UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Evaluating the impact of the Science Granting Councils Initiative across sub-Saharan Africa

24 September 2020

Researchers from UCL STEaPP have been working with the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences to assess the role of the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in strengthening science, research and innovation systems in nine African countries.

STECS team

The 10-month assessment, called SGCI Training Effectiveness Case Studies (STECS), explored the extent to which training, knowledge products and other forms of support from the SGCI have strengthened aspects such as research management, public-private partnerships, gender and inclusivity issues within the 9 countries which participated in the study. The countries included in the assessment were Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia.

The project also identified a number of measures that the funding agencies and beneficiaries could adopt to increase the effectiveness of training and capacity strengthening activities. The team used a mix of desk research and semi-structured interviews with the SGCs, SGCI partners and other key stakeholders, to identify the contribution and influence of the SGCI’s work in key areas of national science and innovation agendas. The project team have written two blogs based on the findings from the STECS project: Covid-19 : How much do local science system capabilities matter in Africa and Science-as-unusual in a post-Covid-19 pandemic world?

The team are now in the process of conducting a follow-on study, STECS Plus, which will focus on how capacities developed through the SGCI have informed and contributed to national responses to Covid-19.

The SGCI is a multi-funder initiative launched in 2015 with the overall goal of strengthening the capacities of national science granting councils (SGCs) in 15 participating sub-Saharan African countries through support for research and evidence-based policies that contribute to the social and economic development goals of the countries. The assessment forms part of the SGCI’s on-going monitoring, evaluation and learning activities.

The STECS project team includes Dr Julius Mugwagwa, Dr Carla Washbourne and Remy Twiringiyimana from UCL STEaPP, and Dr Anne Marie Kagwesage, from the University of Rwanda.


The University of Rwanda