Call for Applications Round 5: FY 2023/24

 Call for Applications Round 5: FY 2023/24

MakRIF Round 5 Call for Applications



A1. 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 2023/24 will be the fifth 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. The fund is therefore aimed at complementing available funding to address unfunded priorities critical to accelerating development. Over the last four Financial Years (2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23), government appropriated 105.5 Billion Uganda Shillings. Between the four years, MakRIF has funded a total of 1,028 projects across all sectors critical for development, of which 457 have been completed. During the Financial Year (2023/24), Makerere University expects to receive about 25 Billion Uganda shillings (US$ 6.8 million) under the Government Research and Innovation Fund (RIF). Of this, at least five (5) Billion Shillings will fund new ideas that respond to a widely consultative Research Agenda focused on national priorities while the rest will fund continuing projects from previous financial years, extension of multi-year projects, needs based priorities, and commercialization/scaling of prior funded projects. The Makerere University Research and Innovation Grants Management Committee (GMC) therefore announces the RIF Round 5, Track 1 (New Research & Innovation Agenda-Based Grants). Available funds are obligated for the Financial Year 2023/2024. The GMC therefore invites applications with original ideas that demonstrate a clear link to key thematic areas of the National Research and Innovation Agenda.

A2. Research for Economic Development

To transition to middle-income status, low-income countries must increasingly invest in research and innovations that provide solutions to persistent development challenges. Universities should be at the fore-front of driving this research agenda. The Government of Uganda is currently implementing the 3rd National Development Plan (NDP) (2020/21 – 2024/25). However, the NDP and sector specific plans require research to fill evidence gaps. The main objective of the RIF is to support R&I initiatives that contribute to better delivery of National Development initiatives in all sectors critical to the economy.

A3. Scope and Technical Description of the Research and Innovation Grant

The RIF GMC’s terms of reference include development of an instructive research agenda as the basis for identifying funding priorities. The GMC conducted a comprehensive stakeholder consultation to identify priority thematic areas of interest for national development. These consultations included meetings with representatives from key government sectors, semi-autonomous government agencies, the private-for-profit sector and civil society. The GMC triangulated this information with that from the National Development Plan III, the Makerere University Strategic Plan and Research Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the critical areas in the National Budget for FY2023/2024. The RIF Round 5, Track 1 (Research & Innovation Agenda-Based Grants) will therefore specifically target research and innovation projects that align with priority thematic issues in the instructive Research Agenda that arose from these consultations. Research and Innovation ideas are therefore sought in the following thematic areas:

The Government Research & Innovation (R&I) Grants will cover all technical disciplines in Makerere University as long as the research questions align with the instructive research agenda themes above. Particular attention will be paid to unfunded priorities, those for which funding has been inadequate, or for which available funding only covers one or a few of the components needed to inform development initiatives in a holistic way. This grant is not primarily meant to supplement existing research projects that already have funding from other sources. However, researchers can apply on the platform of existing projects if they provide a strong justification that there are important funding gaps in the current research project and the added deliverables expected from the additional support to the existing research effort. This grant also emphasizes a multi-sectoral approach. Research groups are therefore encouraged to work with other sectors that complement their technical focus.

A4. Categories and size of grants to be issued:

Grants will be issued in the following categories:

Res= primarily research/research ecosystem-based; Innov= primarily Innovation-based


* The R&I Grants Management Committee reserves the right to determine/change the number and size of awards based on prevailing circumstances informed by demand, quality of applications, availability of funds and level of utilization of funds by grantees. 50% of all awards will go to research or ecosystem strengthening projects while 50% will go innovation-based projects.

**Experience from earlier RIF calls showed that most applicants (Over 50%) target Category 1 which makes it highly competitive; Applicants for RIF-5 are encouraged to consider all categories.

***Researchers who have applied for RIF funding in the past but have never been funded are STRONGLY encouraged to apply for this round

**** Junior Faculty Researchers are encouraged to apply. (Junior Faculty are not defined by age, but by rank and research experience. They are researchers at the rank of Lecturer or below, researchers with less than 5 years of experience in research/innovation or less than 2 years as independent researchers/innovators or have never been PIs for a research/innovation project greater than US$ 100,000 (or 365 Million Uganda Shillings).

A5. Grant principles

This grant is guided by the following principles:

  • A commitment to results and impact: This grant is committed to results and impact. The expectation is that researchers will address the most pressing development issues and that the findings generated from the research and innovation activities supported by this grant will be of use to policy makers, program implementers or the private sector. Research teams ought to demonstrate attainment of tangible and useful deliverables within 1 year of implementation, including projects that require multi-year funding.
  • Equity and inclusion: Measures will be taken to ensure that all Colleges will benefit from the fund. The GMC will also ensure that women researchers and junior faculty are well represented in the grant portfolio. However, equity will not mean equal allocation, because 1) MakRIF aims to fund the best and most impactful research proposals and competition is at the center of its approach, and 2) the nature, capacity and cost of research and innovation initiatives differs markedly across disciplines.
  • Multi-disciplinarity: The development challenges we are seeking to solve require more than the effort of one sector. It is therefore important that researchers demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach to the research-to-translation continuum, reflected through the problems selected, the technical proposals, and their team composition.
  • Accountability and utilization of funds: To protect the University’s and the researchers’ reputation and ensure continuity of this funding, accountability for the RIF will be of utmost importance. All funds disbursed should be accounted for in a timely way and to acceptable standards (both financial and implementation-wise). The GMC will therefore regularly track all awardees’ performance. Researchers with substantial accountability arrears and those who do not utilize allocated funds will, be temporarily stopped from accessing these funds in the future.

Download the Call Document: Call Document

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