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Methodology

Contents

  1. Eligible countries
  2. Eligible fields of study
    1. People Empowerment
    2. Social service delivery
    3. Economic Development and Opportunity
  3. Eligibility
  4. Recruitment of staff
  5. Drafting the announcement and publicity
  6. Criteria for selection
  7. Selection of grantees
  8. Research methodology and scientific writing training
  9. Supervision
  10. Duration
  11. Disbursement of Research Funds to Students
  12. Value
  13. Relationship with the host university

Eligible countries
The countries that are eligible for application are the ESARO countries.

These are:
• Eastern Africa countries (Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seycheles, Somalia, Tanzania,Uganda);
• Southern Africa countries (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe).

Eligible fields of study
Applications for the research grants, both for Masters scholarships and Doctoral research, will be accepted for
research in areas corresponding to those of IDRC’s Acacia programme priorities or to the specific country’s
needs and priorities.
The themes and sub-themes for the Acacia programme are outlined below:
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  1. People Empowerment
    This theme will cover areas of research that particularly focus on the individual and ICTs, covering topics
    ranging from income generation opportunities; gender to intellectual property to privacy issues; censorship;
    local language access; and more.
    • Gender research. The theme concerns research to gain a more sophisticated understanding of women’s
    access and usage of ICTs in Africa, as well as the magnitude and evolution of the observed gender gap and changing
    gender relations in areas such as access and patterns of use; ICT literacy, education, and skills; and ICT employment.
    • Digital commons. This theme will support research on innovative models
    for the creation and use of content, as well as the production of knowledge-based
    products such as software. It will also support the development of researchers
    in this transdisciplinary area and especially the interests of lawyers,
    authors, librarians, academics, and artists, as well as entrepreneurs in
    stimulating the growth of alternative approaches to digital copyright.
    • Localization. Research under this theme will support work to make a difference by offering real solutions to specific problems in accessing ICTs
    and information and to develop evidence on what localization possibilities are
    feasible and on the benefits of ICT support of African languages.
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  2. Social service delivery
    This theme focuses on the question of whether ICTs have the potential in Africa to improve the way social services are delivered, reduce costs, increase transparency,
    and, facilitate devolution of government services.
    • Tertiary education and research. This theme will fund research work on research and education Internet infrastructure for tertiary institutions
    in Africa. It will focus particularly on expanding research and education networking in Africa, improving the effectiveness of policy interventions, lowering costs
    and improving access for African universities, appropriate technologies and the relationship between access to the internet and research capacity.
    • Local governance. Little work has been done to adapt emerging e-local governance conceptual and theoretical frameworks as well as methodological approaches
    to Less Developed Countries and African contexts. This theme will thus aim to build African research capacity and strengthen the quality and significance
    of applied research on ICT-enabled local governance in Africa.
    • Health. ICTs are a tremendous enabler of healthcare and can have a transformative effect on the health sector. This theme will fund research into
    the innovative use of ICTs (relevant software, content, and communication with small devices, e.g. mobile phones and PDAs) to improve healthcare in Africa.
    • New learning environments and practices. This theme will fund research that contributes to better a understanding of the educational uses of ICTs in
    the socio-cultural context of Africa; that produces evidence that can inform the main stakeholders (policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, parents, students,
    etc.); and that promotes the formulation and implementation of policies and reforms supporting the introduction of ICTs in the educational systems.
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  3. Economic Development and Opportunity
    Evidence of ICTs’ potential to combat poverty and promote socio-economic growth in developing countries is largely anecdotal. This theme will support
    research that leads to a better understanding of the linkages between ICTs and socio-economic growth.
    • Telecommunication and network infrastructure and policy indicators. This theme will fund research into strategic ICT infrastructure development
    for universal human development. In particular, research to be funded must focus, among other things, on universal access to ICTs and the related policy, legal
    and regulatory frameworks; on access and affordability of ICTs by poor communities; on across-the-board participation in the ICT sector; on mechanisms to influence
    ICT policy and regulatory processes; and on indicators for access, use and impacts of ICTs.
    • Small-scale agriculture. Agriculture and the harvesting of natural resources provides livelihoods for over 70% of the African population; access
    to appropriate information is known to be amongst the single largest determinants of agricultural productivity. This theme will fund research focused on informational
    resources and innovative ICT applications that can enhance small-scale agriculture.
    If an applicant has proposals with themes that differ from those outlined above, the selection committee will evaluate and judge the relevance of the research
    project to the specific country’s needs and priorities on a case-by-case basis.
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Eligibility
The awards are only open to citizens of African countries and who must be studying in African universities.
An applicant for the Masters scholarships will need to provide evidence that he/she has been admitted to a relevant Masters programme in a university in
one of the eligible countries. He/she must not be having any other form of support for the duration of the programme. The selection committee will verify information
provided by candidates on funding and will take an appropriate action in case an applicant has been found to have cheated. In addition, the applicant must
commit to carrying out his/her masters research work in one of the eligible countries.
Applicants for the research grants must be registered Ph.D. students in one of the universities in an eligible country. In addition, the applicant must
provide a proposal indicating that he/she will carry out research at their home university (if the program is offered there) or another African university in
one of the Acacia programme priorities outlined above or in line with their country’s needs and priorities.

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Recruitment of staff
A project assistant will be recruited to provide support to the project leader in managing the grants process. In addition, a selection committee made up of
five seasoned researchers and academicians from the region will be nominated to assist in screening and selecting candidates. Due consideration will be paid
to gender balance in the selection process. IDRC Program Officers from Acacia and the Awards Unit will sit on the committee as observers.
The members of the Committee will be chosen among those with a lot of experience as well active in research in ICTs and development. It will also be done in
such a way that there is regional balance. The deliberations of the Committee will be guided by the following guiding principles: transparency, fairness,
promptness, regional balance and gender balance in the grantees.
The Committee members will be paid through consultancies while supervisors will have contracts with the University of Nairobi.

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Drafting the announcement
and publicity

The drafting of the awards announcement will be in thematic areas based on
Acacia’s 10 core themes. This announcement will elaborate the evaluation
criteria for selecting the awardees. The announcement will go via print and/or
e-mail to Universities in the ESARO region, popular e-mail lists, educational
blogs and on both the IDRC and University of Nairobi websites, and writing directly
to the Deans or Directors of the Faculties or Schools that have postgraduate
programmes in ICTs and development. It will target potential Masters degree
students and on-going Ph.D. students.
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Criteria for selection

Doctoral research awards and the Masters scholarships will be granted through
a regional competition. Applications will be evaluated according to criteria
to be agreed upon by the Selection Committee. In general, these criteria will
include academic quality of the candidate and relevance to the Acacia themes.
In particular, the criteria for the doctoral awards will include completion
of all coursework (if relevant); passing of all examinations; approval of the
research proposal by the supervisor; and the quality of research proposal (for
doctoral awards). Special consideration will be given to applicants from small
countries with little ICT research capacity.
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Selection of grantees
Four (4) full-time Masters Scholarships will be offered for 2 years and eight (8) PhD research awards for a maximum of 12 months for students already admitted
at an African university in ESARO region with no other funding support for the award applied. Rigorous selection criteria will be followed, building on those
already developed by the IDRC awards unit, in selecting the candidates (special consideration will be given to applicants who are nationals of small countries
with little ICT research capacity and where Acacia has not traditionally provided research support).
Ph.D. candidates would need to have approved Ph.D. proposals from their supervisors
that meet the selection criteria and thematic areas of interest. In addition,
the applicant must commit to carrying out his/her Masters or Ph.D. research
work in one of the eligible countries in ESARO.
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Research methodology and scientific writing training

There will be a research methodology and scientific writing training workshop
to enhance the awardees’ research and writing skills. It will be offered
at the beginning of the Awards offer. The workshop will cover defining the research
problem, literature review, research methods, data analysis and interpretation,
and scientific writing. It will be conducted by a resource person who will be
hired competitively from one of the Kenyan universities. It will be held in
Nairobi and the awardees will be transported to Nairobi. The workshop will last
five days. It will be pitched in such a way that it benefits both the Masters
scholarship and Doctoral grant awardees, with the latter being used to support
the former in developing research proposals.
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Supervision

The host university will allocate a supervisor to the awardees as provided by the specific university’s regulations. At the very least, the supervisor
must have a Ph.D. in a relevant field and must be active in research in the
area that the awardee has chosen. The host university will be required to submit the curriculum vitae of the supervisors once they have been allocated to the
awardees. The selection committee will establish that they meet the above minimum criteria.
There will be an incentive of CAN$1,000 for supervision. This will be paid
in two instalments; one in the middle and the other at the end of the research
after submission of the necessary reports.
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Disbursement of Research Funds to Students
The IDRC’s policy of providing funds for research upfront to students
will be adhered to and put into the MoU with the University of Nairobi.
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Duration
The award tenure of the research grants will correspond to the period of the research as indicated in the proposal. In general, this will be no less than
three months and not more than 12 months. For the Masters scholarships, the award tenure will be 24 months.
The project will run for 3 years. It will be nice to have a second phase of
funding to build on the outcomes realized in phase one.
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Value
Candidates for the doctoral research awards will be entitled to a maximum of
CA$15,000. This amount includes all the research costs. Funds will also be provided
for local communication costs and travel to workshops or conferences. For the
Masters scholarships, the project will pay for all the fees for the two years.
In addition, a candidate will be entitled to a research allowance, a monthly
stipend, a book allowance, local communication costs and travel to workshops
or conferences.
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Relationship with the host university

The University of Nairobi will administer the grant directly to the students, supervisors and their host universities. The University of Nairobi will attempt
to create relationships with the universities, schools or departments hosting the students. Where it is possible, memoranda of understanding will be created.

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