Gov’t Allocates $30 Million for Research Funding

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley (centre), peruses a document with (from left) Director General, National Commission on Science and Technology, Professor Errol Morrison and Executive Director of the Scientific Research Council, Dr. Cliff Riley. Occasion was the launch of the Joint Call for Applications under the Jamaica/South Africa Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on April 19.

Story Highlights

  • The Government has committed $30 million over the next three years to fund high-quality projects in the areas of indigenous knowledge and water research.
  • The development comes under the Jamaica/South Africa Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which seeks to promote and support cooperation between the countries in the fields of science and technology.
  • “I expect, through the successful implementation of the chosen projects, a bolstering of our environmental and social sustainability will be achieved through scientific research and innovation,” he added.

The Government has committed $30 million over the next three years to fund high-quality projects in the areas of indigenous knowledge and water research.

The development comes under the Jamaica/South Africa Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which seeks to promote and support cooperation between the countries in the fields of science and technology.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon Andrew Wheatley, said the proposed projects must demonstrate the potential to create jobs, introduce new products and improve the quality of life for Jamaicans.

“I expect, through the successful implementation of the chosen projects, a bolstering of our environmental and social sustainability will be achieved through scientific research and innovation,” he added.

The Minister was speaking at the first joint call for applicants on April 19 at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew.

Calls for proposals were published in the Gleaner’s ‘In Focus’ section on April 16 and in the April 19 Observer. The call for applications will close on June 20, 2017.

Minister Wheatley explained that the joint research call aims to provide engagement opportunities for young researchers in Jamaica and South Africa.

He informed that the South Africa Government has allocated matching funds of $30 million for researchers in that country.

Director of Research at the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), Dr. Aisha Jones, said that a maximum of three high-impact projects will be funded.

She said the support will be made available from January 2018 to December 2020.

She explained that in Jamaica, any researcher employed to a higher educational institution, or to a public or private non-profit research organisation or unit, can apply.

Commercial and private educational institutions are not eligible to apply as the main proponent, but can do so as a partner. The Jamaican proponent or principal investigator must be in possession of a doctorate (PhD), she pointed out.

Similarly, in South Africa, it is open to any researcher residing in the country and who is affiliated with a recognised higher educational or research institution, such as a university or science council. The South African principal investigator must be in possession of a PhD.

Dr. Jones emphasised that each application must have a South African and Jamaican proponent or principal investigator.

Principal investigators in Jamaica must electronically complete an application form entitled ‘South Africa/Jamaica Joint Science and Technology Research Collaboration Call for Project Proposals 2018’, which can be found at the NCST website, www.ncst.gov.jm.

The form and supporting documents must be emailed in portable document format (pdf) to www.ncst.gov.jm and copied to ajones_ncst@mset.gov.jm under the subject SA-JA-Joint Call 2018.

The total amount of funding requested by the Jamaican partner should not exceed $7.5 million.

Funding will be paid in annual instalments of $2.5 million, to be used exclusively for research activities, commencing in 2018.

An additional $2 million will be allocated to cover the principal investigator’s participation in opening and closing workshops organised by the funders.

Meanwhile, Chief Director, International Relations Department of Science and Technology, South Africa, Dr. Isayvani Naicker, said the joint call will enable the scientific community in both countries to establish strong links and research networks in prioritised areas.

Grant application guidelines for both Jamaican and South African applicants can be found at www.ncts.gov.jm.

Persons requiring additional information on this call for application may contact Dr. Jones at 906-8433 or 920-4478.

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