Request for Proposals: Deepening Knowledge and Implementation of Research Ethics in the African Context

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Request for Proposals: Deepening Knowledge and Implementation of Research Ethics in the African Context

About the SGCI

The Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) is a multi-donor Initiative with Phase 2 (SGCI-2: 2020-2023) supported by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The overall goal of the SGCI-2 Research Management project is to fortify the capability of Science Granting Councils in explicit areas of research management, namely research excellence (particularly the knowledge and use of tools such as Research Quality Plus framework), research ethics, emerging scientific practices (especially open data, open access and citizen science) Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP)  benchmarking exercise and development of online grant management systems (including databases of peer reviewers).

The Association of African Universities (AAU) and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) are the consortium partners for the SGCI-2 Research Management project. Both AAU and AAS are two continental higher education bodies with experience in research management. The AAU has participated in the SGCI-1 as part of the “Theme 3” Consortium. The SGCI-1 provided the AAU with invaluable experiences and lessons of working with and being part of activities taking place at the level of national science systems.

The SGCI-1 experiences and lessons learnt have been brought to bear on the SGCI-2 and are helping strengthen the capacity of Science Granting Councils to effectively and efficiently play their essential roles in research, knowledge and innovation.

Why the focus on strengthening knowledge and implementation of Research Ethics in the African context among SGCs

As part of the second phase of SGCI (SGCI-2) inception phase activities, the Initiative Management Team (IMT) interviewed 13 of the 15 SGCI Councils to better understand their individual research and capacity strengthening interests and priorities.  Twelve (12) SGCI Councils identified Research Ethics as a high priority training need.  SGCs in Sub Saharan Africa are not at the same level of maturity in terms of developing, implementing and enforcing research ethics practices.  Kruger et al. (2014) In their contribution to a book on ‘Research Ethics in Africa’ mapped the status of research oversight systems and practices in Africa and reported that research initiatives in Africa had not automatically been complemented by advances in ‘health research oversight systems and functional ethical review committees.  They decried that this had left the continent exposed to potential exploitative research funded by resource rich countries.   Against this backdrop, there is need to build functional research regulatory frameworks in Africa through strengthening research ethics committees and adherence to national laws and guidelines.  The SGCI-2 project work area on Research Ethics seeks to support national/regional studies aimed at deepening knowledge and implementation of research ethics in the African context. This work will be implemented in close partnership with participating Councils.  The lessons from these studies will be used to refine and strengthen the implementation of research ethics codes.

Specifically, activities in this work area will include:

  1. Identification and selection of themes for the national and regional studies.
  2. Activities to support research, information gathering and knowledge sharing.
  3. Publication of the national and regional studies including on factors that promote the involvement of women in research management.


The national and regional studies will be based upon using a participatory process to; prioritize the thematic areas for these studies; reviewing studies done in SGCI-1 of this project – e.g. the baseline studies; identifying the experts/consultants who will participate in other planned project activities.  It is expected that this action will lead to two (2) published national studies and one (1) regional study including one on gender transformative approach, as well as a study on the review of the Research Ethics oversight systems and practices in selected SGC countries.

The Scope of Work

The AAU-AAS are seeking a consultant to undertake national and regional studies aimed at deepening knowledge and implementation of Research Ethics in the African context.

The consultant will be asked to perform the following tasks:

  1. Identification and selection of themes for the national and regional studies
    1. Identify consulting partner to co-implement and deliver on work area and work with AAU to develop ToRs and contract.
  2. Identify the target SGCs and individuals for the studies
    1. Conduct stakeholders’ meeting to identify and select themes for national and research studies.
  3. Participate in project-wide activities to support, research, information gathering and knowledge sharing
    1. Identify target SGCs and Individuals for the studies.
  4. Facilitate on-line communication, surveys, documentation, as well as in-person desk study, conversations
    1. Conduct a desk review of existing literature in the selected thematic areas
    2. Develop data collection tools for the national and regional studies, pretest tools and implement surveys


Publish two (2) national studies and one (1) regional study including one on gender transformative approach, as well as a study on the review of the Research Ethics oversight systems and practices in selected SGC countries.


Profile required and Submission of proposals

 Consultant profile:

The consultant we are looking for should fulfill the following requirements:

(a)       Deep knowledge of the research ethics landscape on the African Continent

(b)       Broad understanding of the regulatory frameworks of Science Granting Councils in Sub Saharan Africa, including existing standards and best practice guidelines for the conduct of science, technology and innovation.

(c)        Excellent project management skills in an international work environment.

(d)       Excellent skills in conducting high level stakeholder meetings

(e)       Demonstrated skills in conducting Research Ethics studies in Sub Saharan Africa.


Proposal Submission Guidelines:

Proposals from bidders should include the following elements:

  1. a) A cover letter introducing the submission;
  2. b) An overview of the consultant, including similar past experience, names, bios and detailed CVs of the consultant(s) who will be involved in this project, outlining the relevant skills and experience;
  3. c) Three references from organizations with whom you’ve worked on similar projects outlining these past project deliverables and results;
  4. d) An overview of the consultant’s understanding of this engagement;
  5. e) Overview of the consultant’s proposed project plan, deliverables, timelines, milestones and outcomes;
  6. f) Proposed budget for the provision of the services, broken down by deliverable and timeline. The Prices quoted should be inclusive of all taxes and delivery costs, must be in USD and shall remain valid for (120) days from the closing date of the tender;
  7. h) Consultant(s) are encouraged to include any additional information they believe demonstrates added value for the AAU-AAS within the scope of this assignment.


Proposal Evaluation:

Responses to this RFP will be evaluated based on the following criteria. Successful consultants will be shortlisted and invited to an interview.


Clarity and adequacy of proposed project plan, deliverables, timelines, milestones and outcomes 15%
Cost 30%
Clarity of methodology used for review, assessment and recommendations 20%
Related project experience and qualifications of key staff proposed (provide staff profiles as well as evidence of having undertaken similar assignments in the last 5 years) 35%


Instructions on the Proposal Submission Process:

  • The RFP document may be downloaded from the AAU website on
  • Proposals should be submitted as PDF documents, strictly via email to and marked as follows in the subject line: RFP for Consultancy Services for Deepening Knowledge and Implementation of Research Ethics in the African Context.
  • Deadline for submission of proposals is October 15, 2020 at 1700hrs (East African Time)
  • Kindly encrypt your proposal with a password and share the password upon submission of the proposal.

Other Terms and Conditions:

  • The AAU makes no commitment to any consultant/service provider unless a contract has been awarded and signed by both parties. The AAU reserves the right to cease this exercise at any time. During the period of this activity, no contact should occur between any members of the supplier’s staff and any member of The AAU staff in relation to this exercise other than through the designated contact points as detailed within this RFP. It is however recognized that pre-existing relationships if any, shall be respected.
  • Travel and Subsistence – Where appropriate, any costs for travel and subsistence must be clearly shown in the proposal.
  • Independent Proposal – By submission of a proposal, the consultant warrants that the prices in the proposal have been arrived at independently, without consultation, communication, agreement or understanding for the purpose of restricting competition, as to any matter relating to such prices, with any other potential consultant or with any competitor.

Primary RFP Contact at AAS

Lillian N. Mutengu

The African Academy of Sciences Headquarters,

8 Miotoni Lane, Karen

P.O. Box 24916, Nairobi, Kenya

Telephone: +254 208 060 674 / 709 158 130 / 709 158 100


Primary RFP Contact at AAU

Ruth Issambo Dickson

Association of African Universities

East Legon , Trinity Avenue

P.O. BOX AN 5744, Accra, Ghana

Telephone: +233264183296/+233240118448

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