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African science alliance AESA surveys UK aid losses


Research management, FLAIR and DELTAS programmes on the chopping block

The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, a research funding management organisation headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, expects three of its programmes to be hit by the United Kingdom government’s 2021/22 aid cuts.

The three are the Future Leaders – African Independent Research Fellowships; Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science Africa; and the Research Management Programme in Africa, which has developed standardised good grant management practices for African research institutions.

Judy Omumbo, senior manager for the the alliance’s postdoctoral and affiliates programmes, said the UK aid cuts would affect many African scientists. “Research projects will be slowed or halted midway and for many who had applied for funding, this means going back to look for alternative sources of funding,” she said on 14 April.  

She added that the cuts demonstrate the need for Africa to diversify its funding sources for research. “Africa’s reliance on foreign funding exposes its research ecosystem to governmental and institutional changes,” she said.

The cuts have to be taken seriously by African governments and the private sector, she added. “It is time for them to step up and save African science and scientists.”