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Transforming Institutions Strategic Funding

This call is now closed. Stay tuned for the anticipated call in 2021.

Invitation for Proposals 2020

The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) seeks proposals from AAP consortium members and their partners for activities which directly address AAP's Transforming Institutions pillar (transforming institutions to be better able to participate in sustainable, equitable, and research-driven partnerships that make a broader impact on transforming lives). Successful applicants will receive seed funding to develop international strategic partnerships with universities, institutions of higher education and research, and/or organizations in the public or NGO sectors. Travel can include any of the following--within Africa, to Africa from external locations, to the US or to other locations outside of Africa. The partnerships should focus specifically on institutional strengthening and capacity development. Proposals that solely focus on research topics unrelated to institutional capacity development and do not directly address how the work contributes to institutional strengthening will not be considered.


Proposals may be submitted in one of the following three categories:

  1. Exploratory Grants to support initial-stage partnership development. These grants are meant for new partnerships that have not previously worked together.
  2. Proposal Development Grants to support partners to develop a proposal in response to a specific funding opportunity. 
  3. Pilot Workshop Grants to support short-term training activities or workshops.

We highly encourage projects which incorporate South-South collaboration. This has been identified as an AAP priority and will be factored into the selection process. We also encourage collaboration across Francophone and Anglophone countries/consortium members.

Proposals that address building the administrative capacity of universities (e.g., research management, finance, fundraising and advancement, career services, communications and publishing, governance and leadership, etc.) will also receive priority in review.

Funding can cover travel and/or associated meeting or workshop costs (the grant will not cover salary costs and indirect costs are not allowable). AAP will consider proposals up to a maximum of $20,000 USD requested funds (not including cost share). Proposals should include a combined 20% cost share contribution across all of the partner institutions. This contribution could be monetary, in-kind, or a combination of the two.


  • Proposals should include co-PIs from each of the partner institutions included in the proposal and must include at least two AAP consortium members (AAP Consortium members include MSU, Egerton University, Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Botswana, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako, University of Pretoria, United States International University - Africa).
  • Those previously supported through an AAP Transforming Institutions Strategic Travel grant are not eligible to apply.
  • Faculty members may only be listed (as PI or as team member) on one proposal submitted to AAP in each round of funding.
  • Update: The AAP will work with teams once awarded to set a date for when activities will be completed.

Evaluation Criteria

Criteria that will be used to evaluate the impact of these funds will include:

  • The potential for continued productive collaboration among partner institutions around transforming all organizations involved in the partnership.
  • The number and quality of institutional improvements that stem from the partnership activities
  • Symposia or conferences held to disseminate work stemming from the partnership activities
  • Collaborative grant applications submitted and awarded
  • Collaborative research publications completed
  • Other measures of institutional transformation as proposed by the implementing teams

A follow-up report including data on these criteria will be required two months after funds are utilized.

Partnership Activities

The partnerships should center on capacity building activities, including follow-on proposal development, that contribute to transformation at all partnering institutions. Proposed activities should ultimately lead to potential long-term collaborations among the partner institutions. Follow-on funding may be granted for continued support to develop these partnerships depending on the outcomes of the initial grant.

Partnership Funding

Transforming Institutions partnership funds will provide partial support of travel, meetings, workshop costs for AAP consortium faculty members and their partners. The Co-PIs’ colleges, faculties and/or departments will be expected to contribute to the costs of the proposed activities to ensure that the commitment to long-term partnering is shared by these units. A total of 20% match (monetary and/or in-kind) is required with contributions from all partners. These awards should ultimately result in the development and submission of a collaborative funding proposal (including partner institution faculty) for external funding as well as having positive impacts on other indicators of institutional transformation.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals should include:

  1. Narrative (not to exceed five pages) which addresses specifically:
    • What activities are being proposed for this funding?
    • What are specific external funding opportunities that could support the proposed research/activities in the future?
    • What other funding sources, if any, have you requested to support proposed partnership activities?
      And more generally:
    • A general description of the partners and individuals who will take part in the project
    • The history of partnership between those involved and the potential for sustained future engagement
    • A description of the partners’ shared vision and how each partner will benefit from the proposed activities
    • The proposed topics or issues that the activities will address
    • How the activities will contribute to transforming all of the institutions included in the partnership. Please describe any short-term impact.
    • The anticipated longer-term impact of the proposed activities
  2. Written endorsements from the applicants’ deans, department chairpersons, or supervisors committing to a total minimum of 20% matching funds and a description of any monetary or in-kind contributions from partner institutions.
  3. Proposed budget. Please use the provided budget template

Submitting a Proposal

Please submit proposals via our online submission form. Be sure to include all required documents listed above (proposal narrative, letters of endorsement, and proposed budget using provided template).

Deadline has been extended

New Submission Deadline: May 1, 2020 (11:59pm EST)


Please contact Amy Jamison at jamisona(at) or 517-884-2127 with any questions.