Call for expression of interest in the creation of inter-ACE thematic network on Health

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April 4, 2020

Call for expression of interest in the creation of inter-ACE thematic network on Health

Through the ACE Impact regional project, targeting 12 countries in West, Central and Sahel countries (Burkina
Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Ghana, Djibouti), the World
Bank and AFD are financing 53 centers of excellence (ACE) competitively selected after an independent
evaluation, for a total amount of more than 350 million USD. AFD is financing ACE programs in Côte d’Ivoire,
Benin and Nigeria for a total amount of 78 million USD.

In this context and in accordance with the ACE Impact Project Managers, starting with the World Bank and the
Association of African Universities in charge of the regional coordination of the project, the AFD is granting
additional funding dedicated to the creation of ACEPartners, an inter-ACE thematic network on health-related
issues.

The ACEPartners project aims to:

  1. Strengthen research networking on common research health-related interests between eligible ACEs.
  2. Build sustainable Health Research Networks with a broader spectrum that goes beyond the current
    ACE frameworks by opening participation to non-core ACE actors (emerging ACEs, faculties and
    universities from ACE Impact countries, international research organizations, private sector, NGOs,
    etc.)

The IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development) will be in charge of the implementation of the project.
1. Objectives and Contents of ACEPartners :

1.1 Thematic Scope
The regional health network will be based around the following:
• Core actors: ACEs and emerging centers on common or complementary thematic areas, with an ACE in
coordination (through the recruitment of a coordinator financed by ACEPartners);
• First circle of academic and scientific partners, composed of faculties and laboratories from other ACE
programs, partner universities, research performing organizations (RPO) in the North ;
• Second circle of non-academic partners, such as NGOs, private sectors, foundations, etc.
1.2 ACEPartners’ Components
The ACEPartners project aims to provide and co-finance mobility grants, PhD scholarships, scientific events and
expertise in the following four areas:

Component 1: Strengthening Research Capacities
The networks will be expected to (1) define and implement a common scientific strategy through
applied research programs, (2) establish research teams which will be funded through research projects
whose calls for proposals will be launched within networks, (3) mutualize and optimize the use of
scientific equipment by ACEs (computing centers, databases, digital tools, etc.) and (4) design and
implement training cycles adapted to the needs of the scientific communities in order to increase the
skills of researchers on the following three pillars:

  1. Conduct and publish their research (workshops for writing scientific articles, bibliographic
    research, research methodologies…),
  2. Fund their research (grant writing, lobbying in specific fields of research),
  3. Promote and disseminate their research (media training, expertise, maximize research results and impacts) in partnership with the private sector.

Component 2: Strengthening Higher Education Training Capacities
Networks will be expected to (1) create joint training programs (master’s programs, doctoral schools,
continuing education…) for the reinforcement of existing training programs and their adaptation to the
need of socio-economic partners, (2) bridge the gap between higher education and research (creation
of short and long inter-ACE training cycles at the regional level, workshops and thematic conferences,
etc.). A mobility program (thesis, master and exchange programs between academic and administrative
staff) will be implemented inside the network.

Component 3: Strengthening Innovation Capacities and Ties with the Non-academic Sector.
Networks will be expected to (1) involve relevant socio-economic actors in existing or upcoming
training and research activities through the use of innovative tools for analyzing the needs of the socioeconomic sector (round tables with companies, students / employers training bank, alumni follow-up,
social networks, doctoral programs). We aim for the creation of specialized academic modules and the
development of a policy of support for innovation and research transfer for students (creation of startups, business / research / student collaborations, etc.), (2) formalize services and platforms for
innovation and research transfer toward the private sector within the network and Centers (training
program for ACEs’ research transfer managers, implementation of multi-actors projects).

Component 4: Ensuring the Network’s Sustainability
Networks will be expected to (1) identify and respond to funding opportunities (call for research
project, call for expertise, etc.) from various financing actors (African and European Union, think tanks,
development banks, government, foundations…) and (2) develop resource-generating activities
(training dedicated to professionals, expertise, etc.).

Network support cost is estimated around 375 000 euros maximum per year over four year (1.5 M EUR
total). Support will comprise four types of activities: expertise through missions and services,
scholarships, scientific events and outputs.

Fiduciary management (and all procurement – equipment, scholarship, services) will be undertaken by the
IRD. ACE involved in the thematic network will determine activities and objectives through its Workplan
(common scientific program, common events and training, targeted technical assistance, scholarships, etc.). The
IRD will mobilize its current procurement scheme and will launch new procurement in order to respond to the
thematic network Workplan needs. The IRD will also manage allocated scholarships.

2. Expected Impacts
The main objective of the network will be the enhancement of Research and Academic collaborations between
ACEs, whose impact will be subject to a review through an evaluation framework and a final independent
assessment. The Health Network will have specific goals in terms of (1) creating common training and research
programs, (2) workshop activities (3) collaboration with socio-economic partners, (4) external revenue
generation. ACEPartners’ goal is also to impact indirectly on ACEs achievements. 3. How to express interest:
Interested ACE should send a general description (4/5 pages max) of the proposed thematic network to the
following address: acepartners@ird.fr indicating:

  • The roles of centers involved in the network and potential network’s leader ;
  • The scientific, academic and partnership approaches of the network ;
  • How the network will help centers involved in reaching their DLIs ;
  • A general implementation plan (calendar and budget).

Deadline for submission: April 15th.
For any additional questions, please contact acepartners@ird.fr

 

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