National Research Foundation requests for application for COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund. Applications from women applicants, people living with disabilities, and first responders to COVID-19, as principal investigators are encouraged.

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new type of Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 respiratory disease) a global pandemic. This pandemic presents a significant challenge that requires a global response informed by the very best scientific research. On the African continent, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the WHO and the African Union are spearheading the continental response to COVID-19. Individual African governments have launched efforts to support prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Public funding agencies or science granting councils (SGCs) have a key role to play in facilitating responsive research and research-related activities in support of these efforts on the continent. Globally, the Global Research Council (GRC) has issued a declaration calling on participating councils to collaborate in the fight against the virus and encourages open sharing of research findings and data. Transparency will help ensure the development of diagnostics, vaccines and prevention measures for the benefit of every nation


The lead PI, i.e. the applicant, must be an active researcher, who will bear the main responsibility for the project, including its technical and administrative coordination as well as scientific and financial reporting. The lead PI must be in possession of a Ph.D. with a minimum of five (5) years of active full-time research experience at the time of application. The maximum amount per grant for a maximum period of 24 months is USD100 000.

Researchers and science engagement practitioners from the following countries are eligible to apply:  Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and in the context of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Nigeria and South Africa. For the research strand and applicable only to Nigeria and South Africa, only ARUA member universities will be eligible to participate. For the two strands on science engagement, practitioners across all the countries, including Nigeria and South Africa may apply.


The National Research Foundation COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund seeks to:

  • Contribute to the African regional and continental response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Support knowledge generation and translation to inform diagnostics, prevention, and treatment of COVID19 on the continent.
  • Strengthen African regional and continental science engagement efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Leverage existing, strong multilateral collaborations in support of Africa’s consolidated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and attract new collaborations from international partners.


Applications from women applicants, people living with disabilities, and first responders to COVID-19, as principal investigators are encouraged. In addition, diversity, including sex and gender differences, exist across all COVID-19 dimensions. Research and science engagement proposals must demonstrate considerations of diversity, including sex as a biological variable and gender as a socio-cultural factor in research projects and in science engagement approaches.

Applications must be submitted on the NRF Online Submission System:  Applications should be submitted

Applications should be submitted in English or French. Incomplete applications and applications received after the closing date (Wednesday, 17 June 2020, 24:00 Central Africa Time (CAT) will not be considered for reviews and evaluation.

Deadline: 17 June, 2020

Organizer’s Contact:

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