Developing a holistic and multifaceted approach to build and improve research management systems and capacity in African institutions
|Wellcome, FCDO, BEIS via UKRI and Royal Society, DHSC/NIHR
|Total UK investment
|African Academy of Sciences, Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AAS/AESA)
|Countries of focus
|Model/approaches to RCS
|Stand-alone through individual, institutional and systems strengthening
|Find out more
|Research Management Programme in Africa (ReMPro Africa)
Research management consists of any action that an institution can take to improve the effectiveness of its researchers, but which is not part of the research process itself. ReMPro Africa began in 2016 in response to a scoping study on research management in Africa.
ReMPro Africa is an AAS/AESA initiative in response to critical gaps identified in building the continent’s research and development ecosystems. The overall goal is to address systemic level challenges at African institutions in creating and sustaining enabling research environments. Five UK funders have collaborated to provide funding for this initiative. It addresses four interconnected strands:
Standards and sustainability
- Implemented the Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP) standard with over 300 institutions having registered and completed a self-assessment, providing them with a clear framework to improve their grant management processes, procedures and policies.
- The first draft of the Good Research Management Practice (GRMP) is complete against which institutions will be able to benchmark their capacities and improve their research management systems.
- Collaborated with ESSENCE to publish the Five Keys to Improving Research Costing and Pricing in LMICs (2020). The good practice document provides guidance and practical tips on improving research costing and pricing and is published in three languages.
Developing individual and institutional capacity
- Launched the International Research Management Staff Development Programme (IRMSDP) with the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) UK. It engaged 58 research managers and administrators (69% female) from institutions across nine African countries and the UK to enhance south-south and north-south collaborations, build mutual understanding, share knowledge and co-create resources for the wider research management community of practice. 47 open-access tools and resources for research management professionals have been developed.
- Supported regional research management associations throughout Africa, including the establishment of the Northern African Research and Innovation Management Association (NARIMA) to provide a platform for the promotion and use of best practices in research and innovation management within institutions in North Africa.
Success factors and lessons learned
- AAS/AESA’s reputation as a pan-African organisation and existing network with organisations in Africa and internationally provided leadership that is essential to driving the programme’s success.
- Systems level coordination through AAS/AESA is an effective and efficient way to strengthen research management capacity rather than through individual research awards.
- A funders group enabled AAS/AESA to engage with funders collectively, enhancing coherence, reducing duplication in reporting and supporting more transparent and open decision making.
- Stronger communication between UK and African research managers can provide the basis for strong research collaboration.
ReMPro Africa will finalise the GRMP standard to support benchmarking and capacity strengthening, develop costing and pricing toolkits that assist institutions with cost recovery, and strengthen and professionalise research management as a career in Africa.