Call for Applications: Research and Innovation Scaling and Commercialization Grants 2022/2023

 Call for Applications: Research and Innovation Scaling and Commercialization Grants 2022/2023

BACKGROUND

Funding opportunity description: Makerere University received special funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, to support high impact Research and Innovations. The Financial Year 2022/23 will be the fourth year of this fund’s availability. The fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of socio-economic transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. Over the last three Financial Years (2019/2020, 2020/21 and 2021/2022), government appropriated 79 Billion Uganda Shillings. Between the two years, MakRIF has funded a total of 775 projects across all sectors critical for development. In the current Financial Year (2022/23), Makerere University expects to receive about 30 Billion Uganda shillings (about US$ 8.1 million) under the Government Research and Innovation Fund (RIF). Of this, up to 2.7 Billion Shillings will fund Research and Innovation projects that have progressed beyond the proof of concept stage and are at the stage of ‘transition to widescale application or commercialization’. This is a first of its kind grant mechanism under the RIF. The Makerere University Research and Innovation Grants Management Committee (GMC) therefore announces the RIF Round 4, Track 3 (Research and Innovation Scaling and Commercialization Grants). Available funds are obligated for the Financial Year 2022/2023, with an expectation of actionable results that speak to the National Research and Innovation Agenda. The GMC therefore invites applications from Researchers/Innovators with original ideas that are ready to be translated for larger scale impact or commercialization.

Grant amounts and estimated number of awards: The GMC estimates to award the following number and amount of Scaling and Commercialization Grants:

Category   Maximum Amount per year No Total per year
1 Projects at the initial stages of transition to scale, looking to initially understand their markets and market prospects (for commercial products or services) or to obtain public sector stakeholder buy-in for scale (for public products, services or policy change proposals) 50,000,000/= 10 500,000,000/=
2 Projects in the intermediate stages of transitioning to scale, with a commercializable product or service or a public good/service, seeking to engage and obtain financial buy-in from a viable scaling partner to drive large scale adoption. 150,000,000/= 8 1,200,000,000/=
3 Projects with a commercial product or service seeking to develop a manufacturing platform and are duly registered as a commercial entity 500,000,000/= 2 1,000,000,000/=
      20 2,700,000,000/=

Applicants should take into consideration the following:

  • Researchers/Innovators awarded for this grant will be funded for a period of 1 year. The purpose of the grant is to support the project to transition to scale.
  • The amounts indicated for this award are only estimates and the GMC retains the discretion to determine the amount and number of awards based on the actual funding that government/MakRIF funders will make available.
  • The GMC acknowledges that the amounts indicated for this award may not be sufficient in themselves to lead to widescale up-take or commercialization of a given product or approach, especially for those that require industrial production. The funds under this grant are meant in part to support the researchers in undertaking the engagements with key stakeholders that are necessary to drive their product or approach to scale including mobilization of investment funding.
  • Because scaling a product or service might take more than one year, projects that are funded under this round will be eligible for extension funding in the following financial year. However, second year funding will not be automatic but will be conditional to 1) Availability of funds, 2) Showing cause as to which additional areas of scale will be covered in the second year of funding, 3) Successful execution and completion of all the objectives for Year 1 funding, with clear demonstration that the product or service is gaining uptake; 4) Full technical and financial accountability for all the funds given to the researcher during the current year of funding. Projects teams would have to apply and compete for the follow-on funding through the next year’s Scaling and Commercialization Grant call.

 

Scope and Technical Description of the Research and Innovation Grant

Thematic areas of focus: The GMC conducted a comprehensive stakeholder consultation to identify priority thematic areas of interest for national development. The GMC triangulated this information with that from the National Development Plan III, the Makerere University Strategic Plan and Research Agenda to develop an instructive MakRIF research agenda that responds to national development priorities. The RIF Round 4, Track 3 (Research and Innovation Scaling and Commercialization Grants) will therefore specifically target research and innovation projects that align with priority thematic issues in the MakRIF instructive Research Agenda under 14 thematic areas as follows:

 

Theme 1: Transforming the agricultural sector to drive development (See details…)

Theme 2: Achieving Sustainable health as a means to sustainable development (See details…)

Theme 3: Re-imagining Education to unlock capacity for economic development (See details…)

Theme 4: Water, sanitation and the environment: A pre-requisite to sustainable development (See details…)

Theme 5: Harnessing the social sector, culture and arts to drive development (See details…)

Theme 6: Harnessing tourism, wildlife and heritage to drive development (See details…)

Theme 7: Sustainable Planning, finance and monitoring as catalysts for growth (See details…)

Theme 8: Leveraging public service and local administration for efficient service delivery (See details…)

Theme 9: Defense and security: Achieving sustainable peace and stability (See details…)

Theme 10: Strengthening law, governance, human rights and international cooperation as pre-requisites for development (See details…)

Theme 11: Harnessing Information and Communication Technology to drive development (See details…)

Theme 12: Works, manufacturing, science and technology as tools to accelerate development

Theme 13: Solutions to catalyze business and enterprise (See details…)

Theme 14: Energy and Minerals as drivers of rapid economic development (See details…)

 

The MakRIF PhD Research Grants will cover all technical disciplines in Makerere University as long as the research questions align with the instructive research agenda themes above. However, this grant will not fund start up ideas but will only focus on projects that have advanced in the innovation pipeline and are ready for scale.

 

Rationale for the support and detailed description of the types of projects sought: In many research and innovation ecosystems, innovative solutions tend to die out shortly after they are discovered. This phenomenon, described as the ‘valley of death’ is caused by a number of factors. Some of the factors are related to the project itself: Including the failure to integrate scale from the start, by not being user-centered and by failure to articulate a viable business model that will lead to scaled impact. Other projects simply get stuck at one of the stages in the innovation pipeline before transition to scale – this could be due to development failure or lack of resources to complete the pre-transition to scale milestones. On the other hand, many projects’ failure to transition to scale is a direct or indirect result of lack of scaling support.

 

In defining the scalability path for innovations, there are broadly two types of projects:

(1) Projects whose outputs are targeted for free use in the public domain and (2) Projects whose outputs are targeted for commercial use. Under each of these two types of projects, we can have two different types of outputs: Some projects produce a tangible product; others produce a tangible service or service delivery approach (a social enterprise). Projects that are targeted to scale in the public domain entail products or service delivery approaches that Developers would like the public sector (e.g., government ministries, civil society organizations, local governments or the actual end-user communities) to take on and scale as a public good. These can be scaled either through policy change, legislation, change in program implementation approaches, or widespread adoption and change in community behaviour. On the other hand, projects that are targeted for scale in the private sector domain would need to have a minimum viable product or sellable services package that is ready for commercialization and would require to be mass-produced and sold to gain the revenue that drives them to scale. The business models involved in each of these would be different. For projects targeted for scale in the public domain, there has to be an incentive to drive total buy-in by public sector stakeholders or the publics, and a substantial shift in policy/implementation approaches by the policy makers/program implementers or widescale uptake by communities. On the other hand, projects targeted for the commercial domain would require a business model that drives manufacturing of the product or mass delivery of the services, and a platform that drives sales to sustain the profitability of the product or service.

 

Regardless of domain, innovations need support in order to transition to scaled impact. Part of this could be in form of funds to support scale, while some projects need actual investment (either venture or private equity capital for private domain/commercializable projects or impact investment for public domain projects. Projects often also need bridge funding that enables the entrepreneurs to make the necessary engagements with potential scaling partners so as to get their buy in. In the public domain, such stakeholder engagements lead to a policy maker or implementer agreeing to take on the product or service and integrate it into routine implementation of programs or changing the policy to ensure that it is taken up and promoted.  In the private domain, such engagements should result in a suitable scaling partner agreeing to buy the product or service model and to mass produce it (e.g., through a license), or an investor agreeing to invest in the product’s manufacturing or service model scaling (through providing venture or private equity investment) with the entrepreneur going on to directly mass manufacture and distribute the product or service.

 

The MakRIF Scaling and Commercialization grants seek to provide funding in 3 core categories. The detailed description of these categories is as follows:

  • Category 1: Projects at the initial stages of transition to scale, looking to initially understand their markets and market prospects (for commercial products or services) or to obtain public sector stakeholder buy-in for scale (for public products, services or policy change proposals): This category covers commercializable projects that have an anticipated customer-base or a target market but seek to better understand their potential market and expand their market base for commercial value of their products/services so as to formulate a strong and viable go-to-market strategy. It also covers research/innovation projects that have products, services or policy/program recommendations targeting public services but are seeking to better understand their public sector stakeholders in preparation for engaging these stakeholders for policy or program change..
  • Category 2: Projects in the intermediate stages of transitioning to scale, with a commercializable product or service or a public good/service, seeking to engage and obtain financial buy-in from a viable scaling partner: This category seeks to support innovations that have moved beyond understanding their markets and public or pribate stakeholders so as to support processes that will lead to uptake of the product/service by a viable scaling partner. For projects with a commercializable product or service, this means leveraging the needed agreements for an entity to take up the product/service for mass production (e.g., through a license or MoU) and roll-out of the project’s go-to-market strategy. For those with a product or service targeted for uptake in the public domain, it means supporting the project team to work with a public sector entity to change a policy or to develop an implementation program that will drive scaled use of the product or service. This category also seeks to support targeted fundraising initiatives to attract venture/equity funding (for commercializable products/services) or impact investment funding (for public goods/services).
  • Category 3: Projects with a commercial product or service seeking to develop a manufacturing platform: This category seeks to support projects with a commercial product or service seeking to set up manufacturing capacity (for products) or a self-sufficient service delivery platform (for commercializable services). The category is exclusive to projects of commercial value and the investment is viewed as an equity investment by the University for the sole purpose of supporting manufacturing.

 

Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, teams applying for the MakRIF Research and Innovation Scaling Grants should meet the following criteria:

  • The team should have an /product or service developed that has moved past the proof-of-concept stage and is ready to transition to scale.
  • The Principal Investigator/Principle Innovator (PI) should be an academic or research staff of Makerere University on permanent or fulltime contract or a senior staff member from one of the administrative units linked to research (Library, Gender Mainstreaming, Quality Assurance, Guidance and Counselling, Planning and the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT)).
  • The PI Innovator should be actively in service (not on study or sabbatical leave).
  • The PI Innovator should obtain a letter of support from his/her department or school or College (any one of the three).
  • The PI Innovator should attach a copy of his/her appointment letter or most-recent letter of promotion issued by the Directorate of Human Resource of Makerere University
  • A researcher cannot be a Principle Investigator/Principle Innovator on more than ONE
  • For each application, it is a requirement to indicate a co-Principal Investigator/Co-Principle Innovator who will be co-signatory to the contract upon award; the requirements for one to be a co-Principle Investigator/Co-Principle Innovator are similar to those required of a an Innovator.
  • Researchers from Makerere University are encouraged to collaborate with resource persons from civil society organizations, government sectors, other universities within and outside Uganda, independent research institutions, business and industry as part of their teams; in such cases, the external team members will provide a letter of support from their institution.
  • Research fellows working in projects within academic units but are not appointed centrally by Makerere University are not eligible as PIs Innovators but may be part of a research team. Students in general are not eligible to apply as PIsInnovator However, students with strong ideas can market them to their academic supervisors/mentors who can apply on their behalf.

 

Researchers should note carefully the following:

PIs/Innovators who currently hold an active RIF award (RIF-1, RIF2 and COVID-19 are eligible to apply. However, they will only be considered for award if prior to the final selection activity, they will have completed the close-out report for any pending projects from previous awards and submitted all accountabilities. The close-out reports and full accountability should have been submitted by 31st  August 2022.

 

 

GRANT GUIDELINES

MakRIF Scaling and Commercialization grant applicants will submit a competitive proposal for the available funding. The proposal ought to specify the objectives for transitioning the research/innovation ideas to scale and should provide sufficient evidence that their idea is past the proof-of-concept stage.

 

Scaling category: Researchers should select a category under which they would like to seek for the funding among the three main funding categories presented in this call. Researchers should note that it is important to select a category that is commensurate with the stage at which their scalable product/service is. A determination by the evaluators that the product/service is not at the appropriate stage for which it is claimed to be will lead to disqualification for award so researchers must be as candid as possible in declaring their need.

 

The research/community problem: The proposal should clearly articulate the translation or commercialization needs of the research project. It should specify what gap the current research/innovation approach or product fills, in line with the development priorities specified in the MakRIF research agenda or the national development plan.

 

The proposed solution: Researchers/Innovators should present the proposed solution in form of the research/innovation focus of the approach/product. They should clearly articulate the processes already undertaken in development of the approach/solution right from ideation to the point that it is ready for scaling. Solutions could be in form of approaches (e.g., models for implementation, behaviour change or policy/program recommendations) or products (e.g., tangible prototypes that are ready for mass manufacturing/marketing) or services.

 

Researchers should clearly indicate whether their product/approach is targeted for scale either (1) as a public good/service/ social enterprise or (2) for commercialization as a sellable product/service.

 

Researchers should describe the earlier work that led to the current refined approach/product/service that they would like to drive to scale.

  • For primarily research-based projects, researchers should summarize the earlier research work that was done that led to the scalable approach or policy recommendations that they came up with as well as a clear description of the scalable recommendations for program or policy change that arose from that research.
  • For primarily innovation-based projects, innovators should indicate earlier work done to develop the idea, test it and iterate it to the level that it is ready for scale. This should include ideation/development/testing/piloting/refinement to the minimum viable product. They should describe the minimum viable product that is ready for scale/commercialization, as well

 

Researchers should describe in sufficient detail the product/service/approach that they plan to take to scale. They should articulate the nature of the product/service/approach and how it works to solve the pain-point articulated in the problem statement. They should describe the current stage at which the product/service/approach is, providing proof that it is ready for scale. They should describe the intended scaling audiences and the desired behaviour from these audiences in terms of taking up the product/service/approach.

 

Methods: Researchers/Innovators should then articulate the objectives of the planned scaling intervention. Researchers/Innovators should describe the activities planned under the category of funding for which they are applying. They should describe what the path to full path to scale of their approach/product looks like, as well as the specific aspect of the scaling interventions that the planned study will cover for the funding that is available this financial year. This should include a description of the process they will undertake to promote scaling of their solution, with the available funding.

  • For primarily research-based projects, this will include a clear description of the knowledge translation and dissemination plan/process to stakeholders in the relevant sectors including how the knowledge products that arose from the initial study (e.g., policy briefs, knowledge briefs, publications etc.) will be taken to scale. This should include articulation of a clear strategy for promoting buy-in into the research recommendations.
    • Category 1 projects under this sub-domain should describe the planned stakeholder outreach activities to be undertaken to engage stakeholders
    • Category 2 projects under this sub-domain should describe the deeper engagements (eg. Policy dialogues. advocacy activities, MoU processes) needed to get stakeholders to make commitments on policy or program changes and to oversee a pilot initiative involving execution of these commitments by the respective stakeholders, or mobilization of funding to support the policy or program roll-out of the recommendations.
    • Note: Researchers in this sub-category cannot request for category 3 funding as this funding is only to be provided for tangible commercial products/services.
  • Innovation-based projects should articulate a scaling strategy, including linkage to scaling partners within the industry (for commercially viable enterprises), or within the relevant public sectors (for innovations targeted to the public) or within relevant implementing agencies (for social enterprises). Innovations targeting commercial interest should demonstrate the anticipated commercial potential, anticipated demand, existing or anticipated intellectual property (patents/copy-rights/industrial design claims/trademarks applicable) and the path to commercialization. Innovations targeting social impact (social innovations) should elucidate the path to scaling community uptake. Teams that already have the necessary connections to sector ministries, implementing partner agencies (e.g., NGOs) or industry partners should articulate these connections.
    • Category 1 projects under this sub-domain should describe the planned stakeholder outreach activities to understand the market regarding potential for uptake of their innovation, leading to refinement of their business model
    • Category 2 projects under this sub-domain should describe the deeper engagements needed to get stakeholders to make commitments on uptake of the innovation for mass production, including execution of licencing agreements or sale of the IP to a commercial entity. They should also describe the nature of a possible pilot initiative involving execution of these commitments by the respective stakeholders as a test of potential for scaled implementation. They should describe an approach for mobilization of investment funding (fundraising) for the commercial undertaking.
    • Category 3 projects under this sub-domain should describe the infrastructure plan for enabling commercial production of the product/service to take place. Note: Category 3 funding is reserved for actual commercializable products/services.

Projects that anticipate a need for multi-year funding should clearly distinguish between what the current funding applied for will cover, as well as what future funding will cover.

 

Organizational and Business Development:

Business strategy/model: Projects in all categories (Category 1, 2 and 3) are required to articulate a business strategy/model: Researchers/innovators should present a clear business model showing how the proposed approach will be driven to scale either in the public sector or private sector domains. The strategy should articulate how the solution will attract buy-in from stakeholders so that it generates the funds that will drive it to scale, without having to rely on perpetual grants. Buy-in could be in form of policy/legislative changes, funding commitments (either public funds or private funding that may be in form of angel funding, venture funding, private equity or impact investment etc.). The incentives that make this product/service sellable should be described. Researchers that show existing engagements on these fronts will be preferrable. The business model should clearly show how the project will attract funding or sales so that eventually it can stand on its own in a sustainable venture. The strategy should show the incentive that will drive uptake of their solution.

 

Organizational Status: In addition to the business strategy, projects in Category 2 and 3 are required to describe their organizational status. They should indicate whether they are still an informal research group or whether they have gone on to register their group either as a partnership, a limited liability company. Projects in Category 3 are required to be formally registered as a formal entity with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) as at the time of the application and should attach proof of this registration. Failure to provide proof of registration status for Category 3 projects will mean automatic disqualification. For projects in Category 2, formal registration is optional, but may be part of the project activities stipulated for implementation.

 

Investment analysis: Projects in Category 3 and where possible, those in Category 2 should articulate an investment analysis showing the path through which the minimum required investments into their project will lead to profits and the profit margins anticipated for a given amount of investment. This description is required for projects in Category 3 and optional (though an added advantage) for projects in categories 2 and 1.

 

Risk Assessment: Applicants in Category 2 and 3 should provide a risk assessment analysis for their project.

 

Attachment of financial statements: Projects in Category 3 and where available, those in category 2 should attach financial statements showing the organization’s financial performance over the last one year. This attachment is required for projects in Category 3 and optional (though an added advantage) for projects in category 2.

 

Outputs, outcomes and impact: Researchers/innovators should articulate the output, outcomes and anticipated impact of the project. They should state the primary (Direct) and secondary (Indirect) beneficiaries of the scaled intervention including an actual estimate of the numbers to be reached in each of the stakeholder segments. They should state the anticipated outputs of the activities of the entire project once taken to full scale as well as the one-year scaling outputs. They should articulate the anticipated outcomes of the project one taken to full scale as well as the anticipated one year outcomes. Researchers should also state the anticipated impact of the new phase of the project (Note: Impact might not be achievable in one or even a few years in which case the current phase only contributes to it). Since this funding is specific to the current financial year, projects must demonstrate clearly the deliverables they expect within one year, matching the level of investment made and attainable in the 1-year timeframe. Being a multi-year project, your project might require funding for more than one year. Researchers should therefore show clearly what will be achieved with the funding received for the present year of funding, as a sub-section of what will be achieved if the project is taken to full scale over several years. Proposals that provide numerical estimates of their anticipated scaling outputs and outcomes will have higher chances of being funded than those that show no figures.

 

Sustainability and Exit strategy: Because scaling activities may run for more than one year and because much more funding may be needed to scale some projects than what is available under this award, researchers should articulate the sustainability of their projects beyond the RIF funding. Sustainability may also mean availability of co-funding or continued funding beyond RIF. For projects that have already received or anticipate funding from elsewhere, researchers should show how the RIF funding fits into the broader funding structure.

 

Scaling partners: Researchers/innovators should clearly indicate the scaling partners they anticipate to target as they solicit buy-in for their solution. Scaling partners should have demonstrated potential to take up the idea and scale it as a public good/service through widescale program implementation, or to create policies that drive its implementation, or to drive its production and commercialization if it is a for-profit good or service. Projects that fail to articulate clear potential scaling partners either in the public, private-not-for-profit or private-for-profit (commercial) sector shall not be funded.

 

Ethical implications: The implications of the research/innovation to human subjects, animal subjects and the environment should be articulated where necessary including how key ethical or environmental concerns arising from the study will be addressed. For interventions that require IRB approval, such approvals should have been obtained in the earlier phased of the study. However, broader regulatory approvals (e.g., standards approvals, Phase III clinical trial approvals), can be included as part of the scaling support needed for this grant.

 

Financial Plan: Researchers will prepare a summary budget for the one year phase of their project as well as a detailed budget. Budgets should be submitted in the official currency (Uganda Shillings).  Because these are university funds, academic units (Departments, Schools and Colleges) will not charge institutional overheads to any of the research funds. Budgets should not spread beyond one Financial Year. Even if the projects to be funded under this mechanism are multi-year, researchers should provide a budget for only one Financial Year. The budgets will include the following sections:

  • 0 Personnel costs
  • 0 Travel
  • 0 Supplies and services
  • 0 Equipment
  • 0 Program activity costs
  • 0 Dissemination

 

Under Personnel costs, applicants should not budget for ‘Salaries’ for staff who are paid a salary by Makerere University or another Government of Uganda institution (whether on permanent or contract terms) as this would constitute double payment from government funds. However, such researchers can budget for ‘activity-based’ time input or ‘level-of-effort-based’ costs for their additional time input into the project in form of allowances. The latter should be justified by specifying the extra-time demands from the project for each individual involved.

 

Researchers can budget for salaries for critical project staff that are not paid by Makerere or the Government of Uganda e.g., Project Coordinators, Administrative Assistants, Research Officers etc. Regular Personnel costs excluding field research assistants should not exceed 33% of the budget. Field research assistants (or Data collectors) if needed should not be included under ‘Personnel costs’ but should instead be included under ‘Program Activity Costs’. All salaries and all repetitive allowances will be subject to mandatory statutory deductions at source, to pay the relevant taxes.

 

It is allowable for researchers in Category 2 and 3 to include a sub-award to a third-party that is key to scaling their work. It is allowable for researchers in Category 3 to focus the bulk of their activities on procurement of equipment

 

In addition to the summary budget, innovator teams will be required to attach a detailed budget (As an MS Excel attachment) that breaks down all expenditure line items, inclusive of a budget justification that explains the rationale behind the different budget items. The total budget in the budget summary should exactly match that in the detailed breakdown. You should budget within the limit of funds for the category in which you have applied. Budgeting in another category will lead to disqualification. The total budget should not exceed the highest amount indicated for the respective funding category in which your project lies. Exceeding the indicated category maximum can result in disqualification.

 

Workplan/Action Plan: Researchers/innovators will provide a list of key milestones for the entity clearly demonstrating the deliverables expected at each point during the extension phase of the project. These milestones will be used as the basis for tracking implementation of activities towards project goals and outputs. Given the one-year time-frame for the awards, it will be important that researchers commit to a clear time-bound set of deliverables all achievable within one year for the main deliverable targeted during the current period of funding. Failure to articulate a one (1) year plan will imply inability to utilize the grant funds within one (1) year.

 

Financial Projections: Researchers/Innovators in Categories 2 and 3 shall attach a separate document on financial projections for a 3-5 year investment period.

 

GRANT PROCESS

Submission of applications: Submission of the applications will be online at http://rif.mak.ac.ug/portal.  All submissions must be online and must be made within the stipulated period. To access the application form, the Research and Innovation Scaling Grant applicant will be required to create a MakRIF account. In your account, select the appropriate funding opportunity and fill out the application form.

 

Rules governing applications: All applications should be written in English. All applications should be submitted via the online portal mentioned above. Complete applications must be submitted not later than 11.59pm East African Time on the closing date. No submissions after closure of applications will be accepted. Any attempt at solicitation of acceptance beyond this date will not be entertained. The Grants Committee bears no responsibility for submissions that are not completed in time and incomplete submissions will not be considered. If none of the submitted applications meets the requirements to receive a grant, the call may be reopened at the sole discretion of the Grants Management Committee. An individual researcher should not submit more than ONE application.

 

Participants agree to assume any and all risks, and to waive claims against Makerere University and the Grants Management Committee for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in this grant implementation.

 

Evaluation and selection of projects: Applications will be reviewed by the GMC. Submission of an application does not mean the project must be funded. The GMC will evaluate five main aspects of the project:

  1. Presentation of an idea that is fully developed, with clear evidence that it is ready for scale either as an approach or a product, either in the public or private sector domain
  2. A clear scaling plan that is feasible and clearly shows how the idea will transition to scale, including a translation strategy (for approaches requiring public sector approaches) or a go-to-market strategy and business plan/model (for products/services requiring commercialization)
  3. Clear articulation of the potential scaling partners needed to drive the solution to widespread uptake (for public goods/services) or to commercialization (for commercial goods/services)
  4. A clear sustainability plan that shows potential to leverage additional funding to support the scaling of the idea
  5. Potential for large scale transformation of communities

 

Notification of successful applicants: Successful applicants will be informed by email to their designated point of contact.

 

Post-award support

The MakRIF program intends to solicit the support of business incubators and idea development labs to support selected awardees by building their capacity in innovation scaling and research translation. Specifically, MakRIF will aim to provide the following services post-ward:

Diagnostic evaluation to identify transition-to-scale needs:  The selected projects targeted for scaling support will undergo an initial diagnostic panel evaluation to assess the stage at which their innovation is on the pipeline, gaps in implementation and their specific needs concerning transitioning to scale. This will enable the support team to identify their specific needs, both technical and administrative, and to support them to jointly develop a transition-to-scale plan for each innovator in this program. The process will be face-to-face or virtual depending on the prevailing COVID19 standard operating procedures per country. It is at this stage that MakRIF will identify the special needs for each project and the type of added support they need.

 

Acceleration support: Using the information generated from the diagnostic evaluation. The selected projects will then be taken through an acceleration support program, informed by the individual needs. Acceleration support will include: a) Further refinement of their idea/product to a minimum viable product (MVP) that is ready for scale; b) (1) Business and enterprise development training, development of a business and or financial model, and development of a market and user-outreach plan; c) cost analysis and determining cost-effectiveness; OR (2) Research Translation training for projects that primarily intend to scale policy/implementation recommendations d) (1) Development and implementation of fundraising plans including identification of suitable scaling grant calls and supporting them to write applications to potential funders OR (2) development of a stakeholder engagement strategy; e) Testing and adapting business models and revenue streams; f) Supporting them to register and launch their businesses; g) Supporting them to create visibility and critical linkages with scaling partners that can help them get their ideas to launch on a larger scale in communities; and h) supporting them to reach out to target users for continuous feedback on their product or service package. With the adequate articulation of the scalable components of the supported projects, the program will support the market launch of the products/services in the target audiences. The type of launches and other communication strategies will be project-specific. This process will allow projects to transition from start-ups to independent enterprises. These activities will be implemented together with the scaling partners identified in the acceleration process. As part of the acceleration phase, the innovators will be linked to specific experts or mentors of two types i.e., technical in their line of projects and business development. Technical mentors will be identified from the pool of local experts available at Makerere University and other partners institutions. Business-related mentors will be identified from relevant private or public sector entities.

Grant timeline:

Milestone Date
Issuance of RFA  Friday 11th November 2022
Closing date for applications

Sunday 11th December 2022

Selection

Monday 12th December 2022 to Friday 30th December 2022

Award notification Monday 2nd January 2023
Induction Tuesday 10th January 2023

To submit an application, login to http://rif.mak.ac.ug/portal, select one of your multi year projects that has been completed and fill out the application form. 

Related Posts