Thirty-seven national researchers, including eight women researchers, from Sierra Leone participated in a training workshop on ‘Preparing and Writing Fundable Research Grant Proposals’ at Njala University, 15 – 25 August 2016, organized in the framework of the World Bank's West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP-1C).
The rice component of WAAPP-1C in Sierra Leone is being implemented jointly by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) and Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI).
The workshop participants were staff members of the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Rokupr Agricultural Research Centre (RARC), the SLARI Statistics Unit, Teko Livestock Research Centre and the Kenema Forestry Tree Crop and Research Centre. The workshop was conducted by Professor Anthony Youdeowei and Rodger Obubo, International Consultant Trainers.
The workshop was fully participatory. It complemented theory with extensive discussions and hands-on practical exercises in preparing and writing actual research proposals to be submitted for competitive funding. Eight draft proposals were developed, four by NARC and two by RARC.
During the discussions, some critically important issues emerged which require the immediate attention of the organizations involved in implementing the WAAPP-1C in Sierra Leone.
- Donor Information - It was evident from
discussions with the workshop participants that there was serious lack of
awareness of calls for research proposals for funding African agricultural
research. The workshop recommends that SLARI considers establishing a ‘Donor
Intelligence Unit’ to collect and distribute regularly information on international
donor organizations that fund agricultural research and their calls for
- Research Proposals Review – There is lack of a systematic process for review of research proposals written by researchers. The workshop recommends an ‘Institutional Proposal Review Committee’ in research centers in Sierra Leone to assist researchers in writing proposals which would be endorsed by concerned centers before submission to donors for funding.
- Research Seminars – To further improve conceptualizing research ideas and writing research proposals, the introduction of regular institutional seminars would be valuable in reviewing the implementation of on-going research programs and research proposals. Research seminars could be organized within individual research centers or between two or more research centers. Such research seminars would promote and facilitate collaborative research, which is attractive to donors, as well as provide opportunities to strengthen researchers’ skills in writing winning research proposals.