Research Partnerships and Global Development: The Challenge of Securing Impact from Science in Africa

Moderator: Prof Stuart Taberner, Research Councils UK

Panelist: Ms Christine Kolbe, Department for International Development

Panelist: Dr Sherine Ghoneim, Economic Research Forum

Panelist: Dr Molapo Qhobela, National Research Foundation South Africa


Governments have been increasing investment in research and research partnerships for global development.   The UK Government recently announced the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research to address global challenges in partnership with researchers in developing countries.  Strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing nations is also an aim of the GCRF.

This session will discuss the practical and policy challenges of accelerating innovation and delivering development solutions from research, and the infrastructure required to conduct high quality research, with a particular focus on Africa.   It will discuss challenges from the perspective of researchers, innovators, and policy makers and researchers across partner countries.  The session will be designed to be interactive and will include significant audience participation.

Panel members will explore and encourage the audience to discuss how researchers and policy makers can engage with partners across Africa to ensure that initiatives and projects are designed in a sustainable and equitable way to meet the needs of the local community. They will also discuss balancing the opportunities to deploy the resources of developed nations to meet global challenges with the need to build Africa’s science and innovation capacity, infrastructure and expertise for the long-term.

Panel members will draw discussions preceding the Science Forum in a two day event run by the NRF, The Royal Society and Research Councils UK.  The event will bring together stakeholders from across the region with a focus on capacity building within an African context, and the opportunities under the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (UK Aid funding with a focus on research worth £1.5bn).   We will ensure that the panel is representative, in terms of both gender and race, and will endeavour to draw one of the speakers from another African county.   Each speaker will have five minutes to present their input.

Ms Christine Kolbe, Department for International Development

Christine Kolbe is the Head of East Africa Research Hub at the UK Department for International Development, based in Nairobi. Christine joined in DFID in 2011, prior to which she worked in development consultancy with a focus on fragile and conflict affected states. Christine has worked for DFID’s country offices in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and across DFID’s human and social development portfolios. She has a background in international development policy, evaluation and research. Christine was appointed Head of the East Africa Research Hub in early 2017, having previously headed DFID’s professional Evaluation cadre. Christine holds degrees and professional qualifications in sociology and international development from Universities of Nottingham, McGill and Kings College London.

Prof Stuart Taberner, Research Councils UK

Professor Stuart Taberner joined the Research Councils in January 2017, as the director of international and interdisciplinary research on an 18 month secondment from the University of Leeds. Stuart works within the Executive Directorate which provides support to the Research Councils in overlapping and collective areas of interest and is responsible for strategic focus, operational support and guidance for GCRF ODA reporting, the development of a strategic International narrative for Research Councils and the development of the Global Challenge Research Fund to operation at programme/portfolio as well as project level.


Dr Sherine Ghoneim, Economic Research Forum

Sherine F. Ghoneim is currently Policy and Communications Director at the Economic Research Forum (ERF). Prior to that she was with the Global Development Network (GDN) as Director of GDNet – Research Communications from and for the Global South worldwide and the GDN Cairo Office in Egypt. She holds a Master’s degree from Boston University and a Ph.D. degree from The Management School, Imperial College.


Dr Molapo Qhobela, National Research Foundation South Africa

Dr Molapo Qhobela is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation of South Africa. He is a seasoned executive leader with extensive policy and administration experience that has seen him head up the development of a significant number of policy and strategy documents, which have shaped the nature and operations of South African universities as well as the education system in general.

He has exceptional knowledge of the South African Higher Education System and the National System of Innovation, and has established well-seeded international relationships and networks with funders and government entities over the years.

His prior appointments include: Vice-Principal: Institutional Development at the University of South Africa; Deputy Director-General at the Department of Science and Technology; Deputy Director-General and Acting Director-General of the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Dr Qhobela obtained his PhD (Plant Pathology) from Kansas State University and a BSc (Botany and Zoology) from the University of Zimbabwe.

By | 2017-12-01T08:50:23+00:00 October 9th, 2017|