AwardsThe National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has organised the Research Grants Award Presentation Ceremony to be held on 5th February, 2021 at Bingu International Conference Centre.  The theme of the grants award presentation is “Research and Innovation for Socio-economic Development”. The grants to be awarded are for research projects in agriculture biotechnology and renewable energy with funding from the Science Granting Councils’ Initiative (SGCI), on the one hand,   and for projects in health systems operations research with funding from the Government of Malawi. The research projects fall within the identified national research priority areas in Malawi.

The grants award in agriculture biotechnology and renewable energy research is coming from the background of NCST’s participation in the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI)-an initiative that seeks to strengthen capacities of science granting councils in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In this initiative, NCST  is collaborating with the Research Council of Zimbabwe (RCZ) to manage research projects in agriculture biotechnology by giving support to researchers in their respective countries. NCST is also collaborating with the National Science and Technology Council of the Republic of Zambia and the Research Fund of Mozambique to manage research in renewable energy by giving support to researchers in their respective countries.  The management and support for research by the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) in agriculture biotechnology and renewable energy as identified national priority areas for research falls under the NCST’s  specific project that aims at strengthening the management of research competitions and research on emerging technologies and development in Malawi with the ultimate goal of supporting research and evidence-based policies that would contribute to socio-economic development.

While the grants under SGCI are jointly funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA), UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), the Malawi government, through NCST will provide funding for administrative oversight in the implementation of the projects.

Similarly, the grants award in health systems operations research comes from a purposefully instituted research grant scheme that is being managed through the partnership of the Department of Research in the Ministry of Health (DR-MOH) and the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST). This scheme has been instituted as part of the implementation efforts of the National Health Research Policy of December 2019. The Policy calls for the promotion and strengthening of health research governance structures at national and sub-national levels. Strengthened structures, such as district health offices and health facilities are pivotal for the conduct of quality health research in Malawi in order to generate evidence required to effectively inform the development of health and related policies and interventions. The effective implementation of such evidence-informed policies and interventions would ultimately result in improved health systems performance and peoples’ health and general well-being. This grant scheme has been established with funding from Malawi Government.

A total of twelve (12) grantees will be presented with various amounts of the research grants. The total amount of money in grants to be awarded at this ceremony is MK141, 417,020.   The ceremony will be co-officiated by the Minister of Education, Honourable Agnes Nyalonje, MP and the Minister of Health, Honourable Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, MP. The presentation ceremony will run from 07:30 am to 11:30 am. The ceremony will follow a hybrid set-up as other participants will attend virtually in order to limit the number of physical attendees. All Covid-19 preventive measures will be followed at the presentation ceremony.