Open Call for Mobility Grants under the BIOFISA II Programme

This call is open until December 2018.

Date of issue: 18 November 2015

Call ID: V6LFISA/2015/MFG001

Programme Description

The Southern African Network for Biosciences (SANBio) is a NEPAD Agency Flagship for collaborative research and development, and an innovation platform aimed to address Southern Africa’s challenges in health and nutrition. It is one of the five Networks under the Consolidated Plan of Action for Science and Technology (African Biosciences Initiative) and was officially launched in August 2005. The SANBio Network was reconfigured in response to the 4 Pillars and 6 Priority Areas of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024 – a 10-year strategy which is part of the long-term African Union Agenda 2063). The STISA envisages the accelerated transition of largely commodity-based African economies to innovation-led, knowledge-based economies. Such economies are underpinned by robust science, technology and innovation (STI) systems[1].

In line with STISA-2024, the SANBio Flagship and its supporting programmes are implemented on a regional multi-country basis outlined in the SANBio Business Plan. The Network is comprised of 12 of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Member States and operates on a Regional Hub (The CSIR in South Africa) and Country Nodes model. The current SANBio Member States are Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. SANBio aims to support positive and dynamic development and increase opportunities to distribute research results and multiply practical applications throughout the Region.

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Doctoral Research addressing locally relevant problems in Africa

CarnegieIn its efforts of transforming the African agricultural universities into world class training institutions, the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM)’s approach to graduate research grants encourages better university recognition of grass root demands.

The approach further encourages students to find solutions and innovations that work best for the smallholder farmers using up-to-date approaches to address agricultural problems. In 2012, the Carnegie Cooperation of New York provided research grants to doctoral students who are registered in RUFORUM regional doctoral programmes in Africa to facilitate research that is responsive to the African realities and be able to engage in solving the problems of the poor.

Through this grant, a total of 29 upcoming leaders have been rooted in African realities by training within Africa and working with African communities to provide solutions to the problems they face in their respective home countries. The research profiles of these doctoral students are summarized here.

RUFORUM Strengthens Partnerships with Finland, Norway and Sweden


A three person team from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) visited Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 9-18 November, 2015 to strengthen existing, and explore new partnerships in the Nordic region as part of implementation of the RUFORUM new Strategic Business Plan (2015-2020)[1].  The team was composed of: 1) Ms. Catherine Mloza Banda, a recent RUFORUM Graduate and staff of Farm Radio, Malawi; 2) Dr. Leif Christoffersen, a member of RUFORUM International Advisory Panel; and 3) Dr. Moses Osiru, RUFORUM Deputy Executive Secretary.

The RUFORUM Technical Committee was involved in planning and scheduling the trip whose main objectives were to: a) increase awareness of RUFORUM in the Nordic countries and particularly among the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and universities; b) explore partnerships with Nordic (Finland, Norway, Sweden) development and higher education institutions towards the strengthening of capacities of African universities, particularly the newer universities; c) identify partnerships for responding to opportunities such as the ERASMUS + Call for Proposals and other relevant Calls for Proposals and d) identify areas of alignment and future engagement between the Nordic countries and RUFORUM member universities for strengthening higher education in Africa.

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The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund 2016 – Call for Applications


The Biosciences eastern and central Africa – International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub, located in Nairobi, Kenya, is a shared agricultural research and biosciences platform that exists to increase access for African researchers to affordable, world-class research facilities. The mission of the BecA-ILRI Hub is “Mobilizing Bioscience for Africa’s Development” by providing a Centre of Excellence in agricultural biosciences, which enables research, capacity building and product incubation, conducted by scientists in Africa and for Africa, and empowers African institutions to harness innovations for regional impact. This mission is achieved by the BecA–ILRI Hub’s contributions to:

  • Research: enabling research to harness the potential of the biosciences to contribute to increasing agricultural productivity and to improving food and nutritional safety and security.
  • Education: contributing to the education and training of the next generation of African agricultural research leaders and scientists.
  • Innovation: promoting the development, delivery and adoption of new technologies to address key agricultural productivity constraints.

The BecA-ILRI Hub capacity building program is branded The Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF). The ABCF program operates in the critically important intersection between agricultural research for development (ARD), food security, and individual and institutional capacity building. The ABCF program is delivered through: i) a visiting scientist program (the ABCF fellowship) targeting scientists from African national agricultural research organizations and universities to undertake biosciences research-for-development projects at the BecA-ILRI Hub; ii) annual training workshops to support the acquisition of practical skills in molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, laboratory management, laboratory safety, equipment maintenance and scientific writing; iii) mobilizing national and regional capacities for joint action; and iv) supporting and strengthening the capacity of National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) to deliver on their research for development agenda.


The purpose of the ABCF fellowship program is to develop capacity for agricultural biosciences research in Africa, to support research for development projects that ultimately contribute towards increasing food and nutritional security and/or food safety in Africa, and to facilitate access to the BecA-ILRI Hub facilities by African researchers (and their partners).  We seek applicants with innovative ideas for short to medium term research projects (up to 12 months) aligned with national, regional or continental agricultural development priorities that can be undertaken at the BecA-ILRI Hub. Click here to read more.