TrustAfrica's ICBE Research Fund has just issued its fourth call for proposals, opening a new round of funding for scholars throughout the continent. In this round, we aim to support studies that shed light on policies and practices that can help ensure that the benefits of economic growth in Africa are broadly shared, paying particular attention to creating livelihoods and opportunities for the poor. We are focusing closely on issues relating to small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs. Our peer reviewers and pan-African jury will consider three pools of applicants seeking up to $10,000, $50,000 or $100,000 respectively. The deadline to apply is July 29, 2011.
Since 2007, the ICBE Research Fund has awarded $2.5 million to 70 research teams in 18 African countries. In our most recent round of funding, the third since the Fund's inception, we awarded grants to 16 winning entries. Research findings from completed projects can be found on our website, along with case studies about some of the research we have supported. Our newest case study explores the prospects for strengthening the retail sector in Botswana, based on a study carried out by researchers at the University of Botswana with ICBE support.
In a related effort, we will convene a communications workshop June 7-8 for selected winners from previous rounds. Set to be held in Kampala, Uganda, the meeting is designed to help researchers present their findings more effectively to journalists and policy makers. Participants will discuss challenges to engaging and influencing policy processes, develop a better understanding of when research is newsworthy and/or relevant to public policy, learn to prepare policy briefs, and practice pitching their findings to the media and influential policy makers.