What is the Africa Catalyst programme?
Africa Catalyst is a programme that awards funding to strengthen professional engineering institutions and other organisations who are working to ensure appropriate accreditation, professionalism and training opportunities for local engineers in Africa. The long-term aim of the programme is to ensure that there is sufficient, and appropriately skilled, local engineering capacity to participate in and drive local, national and regional development in sub-Saharan Africa.
My institution has previously been awarded funding as part of the Africa Catalyst programme. Can I apply again?
If you have been involved in a previous Africa Catalyst project (pilot, Phase 2, Phase 3 or Phase 4) and your organisation is located in one of the 39 eligible countries for this call, you can apply for funding to communicate, disseminate and exploit impact from that project.
Can we focus on the same type of exercise as we have in a previously funded project(s)?
Yes. We would recommend you provide context of your previous project for reviewer understanding and detailed justification for why the same type of exercise is needed again.
When will the next funding round be open?
Applications for the Africa Catalyst Phase 5 call are closed.
How long are the projects and how much funding is being awarded?
The projects are one-year in length and each project has two grant size options: up to £50k or up to £100k.
How many projects will you fund in the Phase 5 call?
The Academy will fund six projects as part of this call.
When will the projects begin?
The projects will run from January 2024 to January 2025. However, we appreciate that contracting will take some time and anticipate that projects will begin towards the end of January 2024.
Which countries are eligible for this call?
In line with eligibility criteria set by the UK government’s International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF), lead applicant institutions must be from one of the countries listed below in order to be eligible to apply. The Academy will consider applications from the following countries in sub-Saharan Africa only:
Angola; Benin; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Eritrea; The Gambia; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Lesotho; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mozambique; Niger; Réunion; Rwanda; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Western Sahara and Zambia.
Why is my country not eligible for the call?
The Africa Catalyst Phase 5 call will be funded through the UK Government’s International Science Partnership Fund (ISPF) which has stipulated which countries are eligible for funding. If your institution is based in one of the ineligible countries, and you would like to participate in the call, please complete the partner matching form on our website and we will do our best to connect you with partners with similar goals.
What is the eligibility criteria for the Phase 5 call?
- Projects should clearly align with the programme’s objectives and expectations of this call as referenced on page 3 to 5 in the applicant guidance notes.
- The lead applicant will represent and be a member of a not-for-profit engineering organisation based in one of the sub-Saharan African countries listed above. The Academy encourages applicants from underrepresented backgrounds in engineering, including women.
- Projects should work in partnership with at least one UK-based organisation. UK partners should have relevant expertise to add value to the project outputs and outcomes.
- Projects are strongly encouraged to collaborate with an in-country private sector partner to maximise impact.
- Projects will meet the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) objectives: promote the welfare and economic development of a country on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of ODA recipients; be designed to address a development need; and focus on a specific challenge affecting a lower income country. For further guidance on ODA compliance, please follow this link
- Applicants are expected to present a detailed plan for project activities and outputs, including sustainability plans for their project post funding.
- Projects should run between January 2024 and February 2025.
- Applicants should select one of the two grant size options and confirm their selection in the application form, as detailed below:
- Small grant: up to £50,000 for projects to be delivered over one year.
- Large grant: up to £100,000 for projects to be delivered over one year.
Is funding intended for more hands-on projects with on-the-ground results, or is it intended for more of a research/policy type of study?
Either! We don’t dictate the type of activities as we appreciate that the needs may be different in every country and context. For new projects, we are looking for projects that aim to:
Strengthen the internal capacity of Professional Engineering Bodies (PEBs) and/or
Expand the influence of PEBs at both local and national level and/or
Build the engineering talent pipeline with the necessary skills to respond to local challenges.
With per diems not accepted as eligible costs - what can we cover for our partners?
We can confirm that the costs of partner travel, accommodation and meals are all considered to be eligible costs.
Can UK partners be involved in multiple applications?
Yes, absolutely. We appreciate that institutions are large in size and there may be multiple individuals interested in participating in this grant call from the same institution. The same individual is also able to act as a UK partner on multiple applications; however, the decision-making panel will scrutinise if there is capacity for one individual to participate on multiple awards so we would encourage individuals to prioritise one application to be involved in.
Is there any objection to having additional partners from other countries?
No, not at all. We encourage additional partners from other countries to maximise the project impact. The most important consideration that the reviewers will be looking at is whether the partner has the skillset to support the project effectively.
Can my project proposal focus on both a new initiative and disseminating or communicating impact from a previous project?
Yes, absolutely. Our only word of caution is to consider carefully if there is budget and capacity to do both in one project.
Can we support universities in improving their engineering courses through the Africa Catalyst programme?
Yes. Africa Catalyst is intended to support professional engineering bodies to effectively promote the profession, share best practice and build engineering capacity. Improving engineering courses is directly linked to building engineering capacity. In future years, you can also consider applying to the Higher Education Partnerships in sub Saharan Africa programme.
Does the Academy have a diversity and inclusion (D&I) training module that is available for applicant organisations to use?
For the purpose of this call, we encourage you to refer to the Diversity and Inclusion Progression Framework Report 2021 for Professional Engineering Institutions, co-published by The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Science Council. This report along with the guidelines included in the Applicant Guidance Notes will give you the necessary tools to ensure the integration of D&I in your project design and monitoring and evaluation plan.
The Academy will provide support and guidance to successful awardees on embedding D&I throughout their project cycle in the form of D&I awardee workshops in 2024. Please refer to the applicant guidance notes on page 12. Successful applicants will receive further details.
You can also read the Academy’s D&I action plan and strategy for further reference. If you have any questions or require support, please email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should we have a separate D&I activity as part of our project plan?
You can, but this is not necessary. We are keen to see projects where D&I is integrated in all of the design and implementation plans.
What is meant by ‘outreach’ in the diversity and inclusion questions?
We are looking for projects that are outward facing in their approach, so that the impact is not only felt at an internal level. However, there are no rules about the extent in which outreach is conducted.