Trilateral Call for Collaborative Research Proposals in Renewable Energy in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique

Call Opening Date: 7th August 2020
Call Closing Date: 4th September 2020

1.0       BACKGROUND

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) of the Republic of Zambia, the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) of the Republic of Malawi and the Fundo Nacional de Investigação (FNI) of the Republic of Mozambique are Science Granting Councils (SGCs) participating in the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) for Sub Saharan Africa.

The SGCI seeks to strengthen the capacities of the participating SGCs in supporting research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to socio-economic development of the countries. The Initiative is jointly funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), and the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA).

In contributing to their national research systems, the SGCs (in the three countries) secured a Grant from the International Development Research Centre under the auspices of the SGCI. The said Grant which aims at supporting research projects in Renewable Energy is based on a co-funding arrangement between the IDRC on one hand and the NSTC, NCST and FNI on the other.


The demand for energy in the region has been rising due to economic activities in the countries, particularly in the mining, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Energy generation in the region relies almost entirely on hydropower, however, the recent droughts experienced in the region have caused serious electricity supply deficits. Governments are now actively seeking to enhance the renewable energy sector which has abundant renewable energy resources yet to be fully exploited. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) through its Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Strategy and Action Plan recommends that member states must achieve energy security by closing the current supply/demand deficit in the power sector and enable future economic growth and industrialization through transitioning to and/or increasing the use of renewable energy sources and developing innovative ways of using energy to drive sustainable development. Renewable Energy is one of the identified National Research Priority Areas in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

To contribute towards efforts to enhance the renewable energy sector in the three countries, NSTC, NCST and FNI will fund collaborative research projects in renewable energy. The objective of this Trilateral Joint Call is to generate critical knowledge that will help in strategic development and utilization of energy sources to diversify the energy mix and accelerate achievement of the countries’ energy generation targets, increase industry competitiveness, improve service delivery and reduce poverty.


The researchers in the area of renewable energy in the three countries will collaborate to prepare joint research proposals in the priority areas named below. The NSTC, NCST and FNI will, therefore, co-fund demand-led, collaborative research projects that address issues of relevance in the following priority areas in which research project proposals are invited;

(a) Renewable energy resource efficiency

(b) Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT)

(C) Sustainability of renewable energy systems

(d) Management of renewable energy systems for social economic development


The budget limit for project activities in each research proposal will be not more than MK22,560,000 for the research team in Malawi. The budget limit for project activities for the research team in Mozambique will not exceed 1 250 000MT while the budget limit for project activities for the research team in Zambia will be ZMW300,000.00. This means that a budget for one joint proposal will have three components: Budget for project activities for the research team in Malawi; a budget for project activities for the research team in Mozambique; and the budget for the research team in Zambia.  Collaborative research projects will be implemented for a period not exceeding twenty four months (24) months. Permissible budget items shall 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 and international co-operation and networking activities directly associated with the funded research.

Note:   Salaries of applicants, purchase of fixed assets, direct or indirect taxes including VAT, and overheads are not eligible costs.


The application guidelines and other requirements including eligibility criteria are downloadable from any of the following website and links;


Submission of an application package should be in a form of electronic copy. The deadline for submission is 4th September, 2020. Application package shall include full proposal specified herein; Principal Investigator’s covering letter; letter of support from an institution of the Principal Investigator; and CVs of the Principal Investigators. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. When the full application package is duly completed save the document as last names of principal investigators-NSTC-NCST-FNI Call for Proposals 2020”. The electronic copy should be in PDF.

(a) The Joint full application package should be submitted electronically in the prescribed template to all of the following email addresses; with a copy to both and  at NCST; with a copy to at NSTC; and uploaded on for the case of principal investigators from Mozambique under a heading “Full Proposal in Renewable Energy” clearly specified.

(b) All applications will be reviewed based on their quality and merit. A full proposal template is downloadable on any of the following website links:


Note: Principal investigators from Mozambique will have to first download the application template, fill it and then upload it on the FNI online system together with other required documents as specified herein.

(c) All documents (full research proposal, CV, detailed budget, letters of support) have to be submitted in PDF

(d) The review, selection of proposals and communication to applicants will done by 30 October 2020.

(e) All proposals will be received and processed in confidentiality with acknowledgment of intellectual property rights of the applicants.

(f) Decision of NSTC, NCST and FNI will be final.


Any enquiries from researchers shall be directed as follows;

(a) Enquiries from researchers in Malawi should be directed to Frederick Munthali on (Tel No. 265 888 107 134) and Mike Kachedwa on ( Tel No: 265 999 360 516);

(b) Enquiries from researchers in Zambia should be directed to Filipo Zulu on (Tel No.260 211 257196) and Atridah Mulonga on (260 211 255854).

(c) Enquiries from researchers from Mozambique should be directed to Dirce Madeira on (Tel No. 258-845-633807) and Edson Faria on (Tel No. 258-844-122705)