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Transforming Institutions 2024 Call for Proposals

Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) Transforming Institutions Strategic Funding

Call for Proposals 2024 

See our FAQ for additional info


AAP seeks proposals from consortium members and their partners for projects that 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 up to $20,000 USD in seed funding to develop international strategic partnerships with universities, institutions of higher education and research, and/or organizations in the public and/or NGO sectors. 

Proposed projects should focus specifically on institutional and capacity strengthening. This could include projects that: aim to reinforce institutional strengths; contribute to individuals’ capacity strengthening, which will lead to institutional strengthening; plan for the creation of new units or institution-wide initiatives; and/or pilot new approaches to support research, teaching, or outreach that can be scaled up across the institution(s).

Some specific examples of the types of programs that could fall under this funding initiative: developing plans or programs to improve institutional financial management structures, building capacity of administrative units or leaders, improving structures for outreach and research dissemination, creating new and innovative curricula or pedagogical approaches in priority areas, strengthening student service units focused on various aspects of student success, or institutional programs to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (for faculty staff, and/or students). Proposals that solely focus on research topics unrelated to institutional capacity strengthening and do not directly address how the work contributes to institutional strengthening will not be considered.

I. Guidelines

Proposals may be submitted in one of the following three project categories in support of institutional strengthening and capacity development:

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

We highly encourage projects that 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 at least one of the following focus areas will receive priority in review:

  • student success
  • financial management systems
  • diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  • science communication 

Details on funding and development of applicants’ project budget:

  • Applicants can request a maximum of $20,000 USD. 
  • Funding can cover travel and/or associated meeting or workshop costs. The budget may also cover salary/fringe expenses up to a total of $5,000 USD.
  • Travel can include any of the following—within Africa, to Africa from external locations, from Africa to the US, or to other locations outside of Africa. Virtual engagement is highly encouraged as it can be cost effective.
  • Applicants are required to contribute 20% in cost share for the project, in addition to the amount that AAP awards. For example, if an applicant requests $20,000 from AAP, the applicants will need to contribute a total of an additional $4,000 in cost share to the project, so that the total budget for the project would be $24,000. 
  • Cost share refers to the resources a recipient contributes to the total cost of an agreement. Cost share can be cash, in-kind contributions (such as donated time of a faculty member) or a combination of the two. 
  • The cost share required is a combined 20% contribution across all the partner institutions, with each institution contributing some amount. It must be verified in a letter of endorsement from the applicant partner institution leadership (e.g., Dean). Please see the link to the template that AAP has provided under Section IV. Proposal Requirements.
  • MSU PI’s should identify the relevant fiscal officer within their department and verify within the budget template   
  • Indirect costs are not allowed. This is because AAP is an entity directly funded by Michigan State University. Projects funded by AAP do not allow for indirect, administrative, or contingent costs. AAP policy allows funding only for those activities that can be directly attributed to the funded project. Applicants are responsible for communicating with and receiving approvals from appropriate administrative, research, or finance offices at their institutions and to verify that they understand that indirect costs are not allowed under this grant program.

II. Eligibility

  • Proposals should include co-PIs (project leads) from each of the partner institutions included in the proposal. Proposals must include PI(s) from MSU and PI(s) from at least one other AAP consortium member (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, and ANAPRI). As mentioned above, AAP highly encourages South-South collaboration and proposals with multiple consortium members and/or additional partners are welcomed. 
  • Priority will be given to PIs who have not received funding from AAP previously through any AAP-funded program.
  • Faculty members may only be listed (as PI or as team member) on one proposal submitted to AAP for each round of funding.
  • AAP will work with successful applicants to verify a timeline for when activities will be completed. (Partnership teams should carry out projects between June 3, 2024 and August 29, 2025). Awarded funds must be transferred to the MSU PI's department by June 30, 2024.

III. Evaluation Criteria

Criteria that will be used to evaluate the proposals includes:

  • Evidence of a shared vision and mutually beneficial interests among the partners, and   a joint commitment to the success of the proposed partnership
  • Clarity of the connection of proposed activities to AAP’s Transforming Institutions pillar
  • Demonstrated integration of gender, equity, and inclusion principles
  • Quality of short-term outputs/outcomes of proposed activities
  • Potential for a sustained, productive partnership; quality of long-term impacts of proposed activities
  • Potential for leveraging significant external funding

Indicators used to evaluate the outputs/outcomes of completed projects include:

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

Reporting: A follow-up report including data on these criteria will be required 30 days after the project end date.

IV. Partnership Activities

Proposed partnerships should center on capacity strengthening activities, including external funding proposal development and dissemination of outputs, which 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 allocated for continued support to develop these partnerships depending on the outcomes of the initial budget and availability of funds.

V. Partnership Funding

Transforming Institutions partnership funds will provide partial support of travel, meeting, and 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.

VI. Proposal Requirements

Proposals must be submitted in English via the online submission form linked below and should include the following documents:

  1. Narrative (maximum of five pages), which addresses the specific areas below. Please use these as section headings in the proposal, which will help applicants organize their proposals and help the reviewers score the proposals. 
    • The proposed topics or issues that the activities will address
    • The activities being proposed for this funding. Please include a description of the activities, the role of each partner, and the timeline. 
    • A general description of the partners and individuals who will take part in the project 
    • The history of partnership among 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
    • Considerations taken for gender, equity, and inclusion (in terms of the team members and the project activities)
    • How the activities will contribute to transforming all the institutions included in the partnership. Please describe the objectives of the activities, the anticipated short-term outcomes of the project, and their relation to the institutions’ needs
    • The anticipated longer-term outcomes and impact of the proposed activities
    • Identification of external funding opportunities that could support the proposed research/activities in the future
  2. Short project summary (200 words maximum) giving an overview of the work proposed including expected impacts, project outputs, etc.
  3. Letters of endorsement from each applicants’ deans, department chairpersons, or supervisors committing to a total minimum of 20% matching funds, providing a description of any monetary or in-kind contributions from each partner institution, and acknowledging that indirect costs are not allowed. Please use the provided letter of endorsement template.
  4. Proposed itemized budget. Please use the provided budget template.

VII. Submitting a Proposal

Please submit proposals via our online submission form. In addition to the information required on the submission form, be sure to include all required documents listed above in (narrative, letters of endorsement, proposed budget using the provided template).

Submission deadline: March 1, 2024 (11:59pm EST) 


Please contact AAP Program Manager Justin Rabineau (rabinea1(at) or AAP Co-Director Amy Jamison at (jamisona(at) with any questions.