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International Development Research @ Cambridge


This call for proposals challenges universities as well as public and private stakeholders to develop and implement novel ways of delivering quality and relevant training and research in engineering and applied science fields.

IDRC seeks to bridge the gap between the supply of, and demand for, research and training in applied science fields to support direct applications to socioeconomic development at the regional and national scales.  In particular, this call for expressions of interest targets applicants along two distinct streams:


1. Industrial research hubs: partnerships for a new applied research agenda; value: up to CA $600,000 over four years. 

  • This stream targets research-intensive universities in West and Central Africa who seek to strengthen linkages with public or private firms (or associations, intermediaries, etc.) to develop mutually beneficial research and training activities. 
  • Matching funds (cash or in-kind) are required, either from the collaborating firms, the university itself or from other national, regional or international funding organizations. There is an option for supplementary funding to support collaboration with a Canadian university.
  • The lead university must: be based in West or Central Africa; designate principal investigators with sufficient experience, expertise and access to sufficient infrastructure to perform research in a the selected field; have recognized advanced training programs in the selected fields of applied science or engineering, ideally at the Masters’ or PhD level, and ideally involving some existing relationship with public or private firms in this field.
  • The collaborating companies, associations, or technology intermediaries must have: existing links to the lead university (e.g., through internships, faculty exchange, research collaborations, service contracts, etc.); a strong presence in West or Central Africa, preferably in proximity to the lead university.


2. Rethinking the engineering ‘ecosystem’: new pilots for building capacity in research and advanced training in engineering; value: up to CA $300,000 over three years

  • This stream targets research or implementing organizations (or consortia) who aim to inform how national or regional engineering systems operate in sub-Saharan Africa, by piloting new research or training modules, building new knowledge of the ‘ecosystem’ based on these pilots, and developing networks and partnerships that have the potential for scaling-up activities at a regional and a national level.
  • This call challenges these organizations to find new ways of addressing ‘systemic’ challenges to engineering research and education in Africa. This includes, but is not limited to: inadequate access to small and medium enterprises to relevant research; a lack of exchange opportunities (for students and faculty) with firms; a lack of uptake of research into public and private sectors; and inadequate engineering and licensure processes, among others.
  • Eligibility criteria: a strong presence, well-developed networks, and experience working in sub-Saharan Africa, preferably in more than one country; experience and expertise in fields such as engineering education, research policy, or higher education policy; experience working with national or regional policymakers, as well as key engineering organizations; and experience in administering funds, preferably on a competitive basis, for research and education.

This is a call for expressions of interest in the form of a letter of no more than 1000 words (an additional supporting letter is required from the collaborating institution in the case of Stream 1), in English or in French. Selected candidates will be invited to submit a full proposal (deadline: 10th December 2017).

For more information, please consult the complete call details here.

Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


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