Evidence Informed Fellowship – Mini Grants

Evidence Informed Fellowship Mini Grants

Background and rationale

There is a broad consensus that an evidence-informed development agenda is essential for achieving long-term, inclusive development growth in Africa. This is reflected in both Agenda 2063 and the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) 2024. These frameworks call on African countries to significantly increase their investment in research and development (R&D) by attaining at least 1% of their gross domestic product (GDP). This investment is crucial for building Africa’s technical expertise, improving research infrastructure, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and creating a policy environment that propels “Africa’s transition to an innovation-led and evidence-informed knowledge-based economy”.

Furthermore, a critical need exists for both evidence-based policymaking and the effective sharing of this evidence across diverse African contexts, overcoming the bilingual divide that can be a barrier. In response to this, recent decades have witnessed a surge in research and policy activities across various sectors, particularly in health, energy, agriculture, science and technology, and more recently, climate change. However, research efforts on the continent remain fragmented, with limited capacity retention, opportunities for in-continent learning, and inadequate networking among researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. Additionally, challenges persist in publishing research and developing strong scientific leadership, as evidenced by the limited number of African-led research outputs. Compounding these issues is that most African researchers struggle to secure sufficient domestic and international funding to generate the empirically grounded evidence necessary for practical policy decisions.

It is within this context that ARIN established the ARIN Africa Evidence-Informed Policy Fellowship program. This program brings together fellows to collaborate on generating evidence and sharing lessons learned across the continent. However, even fellows face challenges in securing opportunities and funding to pursue demand-driven empirical research.

In recognition of the persistent funding constraints faced by many talented African scholars with significant research potential, ARIN has established the ARIN Mini-grant and Mentorship Scheme. This initiative directly addresses the dearth of opportunities and budgetary limitations hindering in-depth contextual analyses across diverse African regions and countries.