Category Archives: funding/donor

Innovation in Africa

Article written by Stanley Kowalski from the  International Tech Transfer Institute, “Why America must advance innovation in Africa” tackles the issues behind why “An innovative African economy is in the best inter­ests of the U.S.

This is an interesting debate at a time when all public funding is being questioned.

Kowalski’s article says (emphasis added):

“The infrastructure, systems and resources that promote innovation will be the foundation for sustainable, knowl­edge-based economic development in Africa in the 21st century… Stulti­fied policy agendas must yield to dynam­ic strategic planning and coherent program implementation. Ad­ditional discussion and more money alone will not create a solution. In­stead, partnerships and programs must focus on promoting long-lasting outcomes, prioritizing capac­ity-building that generates a steady flow of essential innovations.

As Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and father of the Green Revolution, stated, “The destiny of world civilization depends upon providing a decent stan­dard of living for all mankind.” We must therefore stop viewing Africa as a chronic burden and start viewing it as the key partner in development for this century.” (…)

For full article download the PDF here

Funding opportunities for post-doc and PhD fellowships in various IP policy areas

I was sent this earlier today, and thought it might be of interest to readers.  A notice for post-doc and PhD fellowship at BIOGOV research unit Universite catholique de Louvain, Belgium.

“funding opportunities for post-docs and PhD Fellowships in the policy areas of global commons and global public goods, global governance, science and technology policy and international law, including intellectual property and access and benefit sharing…”

Please note, the deadline for application is: 15 September 2011.

You can download the full announcement here.  Thanks to the Bioversity Capacity Development Unit for circulating this notice.  This, and similar announcements have also been posted on the Bioversity International website.

Call for applications for 2011 AWARD Fellowships

The following text is from an email our colleagues in the Gender & Diversity programme sent out this week.  It is a call for applications for their African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) fellowship program.  Deadline is March 25th, 2011.

70 top African women scientists from 11 countries to be chosen

African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is calling for applications for its fourth cohort of fellowships. Up to 70 top African women scientists from 11 countries – including Liberia for the first time – who are conducting agricultural research in selected disciplines will be chosen. Application forms are available online at and the deadline is March 25, 2011.

“We are pleased and excited to offer this unique opportunity to African women agricultural scientists whose work is so critical,” said Vicki Wilde, AWARD Director. “Since our project began in 2008, almost 2,000 qualified women have competed for the 180 coveted fellowships offered, proving the need for a program that boosts the careers of women researchers. We expect to receive even more applications this year as we expand to Liberia and word about the benefits of AWARD spreads to women scientists and agricultural institutions throughout the region.”

African women working in agricultural research and development from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia who have completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in selected agricultural disciplines are eligible to apply.

The fellowships are awarded on the basis of intellectual merit, leadership capacity, and the potential of the scientist’s research to improve the daily lives of smallholder farmers, especially women.

AWARD’s goal is to strengthen the research and leadership skills of African women in agricultural science, empowering them to contribute more effectively to poverty alleviation and food security in sub-Saharan Africa. AWARD offers…fellowships focused on establishing mentoring partnerships, building science skills, and developing leadership capacity.

AWARD addresses many of the barriers, including a lack of role models and mentors, which prevent African women from playing a more active role in agricultural research and from considering a career in agricultural science.

Full application details, including application guidelines and forms to download, are available at Successful applicants will be announced in mid-July 2011.

Calls for proposals: Sustainable Crop Production Research to Improve Food Security

Spotted this announcement yesterday on that will surely be of interest to readers of this blog. “International research initiative launched to improve food security for developing countries

“Researchers are being invited to submit proposals for the Sustainable Crop Production Research for International Development Initiative. The closing date for applications is 31 March 2011. For more information please see

A new $32/M joint research initiative is to fund teams from the UK, India and developing countries to work on projects to “improve the sustainability of vital food crops”.

From the press release:

“The new initiative will place particular emphasis on improving the sustainable production of staple food crops across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. These include cassava, maize, rice, sorghum and wheat. By placing significant emphasis on these crops the initiative partners expect to be able to improve food security and quality of life for the largest possible number of people. “

Full details of parameters for the outline proposal applications can be read by visiting the BBSRC (bioscience for the future) website. Deadline for applications is 31st March 2011.

USAID latest commitment to global food security; remarks to the World Food Prize Conference

Earlier this month at the World Food Prize Conference held in Des Moines, the USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah made a speech.  “USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah speaks at the 2010 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue

Here are some extracts that I thought might be of interest:

“…we are focused on global food security in a way that, we have not been since the earliest days of the Green Revolution.

“…we are also working with the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research, or CGIAR, to support their new “megaprograms.” These programs focus on high‐potential research into new seed varieties, effective agricultural policy reforms, and better water and soil management practices. We doubled our investment in these megaprograms, making us the single largest supporter of CGIAR.”

He then went on to announce:

“…today I’m unveiling the Feed the Future Private Investment Center; a new public‐private partnership hub…

This hub will expand on existing relationships with multinationals and local businesses, and facilitate engagement with new private sector partners. Companies interested in joining this effort can e-mail us at”

According to an article on, “Green Revolution Within Reach in Africa

“USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said free markets and private investment are key elements of the Obama administration’s Feed the Future program, aimed at reducing hunger. He told the participants at the Borlaug Dialogue that a new Feed the Future Private Investment Center will begin operation in the program’s original 20 countries, 16 of which are in Africa.
Shah said that in Tanzania, for example, the Private Investment Center will offer loan guarantees to local firms that sell farmers seeds and process and transport their harvested crops. Shah said the guarantees equip the companies “with the spark they need to mature their businesses and grow their country.”

For more information:
Feed the Future

(sample implementation plans: NIGERIA. FY 2010 Implementation Plan
KENYA. FY 2010 Implementation Plan)

The World Food Prize

(Thanks to Victoria for sending me the link to the speech)

US Global Development Policy Plan: a strategic, economic as well as moral imperative

Obama made a speech to the Millennium Development Goals Summit last week that has been grabbing lots of attention.    During the speech he announced plans that have been described as “ambitious, even radical”.  Read the write up on Politics Daily website “Obama’s Radical Foreign Policy Plan: The Goal is Development, Not Aid” (thanks for the link Victoria)

For the video visit

A couple of quotes of particular interest are below.  For those who prefer to read the transcript of the speech visit

“Remembering the lessons of the Green Revolution, we’re expanding scientific collaboration with other countries and investing in game-changing science and technology to help spark historic leaps in development…

…Instead of simply handing out food, our food security initiative is helping countries like Guatemala and Rwanda and Bangladesh develop their agriculture and improve crop yields and help farmers get their products to market.”

The Food Security Initiative referred to is detailed on the White House press office website.  They say that on the 22nd September 2010:

“…the President signed a Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, the first of its kind by a U.S. administration.”

Included on the site are 3 policy docs on 1) Climate Change  2) Global Food Security and  3) Global Health Initiative.  The text for the Global Food Security can be access here

From this document:

“ The President’s global food security initiative manifests the policy in a number of ways:  … it engages traditional and non-traditional donors and the private sector to build needed multilateral capacities. The United States partnered with G-20 countries, developing nations, the World Bank and other multilateral organizations to establish the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, and mobilized public and private resources to scale up agricultural assistance to low-income countries. .

… it increases investment in and support for innovation by emphasizing research and development, and by improving the extension and dissemination of research and technology development to the hands of small scale farmers through new models of public and private extension; and

…FTF focuses on creating a foundation for sustainable economic growth by helping countries accelerate inclusive agriculture sector growth through improved agricultural productivity, expanded markets and trade, and increased economic resilience in vulnerable rural communities.”

It seems that in his speech Obama is using language about development aid in way that will resonate with the US voter.  Let’s hope that the U.S, and the rest of the International community can put in the extra mile(s) to reach the MDG targets.

“We must not fail the billions who look to the international community to fulfil the promise of the Millennium Declaration for a better world” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Development aid at the crossroads

The Financial Times has weighed in with a big picture analysis of the aid business.  “Development: Crumbs of comfort[1]

“The aid business is under pressure, and does not have a simple story to tell. As with other areas of economics and public policy, there are genuine disagreements over what to do and how.”

The article addresses the key issues and debates, including the value of small-scale monitored testing, the USA’s “buy American” policy and the increasing demand by donors for results.  The bottom line is that

“… the gathering (a UN meeting) will see not only much of the developing world falling short on most of the targets but the aid business itself fighting for increasingly scarce public money and under pressure to deliver.”

The FT looks at the MDGs and provides some useful economic insights that may help to better understand the complexity of the accord and measuring its success.

We have identified the key trends in previous posts, and it is increasingly evident that donors are looking for a higher level of impact and greater cost efficiency for less dollars.  The CG has been grappling with these issues over the last two years and there appears to be a consensus that the organization does need to engage more effectively with the private sector.

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP

[1] I had to register to view this article, but registration was free — Kay

Expression of interest; Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge in the Pacific

The following text is an email that was recently circulated for an expression of interest for a study. (Thanks Helen for forwarding).  Applications close on 15 July 2010.

The text of the email reads:

CTA/SPC Initiative:

Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge in the Pacific

Expression of interest are invited for provision of consultancy services to undertake independent, rigorous and detailed study to assist SPC provide its member PICTs with the appropriate tools to protect and promote traditional/indigenous knowledge, specifically within the context of the ITPGRFA, at the regional and national levels.

The scope of activities should include (but is not limited to);

*      A review of international, regional and/or national and/or local initiatives and best practices to comply with Article 9 of the ITPGRFA;
*      An assessment of SPC’s responsibilities and opportunities for addressing the protection of traditional/indigenous knowledge in relation to the ITPGRFA;
*      Consultations in three ITPGRFA Contracting Parties(including Fiji) through in-country visits to explore their understanding, application of and concerns around Article 9 of the ITPGRFA;
*      Consultations with key stakeholders at the regional and international level to identify areas for partnership and collaboration to advance the protection of traditional/indigenous knowledge relevant to PGRFA and enhance farmers’ rights in accordance with Article 9 of the ITPGRFA.

The consultancy services are to be provided over 25 working days to complete the first draft of the report to SPC for comments and feedback.  Five days will be allocated to the desk review, fifteen days to the field visits and five days to complete the report. SPC will review the drafts; recommend adjustments and other inputs for a second draft.  The consultancy should take place in July-August 2010.

Expressions of interest should contain the following information:
*      Details of the consultant including curriculum vitae, referees, past experience in this area of work and demonstrated ability to meet deadlines
*      A listing of previous similar assignments with fees received
*      Availability
*      Description of suggested methodology
*      Work plan with suggested timeline

For detailed Terms of reference, please contact Sushil Narayan at <>  or phone 3370733 ext, 226

Expressions of Interest should be sent to: Attention: Mrs Sushil Narayan, SPC, Private, Mailbag Suva Fiji,  Phone 3370733 ext 226,  Or on

Application close on 15 July 2010

Qualified and experienced women and Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply.


Agriculture expert picked to lead USAID

Keith Jones sent me this link:  (you have to sign up to access the archives, but it is free and quick). Rajiv Shah, who worked for the Gates Foundation and then served as under-secretary for agriculture, has been nominated to head USAID. This article observes that: 

“Shah’s nomination, which must be approved by the Senate, comes as the White House and the State Department are studying how to redesign a U.S. aid system widely viewed as uncoordinated and wasteful. In addition, Congress is considering overhauling the 1960s-era legislation governing assistance.”

…and provides a link to a speech that Secretary of State Clinton delivered at the Clinton Global Initiative. 

Shah helped to write this speech and you can read it by visiting this link:

Here is an excerpt from Clinton’s speech that may provide some insight into the future evolution of USAID: 

“After years of effort and billions of dollars, we have not achieved the lasting results we desire.  But we have learned some very valuable lessons.  We know that the most effective strategies emanate from those closest to the problems, not governments or institutions hundreds or thousands of miles away….And we know that development works best when it is based not in aid, but in investment.”

The White House press release announcing the nomination is at: And politico covered the story.  In this excerpt from the politico blog story, reference is made to greater collaboration:

 “Shah seemed to anticipate working closely with Clinton and USAID when he gave an interview to his hometown Seattle paper in May upon taking the USDA job. “There are times in history when presidents have succeeded in bringing together very powerful people,” Shah told the Seattle Post Intelligencer, noting that he was reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals.  “He anticipates the Ag Department, the State Department, and Agency for International Development ‘will work together as a team’ on food issues inside and outside America’s borders,” the paper added.”
 Aid as investment is a pathway that USAID has in fact been pursuing through its Global Development Alliance (GDA) initiative.  GDAs take a market-based approach to partnerships between the public and private sectors to address jointly defined objectives. The ICRISAT led West Africa Seed Alliance is receiving funding from USAID through a GDA.  In 2001-2009 USAID launched 900 alliances with 1,700+ partners, and reports that they have leveraged their overall investments by 2.7:1 as a result of Alliance member contributions. 

The nomination of a scientist who is also an agriculture expert and an innovator is good news for the CGIAR.  And the Change Management process has underscored the need for the “new” CG to leverage Center resources by forming partnerships to pursue shared goals. 

A new focus by USAID on investment and by the CG on partnerships suggests that if CG centers can be creative, there will be plentiful opportunities to build PPPs with USAID support and funding as Global  Development Alliances. 

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP                


Vavilov-Frankel Fellowship 2010 Call for Research Proposals * Deadline 8 November 2009 *

I received the following announcement from Bioversity International today; a call for research fellowship applications:

“Bioversity International is pleased to announce the 2010 Call for Research Proposals for the Vavilov-Frankel Fellowship. You can find all the relevant information (announcement, application form and guidelines) here.  The Vavilov-Frankel Fellowships Fund aims to encourage the conservation and use of plant genetic resources in developing countries by awarding Fellowships to outstanding young researchers to carry out relevant innovative research at an advanced research institute outside their own country for a period of three months to one year.  One of the two Fellowships is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Australia.”