The Botswana Innovation Hub announced a new funding programme, Grand Challenges Botswana, to support bold and impressive innovations to accelerate progress towards achieving Botswana’s national development priorities and economic transformation.
The Botswana Innovation Hub partners with the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) - an initiative of the African Academy of Sciences, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and Global partners - to launch the Grand Challenges Botswana as a unique but collaborative initiative under the Grand Challenges Africa (GC Africa) initiative.
GC Africa is an AESA programme that awards seed and full grants to the continent’s most impressive innovators to promote Africa-led scientific innovations that help countries better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Launching Grand Challenges Botswana today, gives me renewed hope that we are on course towards achieving our national Vision 2036 aspirations. We are looking at a five-year implementation plan in which we target supporting key projects that will scale commercially, locally and regionally, building a portfolio with potential to create jobs,” said Honourable Dr Douglas Letsholathebe, Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology.
“Our partnership with BIH is part of efforts to establish national Grand Challenges programme and catalyse scientific breakthroughs that have potential for high impact, scale, and sustainability and finding local solutions to solve Africa’s pressing challenges,” said Dr Moses Alobo, Grand Challenges Africa Programme Manager.
GC Botswana will provide funding to local innovators to develop and implement bold scientific solutions, beginning with its first challenge launched with a call for submission of concept notes for space applications for Agriculture and Tourism sectors and closing on 11 March 2021. This call is in alignment with Botswana’s national digital transformation initiatives and aims to identify locally developed solutions that demonstrate the use of relevant emerging and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) related technologies, e.g., Artificial Intelligence and Big Data analytics in geospatial data benefitting the tourism and agriculture sectors.
“Local innovators will be a lynchpin to promoting productivity in a myriad of sectors, effectively ensuring they contribute to national efforts to accelerate economic transformation and achieve our six national development priorities,” said Dr Budzanani Tacheba, Director Innovation and Technology, BIH. Botswana’s 11th National Development Plan outlines the country’s six national priorities, namely: developing diversified sources of economic growth; human capital development; social development; sustainable use of national resources; consolidation of good governance and strengthening of national security; and implementation of an effective monitoring and evaluation system.
“We welcome GC Botswana to the Grand Challenges Family and look forward to working together to advance innovation for health, social and economic impact on our continent and beyond,” said Zoleka Ngcete, the Programme Manager for Grand Challenges South Africa and the SA Medical Research Council. Grand Challenges Botswana is the third in-country programme in Africa after Grand Challenges Ethiopia and South Africa.
Botswana Innovation Fund
The Botswana Innovation Fund (BIF) is a Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology initiative, administered by the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH). The Fund promotes innovation through technology, product and business development in the private sector by providing grants to companies and organisations registered with the Botswana Innovation Hub; and universities and organisations inside or outside the Botswana Innovation Hub, to which the companies and organisations registered with Botswana Innovation Hub may subcontract part of the research and development work. The Fund also encourages companies and organisations registered with BIH to transfer skills to citizen employees by providing grants to be utilised for; institutional training and/or approved on the job training. The BIF issues conditional grants to innovative projects/solutions with working prototypes to advance them to pre-commercial level, i.e., from technology readiness levels (TRL) 4 to 8. For more details on the Grand Challenges Botswana inaugural innovations challenge call on space applications for agriculture and tourism, please visit www.bih.co.bw and @YourBIH on Facebook.
The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA)
The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) is a funding, agenda-setting and programme management initiative created in 2015 through a partnership of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), founding and funding global partners and through a resolution of the summit of African Union Heads of Governments. For further information visit: www.aasciences.africa/aesa I @AESA_Africa
Grand Challenges Africa
GC Africa seeks to promote Africa-led scientific innovations to help countries better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by awarding seed and full grants to the continent’s most impressive solutions. GC Africa is implemented through the AESA Platform. Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems http://grandchallenges.org/
Click here to watch the recorded launch webinar livestream