Covid-19: Costech to coordinate Sh10.9 billion grant for researchers

Wednesday May 27 2020


By Rosemary Mirondo @mwaikama

Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) is coordinating a grant worth $4.75 million that will see Tanzanian  researchers and scientist awarded to address research questions on Covid-19 and implement science engagement activities associated with the pandemic.
Costech director general, Amos Nungu said this when briefing journalists through a virtual news conference where he elaborated that the grant targets17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He said the research strand is informed by topics identified by the World Health
Organization (WHO), the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus  Rapid Grant Funding Opportunity.
“The funding will be provided to research projects which will investigate research areas such as prevention and control, socio-cultural dynamics of transmission, mental health and vulnerability,” he said.
According to him, an innovative component to the Fund entails support to science and health journalists and communicators in efforts to produce and disseminate coordinated science communication on Covid-19 while additional support for projects intended to advance science advisory activities to African governments, with a specific focus on efforts by academies of science and the International Network for Hovernment Science Advice (INGSA) Africa chapter will be supported.
He said the National Research Foundation(NRF) supported by South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID),United Kingdom Research and
Innovation (UKRI) through the Newton Fund, and SGCI participating councils are collaborating in this initiative, which has been conceptualised under the auspices of the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI).
Explaining, he said, the fund aims to support knowledge generation and translation to inform diagnostics, prevention and treatment of Covid-19, strengthen African regional and continental science engagement efforts in response to the  pandemic, and leverage existing multilateral collaborations and attract new collaborations from international partners.
“In times of crisis, as in responding to Covid-19, the degree to which existing partnerships in science, technology and innovation can be leveraged to solve a challenge that is inherently trans-boundary is especially critical,” he said.
He said 15 science granting councils on the continent, have been working together to strengthen various aspects linked to their mandates since 2014.