Global Research Council (GRC) Africa Regional Meeting [2017]

The Global Regional Council Africa Regional Meeting is the flagship event that brings together Heads of Research Councils from around the World.

This meeting was held under the theme Science Diplomacy and Merit Review. The regional meeting took place in Livingstone, Southern Zambia, and was co-hosted by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) of Zambia and the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) of Malawi. [Date: 24th November, 2017].

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The Host institutions NSTC of Zambia and NCST of Malawi were represented by their Directors/ Executive Secretary Dr. Alfred J. Sumani and Mr. Anthony Muyepa who welcomed the delegates to the meetings during the joint opening ceremony which was graced by the Minister of Higher Education Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo MP of Zambia and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Malawi Mr. Justin Adack Saidi who represented the Minister in the Ministry Hon. Bright Msaka. In his opening address, NSTC Board Chairman Dr. Henry Musenge welcomed the delegates and emphasized the importance of the meeting. Dr. Musenge said the GRC Africa Regional meeting and the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in Sub-Saharan Africa had brought together all Heads of Granting Councils in Africa to share information and data and best practices among the funding agencies.

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“Honourable Minister, this co-ordinated approach to co-host the GRC meeting will harness strengths and Competencies from Zambia and Malawi and further encourage Regional Co-operation and highlight Africa’s commitment towards a consolidated continental and regional science, technology and innovation to the global agenda,” he said. He further thanked partners who had worked closely with NSTC and NCST to ensure that the meetings were a success.

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National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa Chief Executive Officer Dr. Molapo Quobela, emphasised the importance of co-operation while Dr. Eunice Muthengi, Research Specialist, East Africa Research Hub, Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom said it was through investment in research that development will be accelerated and poverty reduced on the continent.
“We need to strengthen research capacities,” she said.

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Ms. Ann Weston, Programme Leader, Foundations for Innovation, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada expressed happiness in participating in the SGCI meetings emphasizing that Science was important to development.

In his address to the participants, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Malawi Mr. Justin Adack Saidi said the meetings which were being co-hosted by Zambia and Malawi were central to the success of Science and Technology.
“Science diplomacy is key to creating alliances,” he said. The Ministers representative also stressed that that Public Private Partnerships were important in the science sector.

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Hon. Prof Nkandu Luo MP of the Ministry of Higher Education, Zambia said time had come for Africa to give priority to research because research created knowledge.

“The Research agenda has to change,” she said.


The Minister however bemoaned the lack of private sector participation in research. “Time has come for researchers to be proactive and call on the private sector to invest in research,” she said.

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Meanwhile, Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships at the NRF, Dr. Aldo Stroebel emphasized the importance of partnerships and networks in the science sector. He said there was need to engage with the private sector especially industry.

“Partnerships are becoming prominent in research and therefore we also need to set up accountable systems,” he said.


Dr. Stroebel stressed that there was an increased activity in science and technology due to Pan African engagements. “Since 1996 science publications have quadrupled,” he said.

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After the opening ceremony, the SGCI Annual Forum kicked started with a session dedicated on effective Public-Private Partnerships in Research and Innovation in Africa. An open discussion and experience sharing on Public- Private Partnerships in research and innovation in Africa was made with Zambian Consultant Dr. Francis Ndilila joining the open discussion.

The key note presentation was made by Prof. Banji Oyelaran – Oyeyinka, former Africa Director, UN – Habitat, Kenya.

With several other presentations made by Scinnovent Centre of Kenya, NRF.

The Paper Presentations for the meeting can be downloaded below:

1. Dr. Alexander Usoltsev Presentation – Regional GRC in Zambia [Click]
2. Global Research Council Africa Presentation by Mr. Michael Bright [Click]
3. Global Research Council – Keynote Address (1) [Click]
4. Global Research Council – Keynote Address (2) [Click]
5. GRC – Discussion Paper on Merit Review [Click]
6. Global Research Council – Discussion Paper on Science Diplomacy [Click]
7. Keynote Slides by Professor Moja [Click]
8. Merit Review – Summary of Discussions [Click]
9. Science Diplomacy – Summary of Discussions_Africa [Click]