  • Principal Investigators at the point of application must fulfil the following requirements:
  • Hold a primary appointment in a local publicly or privately funded institution (Minimum of 12 months employment with a local institution);
  • Have done previous research in any of the focus thematic areas and have some results published;
  • Be an independent Principal Investigator with a track record of leadership ability in co-ordinating research programmes; and
  • Providing mentorship to research teams, as well as having productive research outcomes.

Application guidelines are available on www.ncst.mw/pppnewsgciphasetwo

6.0       PROPOSAL PREPARATION, SUBMISSION AND PROCESSING

Guidelines for proposal preparation and submission are provided in the Application Guidelines that are downloadable on  www.ncst.mw/pppnewsgciphasetwo.  Applicants are expected to pay particular attention to all the details provided in the Guidelines.

7.0       DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS

25th July, 2023 at 16:30 Central Africa Time.

8. 0     CONTACT INFORMATION

Any enquiries from Malawi researchers should be directed to Mr Lyson Kampira at lkampira@ncst.mw 

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