Institutional gaps in grantsmanship culture and research management in higher education institutions (HEIs) in sub-Saharan Africa are well known. In many of these of HEIs, there is no entrenched culture of grantsmanship to drive a research and innovation (R&I) agenda for institutional development. Consequently, many HEIs are not competitive in the global R&D landscape, with detrimental effects on institutional visibility and ranking.
However, vast opportunities for grantsmanship exist within each country and globally. Thousands of agencies, foundations and institutions support R&D through competitive grants for the pursuit of scholarship within and across disciplines. In Nigeria, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund, www.tetfund.gov.ng) provides multiple grants for researchers across HEIs. Globally, some well recognized granting agencies and institutions include NIH, NSF, EU, Carnegie Corporation, Gates Foundation, IDRC, DFID, JICA, IFS, etc. A new paradigm is needed to leverage on these opportunities to build a culture of grantsmanship to drive the R&D agenda for institutional development.
Our overarching goal is to initiate and establish a community of practice (CoP) as a new paradigm to build and nurture a culture grantsmanship in OAU. Specific objectives include developing a functional web-enabled CoP for sharing knowledge, resources, processes, data and best practices on grantsmanship and research management in OAU, and inspiring grantsmanship and research management in the digital and ICT age through access to online resources, including tools and networks to facilitate the practice of grantsmanship among all categories of researchers and administrators in OAU.
Web contents present and describe a model for the implementation of a CoP for grantsmanship and research management in OAU. Details include: (a) Governance structure and membership drive for a CoP for grantsmanship and research management; (b) Design and operationalization of a web-site for a CoP for grantsmanship; (c) Deliverables; (e) Risks and risk mitigation, (f) Sustainability mechanisms for a CoP for grantsmanship. It is hoped that this web-enabled CoP for grantsmanship and research management will be a game-changer in the process of embedding grantsmanship for pristine scholarship in OAU, and in HEIs in Africa.
Funding for the development of this web-enabled CoP for grantsmanship and research management was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, through the International Research Exchange Board (IREX.org), under the University Administration Support Program 2021 Small Grant Scheme. This is acknowledged with gratitude.