KNUST Call for Research Proposals 2018, BSU III

By | March 7, 2018

KNUST Call for Research Proposals 2018, BSU III

Background
Supported by DANIDA, as a joint project between KNUST and a consortium of Danish Universities (Aarhus, Aalborg and Copenhagen) and private companies, the Building Stronger University (BSU) project aims to strengthen the capacity of beneficiary universities in the global south to play an increasing role in the socioeconomic and political development of society, spearhead innovation and knowledge production and produce quality graduates to further the course of sustainable development. The project has so far been implemented in three phases, namely BSU I, BSU II, and BSU III.
The aim of the BSU I was to create an “enabling institutional environment for research, research-based education, and knowledge management and dissemination towards sustainable economic, social and political development”. The project laid the necessary foundation for the achievement of the overall objectives of BSU. BSU II focused on capacity building for the conduct of research on a pilot scale, which was directed at and carried out by specialized groups and individuals; implying limited collaboration in terms of disciplines, expertise and skills.
 
The BSU III maintains focus on a) Climate-Smart
Agriculture and Environmental Management (WP1), b) Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WP2), c) Health Delivery Systems (WP3), and d) Administrative Capacity Building (WP4) and it aims at consolidating and sustaining the gains made in BSU II. With WP1 and WP3 representing the research themes in this call, an overrriding river catchment (drainage area) approach provides scope for addressing, in cross-disciplinary fashion, problematics that are relevant in natural resource management and public health perspectives. The overall goal is to contribute to the attainment of KNUST’s mission of providing a conducive environment for teaching, research and entrepreneurship training in science and technology for sustainable development.
 
Objectives
The objectives of this call are to:
Promote the development of a research culture that emphasises problem-based and societally relevant (demand-driven) research.
Establish  cross-theme and cross-college research teams to better explore synergies in problem-based research processes at KNUST
Build capacity for developing winning proposals in the context of the mentioned research themes/sub-themes.
 
Research and Geographic Focus
The proposals from eligible research teams/applicants must focus on at least one of the research themes in Table 1.

Themes Sub-themes
Climate-Smart Agriculture and Environmental Management Sub theme 1: Environmental monitoring.
Changes in water quality and quantity in the Owabi Dam, using long term data and modelling.
 
Sub theme 2: Climate Smart Agriculture 
Sustainable use of natural resources with special reference to nutrients, carbon and water, in present and future resilient farming systems in the Owabi catchment.
 
Sub theme 3: Bio-resources Management
Harnessing the bio-economic potential of bio-resources in the Owabi catchment.
Health Delivery Systems Sub theme 1: Improved, integrative health practices for sustainable health and livelihoods in the Owabi catchment area

 
Award Budget
Each succesful application will receive a total of One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Danish Kroner (DKK 120,000). The following budget items must be considered:
Travel Cost
Training and workshop cost (incl research materials)
Capital costs
Peer learning (publication, dissemination, communication)
 
Please note that BSUIII is a capacity building initiative. Therefore, awards do not include the payment of salaries and emoluments to the research team members.
 
Eligibility
Each research team must be led by a researcher (Principal Investigator) who must be a staff of KNUST and has demonstrated competence, in terms of research, teaching and/or outreach in the subject area.
Applications must satisfy the following requirements:
The research team comprises researchers from various disciplines and drawn from multiple colleges in KNUST.
The research project is aligned with the objectives of the BSU III project.
Aligns with national and international strategic priorities, and falls within the scope of a catchment approach.
The research clearly identifies the project activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts to facilitate performance tracking.
Innovation and entrepreneurship potential.
The team aims to produce publications in peer-reviewed journals as one of the outputs of their research.
The research team includes at least one PhD student.
There must be a fair representation of females (gender balance) on the research team.
 
Award Period 
The BSU III has a four (4) year duration starting from October 2017 until September 2021; hence the award/project must be implemented within 2018-2020. The maximum duration for an award is two (2 years).
 
Assessment Criteria
The criteria that will be used to assess the applications are outlined below:
Relevance of the project to the goal of the BSU III project as well as its relevance to national, continental and international strategic priorities.
Feasibility of the project (in terms of scope, time, budget and qualifications of the applicant).
Cross-disciplinary composition of the Research Team (including PhD students)
Strength of the envisaged research-practitioner collaboration through design, implementation, and interpretation.
Innovation and entrepreneurship potential of the research.
Quality of the written proposal, i.e., clarity, organization, design (activities, outputs, outcomes and expected impacts).
Evidence of familiarity with the Building Stronger Universities Project.​
Impact on applicant’s practice.
Strength of dissemination and uptake plan.​
Fair gender balance of the research team.
 
Application Format and Process
Applications must use the following headings:
 
Project Title
State of the Art, Rationale and Relevance
Objectives and Expected Results
Project Methodology
Organisation/Team Description
Indicative Budget
Bibliography
 
The application with the above headings must be a maximum of 5 pages, excluding CVs (which must be a maximum of 2 pages each). Applications must be sent in an e-mail attachment, in which all documents have been assembled into a single PDF file to abaidoorc@yahoo.com and torsten.berg@agro.au.dk. Complete research proposals must be sent not later than 31st March 2018.
 
Review and Selection Process
A committee consisting of the KNUST and the Danish Universities Work Package Leaders will jointly evaluate the applications. In addition, select independent assessors may be consulted.
 
All short-listed applicants shall be contacted within one month after the expiration of the deadline. Reasons shall be given to unsuccessful applicants.
 
For further enquiries contact
Theme-specific contacts:
Dr. Patrick Addo-Fordjour- Climate-Smart Agriculture and Environmental Management
Prof. Tsiri Agbenyega- Health Delivery Systems
 
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Problem-based Research and why is it relevant?
If the basis of all research has a rather impractical output that does not address a problem, then conclusions have limited interest and relevance. In this regard, problem-based research is defined to mean a research project that aims to resolve a real-world problem.
 
Why is the project emphasising on multi-disciplinary research teams?
A multi-disciplinary team includes different staff members from several fields that share expertise, knowledge, and skills. The project’s emphasis on multi-disciplinary is inspired by the multi-dimensional nature of real world problems, which often requires the attention of multiple stakeholders from different disciplines. A multi-disciplinary team will provide and encourage quality outcomes, clear vision, flexibility, external image of service and increased opportunities. Such a team will also foster the pursuit of continuity.
 
Why is the project focussing on cross-college research team?
Following from the need for multi-disciplinary team, a cross-college research team will provide the extra ability to achieve results. The problems that research projects must aim to address will involve several dimensions of which other college experts will be required to adequately address. Also, to improve collaborative research works in the University, cross-college experts must work together. Research works in the University must not be done in isolation. This may affect the rate of impact of the work which can attract external funding. Viable research networks are also created when colleagues from different colleges work together.
 
What is innovation and how will it be measured?
Innovation is defined as the introduction of new or significantly improved products (goods or services), processes, and organizational methods. Innovation in research is seen as a tool which provides an avenue for institutions to come up with strategies in order to promote and support growth above the average margins in order to ensure a comparative advantage over their competitors. This is essential in building stronger universities.
 
Innovation can be measured using criteria including:
Strengthening the basic research
The primary aim of the research should be to acquire new knowledge, solve new problems, provide new ideas and or develop new theories.
 
Improvement of technical and technological research
The research project should solve technical problems within thematic areas for predetermined end-users, so that there is the need to reflect on the economy and the possibilities of science
 
Quality of research outputs
The research project should have an enhanced potential for uptake.

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