Grant Opportunities

Grand Challenge to achieve Food Security and Nutrition in Africa: Call for Innovators and Organisations

Grand Challenge to achieve Food Security and Nutrition in Africa: Call for Innovators and Organisations

Deadline: 4-Dec-20

The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) is inviting proposals to address a new Grand Challenge: Promoting and facilitating innovative solutions to achieve Food Security and Nutrition in Africa.

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AESA is created through a partnership between the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

This call is focused on the SDG2 targets with the overall objective of enabling and fostering African innovators and researchers to work in local and global collaborative partnerships on the ambitious but achievable goals of accelerating knowledge generation, developing and deploying interventions and innovations that will advance the progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security and addressing malnutrition in all forms.

This call hopes to promote quality research and innovation to address these critical gaps and is a culmination of engaging leading stakeholders through a survey between July and August 2020 on the African continent to identify top priority areas towards securing sustainable food systems and addressing malnutrition.

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These grand challenge innovation grants will be issued and administered under Grand Challenges Africa (GC Africa), a programme implemented in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


The call aims to build capacities for Africa to respond to, mitigate and where possible, reverse effects of various challenges to achieving food security and nutrition such as climate change and variability, malnutrition, conflict, economic downturns and price volatility in markets, decline in yields, poor land and water management, including within the context of more recent complex and unprecedented issues of COVID-19 pandemic and locust outbreaks in some parts of Eastern Africa.
This joint initiative of GC Africa partners (AAS and Sida) also aims to nurture and strengthen the innovation ecosystem in Africa by supporting the development of sustainable research networks which will contribute in solving Africa’s challenges in Global Development and Health.
They want to develop a community of African leaders in research and innovation; strengthen the development of innovative solutions facilitating the resolution of challenges in global health and development that Africa is facing; reinforce research and training capacity in African institutions through skills transfer between international networks and partner organizations hosting the grand challenges projects; and facilitate sustainable multidisciplinary partnerships between research groups in Africa.
Key Areas

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Projects that will apply and enable adoption of new technologies, innovations and policies in at least one of the following key areas to:
Ensuring climate resilient food systems;
Promote technologies, innovations and agribusinesses to achieve food security and nutrition targets;
Address cross-cutting issues that promote food security and nutrition;
Achieve the nutrition and health targets of the African Union;
Tackle sustainable commercialisation and production of indigenous foods.
Funding Information

The Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) awards will fund projects up to USD $100,000 for a maximum of 2 years.
These awards are seed grants (phase I) meant to provide an opportunity to test particularly bold, proof of concept ideas, including applying approaches from outside the fields indicated for this call.
New approaches could be piloted as additions to ongoing projects. Winners of the GC Africa-FSN grants will have an opportunity to apply for follow-on, transition to scale funding in future but please note that support for phase II funding is NOT part of this call.
What they are looking for?

Projects that will apply and enable adoption of new technologies, innovations and policies in at least one of the following key areas to:

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Ensuring climate resilient food systems;
Promote technologies, innovations and agribusinesses to achieve food security and nutrition targets;
Address cross-cutting issues that promote food security and nutrition;
Achieve the nutrition and health targets of the African Union;
Tackle sustainable commercialisation and production of indigenous foods;
Projects should aim to develop innovations or interventions that address at least one aspect of food security and nutrition (access, availability, utilisation and sustainability) or provide novel evidence-based ways to strengthen and promote effectiveness of these aspects for existing solutions. Such solutions may include but are not limited to models, strategies, tools, services, technologies and processes;
They seek ideal solutions that apply a deeper understanding of the end user and consider the contextual constraints of implementation;
Projects must be relevant to strengthening food security and nutrition systems and may target key stakeholders such as individuals, families, communities, farmers, service providers and components of food infrastructure, networks, and systems.
Examples of what they will consider funding for- innovations that:

Highlight and enhance interventions that increase resilience of agri-food systems to climate related shocks (drought, pests, floods or pandemics such as COVID-19 etc).
Provide accessible and acceptable options for scaling up climate smart agricultural practices e.g. reduce emissions from agriculture, prevent loss of biodiversity, prevent soil degradation and soil nutrient depletion etc.
Investigate agricultural practices that can reverse the negative impacts of intensive agriculture while at the same time combat acute and chronic food insecurity.
Develop measures for access of nutrient dense and affordable foods by low income communities to tackle multiple burdens of malnutrition (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity) while mitigating against negative impacts of dietary transition.
Target activities that mitigate community-specific constraints to improving the nutrition status of specific groups – infants, children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, elderly, ill individuals or convalescents etc.
Research the potential for indigenous food systems in preventing the surge of non-communicable diseases, micronutrient deficiencies, wasting, undernutrition, obesity, and overweight in Africa.
Prioritize policies that promote access and affordability of nutritious food by vulnerable groups.
Promote use of agriculture, food and nutrition as a factor for socioeconomic development; equity and inclusion; stability, and for ensuring peace and security.
Develop structures that promote advances in agrifood systems, homegrown solutions to food insecurity, training facilities for new generations of actors in the agrifood systems e.g. young farmers, traders, innovators, researchers, etc.
Identify strategies to improve productivity in indigenous agrifood systems including indigenous crops and livestock.
Identify support required for the development of the seed production sector for nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables as well as underutilized and indigenous foods including livestock production.
Research market value chains for indigenous foods, their safety and efficacy testing including marketing and consumer perceptions.
Build diversified and sustainable food systems that promote dietary patterns high in nutrient density (e.g. fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, insects etc.) and demote patterns of highly processed, energy-dense, low-nutrient food.
Promote technologies/innovations that minimize pre-harvest and post-harvest losses and/or general food waste through consumption patterns e.g. food storage, recycling technologies, dietary patterns etc.
Promote innovations that decrease contamination of food e.g. aflatoxins and other sources of foodborne diseases.
Promote sustainable animal husbandry practices that can reduce infections and dependence on antibiotics.
Eligibility Criteria

The call is open to innovators working in African based, domestic organisations, international organisations, government agencies, research and academic institutions.
Please note that this call is open to both non-profit and profit making organisations.
Criteria for Success

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Criteria for success will include solutions that:

Could contribute to a portfolio of funded projects that addresses a country’s key priorities or regional challenges.
Clearly incorporate measures of success reasonable for the timespan of the grant (24 months).
Incorporate multiple areas of innovation or broaden toolkits of interventions, especially sets of interventions targeting combinations of outcomes spanning the spectrum of objectives outlined for this call.
Have a project plan whereby after two years- the end of phase I grant period- grantees will be in a position to explore how the results from their project could inform the design of a more extensive collaborative package of work that can be submitted for phase II funding.
Address well identified barriers and constraints which will be solved by implementing locally relevant programs.
Explain how proposed innovations and interventions will eventually be tested in communities so that they have the highest likelihood of being relevant for implementation more broadly in the country’s systems.
Provide data or evidence for effective food security and nutrition solutions.
Address inequities in food security and nutrition.
May potentially build on existing partnerships, which will be essential to achieve results at scale.
Evaluation and Selection Criteria
Proposals will be submitted in accordance with the Rules and Guidelines. The evaluation consists of a three-stage formal assessment by GC Africa involving an initial eligibility check, external international expert review and final committee decision.
Some of the variables that will be assessed during the initial evaluation include; completeness of the application documents, relevance and response to the call requirements, application from an African institution, with the grantee either a citizen or resident of the host country. Only proposals meeting eligibility criteria will be submitted for expert review for content and quality. on the basis of:
Scientific and technical excellence;
Judicious use of project resources.
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