What is GCRF Africa Catalyst?

Who can apply?

How do I secure a UK partner and who is eligible to be a UK partner?

How do I apply?

How much funding can I apply for?

What can the funding be used for?

What can the funding NOT be used for?

Further information


What is GCRF Africa Catalyst?

GCRF Africa Catalyst is a programme with an aim to ensure that there is sufficient, and appropriately skilled, local engineering capacity to participate in and drive national and regional development in sub-Saharan Africa. The programme if focusing on strengthening Professional Engineering Institutes and other organisations working to ensure appropriate accreditation, professionalism and opportunities for local engineers in Africa.

The Academy is also looking to improve the evidence base for the role robust engineering institutions play in driving development.

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Who can apply?

The lead applicants for the grants have to be a not-for profit organisation based in one of the 49 eligible countries, working together with a UK partner. All applications are to be submitted by the lead applicant and not by the UK partner, although applications can be co-written. 

UK organisations with registered sub-Saharan branches and local staff are welcome to apply as long as the application are driven by and submitted through the African section.

African Universities are also eligible to apply, although it is encouraged to look at the Academy’s Higher Education Partnership programme (HEPSSA) and consider whether this is a more suitable programme.

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How do I secure a UK partner and who is eligible to be a UK partner?

The Global Challenges Research Fund encourages a UK partner involvement within the GCRF Africa Catalyst programme.

The UK partner must be justified by the value it adds to the project. However, the role that the UK partner plays is for the applicant to decide.

The best way to find a UK partner is to go through existing relationships. However, should the applicant have no connections or access to a UK partner, the Academy can help making introductions and create networks. We do not supply a list of potential partners, but can try to find suitable organisations to work with based on the applicants’ needs.

The UK partner can be anything from a University or an INGO to a consultant or a company, providing that it is a partnership (such as pro-bono training or secondments) and not built on any transactions.

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How do I apply?

All applications have to be submitted through our online grants system. In order to use the system, applicants must first register. For more information, please see How to apply.

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How much funding can I apply for?

There are 3 grant bands, outlined below. 

  • SMALL GRANTS: For projects between £30,000-70,000 carried out over a maximum of 12 months.
  • MEDIUM GRANTS: For projects between £80,000-160,000 carried out over a maximum of 24 months.
  • LARGE GRANTS: For projects of up to £300,000 carried out over a maximum of 36 months.

In this round of proposals, we expect to fund approximately two grants within each band. 

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What can the funding be used for?

All funds must be used for costs relating to the GCRF Africa Catalyst project, and all costs must be clearly outlined and broken down within the budget template.

The Academy is NOT requiring any match funding under this programme, and contributing funds to the project will have no weighting in the assessment of proposals.

Full cost recovery for projects are allowed, as long as those are accurate, justified and based on actual figures. Please use the comments section to outline calculations for administration costs, overheads and currency fluctuations, should you wish to include this in the project budget.  

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What can the funding NOT be used for?

The funding cannot be used for activities, staff or travel unrelated to GCRF Africa Catalyst. All costs should be clearly outlined in the budget template and any variances needs to be cleared with the Academy.

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Further information

If you did not find the answer to your question on this page, or want further information please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Manager, Louise Olofsson.

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