Catalyze Impact via Africa-led Implementation Research Platforms
April 2022 - April 2022
One of the focal thrusts of the APHRC 2022-2026 strategic plan is engagement in initiatives that impact on the R&D ecosystem in Africa by strengthening institutional capacities of our delivery partners to undertake Implementation Research (IR) as a basis of problem-solving and decision-making based on research evidence.
Catalyze Impact via Africa-led Implementation Research Platforms is the first among the initiatives designed to increase the number of African universities and research institutes that effectively test, and adopt evidence and innovations generated from health research as global public goods to achieve health impact.
The initiative is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Recent analysis shows that less than 10% of the Foundations research partners are African Institutions, yet Africa faces the most pressing human development needs. Consequently, APHRC has been tasked to work with African universities’ and research institutes’ inclusion and effective participation as direct grantees.
To do this, we need to raise the visibility of African researchers and academic institutions, drive the adoption of research and innovation on the continent and contribute to evidence-generated policy change.
A major outcome will be a strengthened ecosystem for implementation research in Africa, anchored on a network of highly capacitated academic and research institutions on the continent.
In terms of impact, the initiative is expected to deliver the following:
- Greater visibility for African researchers and academic institutions as drivers of adoption of research and innovation, evidence generation and policy change. We envisage an increase in the number of African-led, large-scale initiatives that drive policy discourse at national and regional level and in the number of African universities/research institutes in structured formalized advisory roles for their respective governments;
- More African-led IR initiatives aligned with the Foundation’s priority areas as well as local, national and regional research priorities;
- A strong network of health innovators and stronger connections between academic and research institutions, decision makers and the private sector that drive adoption of innovations and evidence-driven changes in policy and practice;
- A more enabling IR environment for African women and men academics and researchers through the establishment of learning, support and networking platforms; and
- Cross-cutting continent-wide platforms accessible to researchers and academics in Africa for: learning and knowledge exchange; greater data access and use; strengthening IR practice and faster uptake of innovations.
The project has been designed in two phases beginning with a 15-month formative phase and followed with a 48-month implementation phase.
During the ongoing formative phase, consultations are being held with universities and research institutes on:
- Designing and running a matching service between universities/research institutes based in all the regions of Africa and funding agencies for R&D;
- Configuring and running Africa-wide platform-based capacity building for universities/research institutes based in all of Africa’s regions, to increase their capabilities to do more and perform better on a sustained basis along the spectrum of implementation research;
- Designing and developing prototypes in selected countries, to link country decision-making systems with national research systems for adoption/scale-up of R&D innovations; and
- Strengthening the African innovation-research ecosystem by developing and deploying connectors – platforms that have cross-cutting benefits to researchers and decision makers.