Australia unties aid for African food research

A new joint program of the Australian International Food Security Centre at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is calling for proposals.

The CA$15 million Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAF) fund is a challenge program that aims to improve food security and promote agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa.  It will allocate funds competitively to research initiatives which are relevant for improving post-harvest management, nutrition and water use, and have clear pathways to application.

Announced at the 2013 Africa Agricultural Science Week, the program will be managed by IDRC, with 50 per cent of its funding from ACIAR.

Research organisations from 10 countries – Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – are eligible for grants of up to CA$3 million dollars each. The application guidelines note that applicants “may work in partnership with Canadian or Australian organisations but this is not a requirement.”

Traditionally, ACIAR projects have mandated the participation of Australian researchers (something Devpolicy criticised in its submission to the recent ACIAR review), so this is a welcome development.

Ashlee Betteridge

Ashlee Betteridge was the Manager of the Development Policy Centre until April 2021. She was previously a Research Officer at the centre from 2013-2017. A former journalist, she holds a Master of Public Policy (Development Policy) from ANU and has development experience in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. She now has her own consultancy, Better Things Consulting, and works across several large projects with managing contractors.

Robin Davies

Robin Davies is an Honorary Professor at the ANU's Crawford School of Public Policy and an editor of the Devpolicy Blog. He headed the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security and later the Global Health Division at Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) from 2017 until early 2023 and worked in senior roles at AusAID until 2012, with postings in Paris and Jakarta. From 2013 to 2017, he was the Associate Director of the Development Policy Centre.

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