The rationale for applying for an International Extramural Research Development Award (IEARDA) is to increase the efficiency of the research office at UCT by building human resource capacity in research administration in order to achieve the following long-terms goals: ? to increase the international competitiveness of UCT researchers to access grants from international agencies, in particular from the NIH; ? to promote the research capacity of UCT researchers; ? to work towards increasing UCT?s international standing;and ? to contribute to developing capacity of research offices at collaborative institutions in Africa. The proposed infrastructure development plan is thus aimed at achieving the following: ? to develop and maintain knowledge of, and expertise in, NIH policies and procedures; ? to develop strategic support measures and processes in alignment with NIH policies and procedures; ? to establish and maintain excellent grantsmanship in accordance with international grant management principles;and ? to enhance researchers? knowledge of, and skills in, the preparation of competitive research grant applications. A variety of interventions has been proposed as means towards achieving the above. These revolve to a large extent around the knowledge and expertise to be gained by the IEA candidate during both the residency and distance training. She would then transfer these onto the bigger UCT research community mainly via facilitating training sessions. The latter will focus on (i) developing and/or refining researchers? grant writing skills;(ii) improving researchers? knowledge of international research ethics principles to ensure greater compliance;and (iii) imparting knowledge about NIH policies, procedures and processes to both researchers and grant administrators. Besides these opportunities being presented to the University community, some of UCT?s research partners on the continent will also be afforded a change to benefit from the above-mentioned training activities. Developing manuals and sharing information through different media are additional activities. Parallel to the above, there will be activities aimed at ensuring a conducive environment for the infrastructure development plan (the Plan) to be implemented. By bringing the research community and other role-players on board, it is intended to devise internal processes and procedures that will expedite the pre-award stage while simultaneously contribute to a favourable context within which researchers and grant administrators could collaborate. Developing a manual to assist in this regard has been incorporated in the Plan. Continuous monitoring and evaluation will happen at different stages and levels throughout the implementation of the Plan.
The proposed infrastructure development plan for the Research Office, University of Cape Town would improve its administrative capacity to facilitate grant applications during both the pre- and post-award stages.