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UK teams invest in freeing up time for African researchers


UK teams invest in freeing up time for African researchers

Research in Africa is benefitting from a new approach to operational and administrative management aimed at building skills, freeing up time and ensuring research can flourish across the continent.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is supporting the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) to maximise the effectiveness of research across Africa with the introduction of a bespoke management programme called Research Management Programme in Africa (ReMPRO Africa).

The programme has been jointly invested in by UKRI, AAS,  the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and its Department of Health and Social Care, The Royal Society and Wellcome.

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI Executive Champion for International, explains: “Developing efficient research systems is a crucial, capacity-building component to ensure international development research delivers sustainable solutions for a fairer, healthier and more prosperous future for all. That’s why UK Research and Innovation is delighted to be supporting the African Academy of Sciences in its ambitious programme to transform research systems in Africa. This programme will enhance the impact of current Global Challenges Research Fund investments and promote further collaboration between UK and African universities as we all work together to address the greatest challenges facing the world today.”      

AAS Director of Programmes Professor Tom Kariuki adds.  “For years, African researchers have routinely been spending upwards of 80% of their working week on routine administration, working evenings and weekends to carry out their research. This can threaten the delivery, integrity and quality of research which is why specialist research management services are needed to free up their time.”

ReMPRO Africa uses four pillars to build the skills and capacities for African research to flourish: 

  • Leadership
  • Sustainability
  • Standards
  • Development of Individual Capacity

These ensure there are systems in place for strong research to thrive, there are mechanisms in place to ensure that institutions can support their own research management functions, regardless of funder or government support, there are common standards and best practices recognised by both institutions and funding partners and that there is an appropriate infrastructure of networks and training opportunities to promote professional research management career pathways.

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