The Federal Government of Ethiopia has made research funds available to public Higher Education Institutions to enable University Staff members to do problem-solving research and produce scientific knowledge in various disciplines and enhance their careers and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. The government has made the funds available with the intention of increasing the involvement of staff and postgraduate students in research and technology exchange with communities, which is aimed at supporting the Growth and Transformation Plan of the country.
In line with this, Haramaya University (HU) has been offering research funds for its staff members to engage in problem-solving and innovative research in a thematic research approach. The Office of Research Affairs has been funding research projects under five research categories: HU Regular Research Grant (HURG), HU Innovation Fund (HUIF), HU Knowledge Transfer (HUKT), HU Women Grant (HUWG), and HU Special Support (HUSS).
In the 2021/22 fiscal year, the office initiated a new scheme known HU Grand Challenge Research Grant (HUGG) aimed to fund research undertaking that tackles some of the biggest/grand challenges facing society today (i.e. most pressing local and/or national societal problem) with more impactful results. The grant scheme promotes multi/transdisciplinary research with relatively large budgets and professional networking involving senior researchers alongside early career researchers or recruiting graduate students.
The grant was designed to address problems with the other grant-awarding system, which was often complained about by many as not producing impactful results up to expectations, as most of the projects awarded are small-scale with limited funding within in the short-term, leading to a high-risk of incompleteness. It is also believed that this reduced the participation of experienced researchers in the HU research grant competition. In addition, the research projects are not crossing traditional boundaries between fields and disciplines that do not guarantee interconnectedness. Although the University set forth its research priorities under six thematic areas to integrate research endeavours for synergized impacts on societal development and to enhance the quality of education, the approach of conducting research and extension has still remained partly piecemeal.
Objective of the call
The aim of Haramaya University Grand Challenge Research Grant (HUGG) is to foster multi/transdisciplinary research collaboration across all colleges and institutes at the University; to support a multi-/trans-disciplinary, rigorous, and technically sound research projects that are relevant to the most pressing societal problem (grand challenges facing society) or generate new and ground-breaking research results. Besides, it is intended to offer researchers the advantage of studying the problems in-depth for knowledge and technology generation and transfer, as well as effective communication and application of reliable and relevant research outputs to produce an impact on society.
This call for project proposals will fund projects that:
- have the potential to address the most pressing local and/or national grand challenge leading to solutions with substantial .
- are innovative in nature, and generate new scientific knowledge, technologies and other discoveries, and generate high-quality publications that contribute to the University’s visibility worldwide.
- are multi-year and multi/trans-disciplinary combining competencies from different disciplines.
- have Research Group composed of senior staff and early career researchers with clearly identified roles and responsibilities. Alternatively, multi/trans-disciplinary large projects that can recruit PhD and/or MSc/MA students.