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Request for Proposals for Situation Analysis of Social Sciences Humanities and Arts Research Leadership Capacity in Africa-Individuals and Ecosystems

Tender Details

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Situation Analysis of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts Research Leadership Capacity Development in Africa.


Project title: Situation Analysis of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts Research Leadership Capacity Development in Africa.
Purpose: Generate evidence to characterise the current state of research leadership capacity and development needs in the social sciences, humanities and Arts  disciplines in Africa, to inform the trajectory of the Alliance for Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS) in Africa, a programme of the Accelerating Excellence in Science (AESA). AESA is a funding, agenda-setting and programme management initiative of the African Academy of Sciences’ (AAS) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).
Expected fee: To be negotiated with the consultant and commensurate with experience and proposed work. 
Location: Remote. The consultant will be expected to work and conduct field work remotely from their current location. No travel is envisaged due to covid-19 restrictions.
Expected duration:  The consultancy is expected to involve approximately 60-90 days work depending on the consultancy team’s approach and expertise. The final report deadline is 30 May 2021
Reporting to:  Senior Programme Officer- Social Sciences and Humanities

The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation. The vision of the AAS is transformed lives through science, while its mission is to leverage resources for Science Technology and Innovation (STI) through excellence and thought leadership for Africa’s development. Our tripartite mandate is recognising excellence through the AAS’s highly prestigious fellowship, affiliates membership and award schemes; providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s STI strategies and policies; and implementing key STI programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges. The AAS implements STI programmes through its programmatic platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) platform. 

The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) was created in 2015 through a partnership of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), founding and funding global partners, and through a resolution of the summit of African Union Heads of Governments. The mission of AESA is to shift the centre of gravity for African science to Africa through agenda setting, mobilizing Research & Development (R&D) funding, and managing continent-wide Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) programmes that promote the brightest minds, strengthening the best possible science environments in Africa, fostering scientific excellence, inspiring and mentoring emerging research leaders, and accelerating and translating research & innovations into products, policies, and practices that will improve and transform lives in Africa.

Background to the AESA DELTAS Africa Programme 
The Developing Excellence, Leadership and Training in Science in Africa (DELTAS Africa) programme funds collaborative networks/consortia led by Africa-based scientists to amplify Africa-led development of world-class research and scientific leaders on the continent, while strengthening African institutions. DELTAS Africa is implemented through AESA and is supported by Wellcome and the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO formerly DFID). 

Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS) in Africa is a program of the African Academy of Sciences AAS), supported by the Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) and other global organisations.  DELTAS Africa aims to improve human development and wellbeing on the African continent through the production of quality science that addresses Africa’s developmental challenges and sets locally relevant research priorities to inform policies on the continent. DELTAS Africa promises to make important contributions to sustainable development in Africa through a long term (over 20 years) phased grant program. It responds to the goals of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024), United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030) and African Union’s Agenda 2063.

DELTAS Africa is currently guided by a Theory of Change (ToC) that sees reaching the ultimate goal of improved wellbeing for Africa’s people, as being underpinned by development in the long term, of a critical mass of globally competitive, African research leaders and enabling research environments at African institutions. This requires research leadership capacity development (RLCD). The DELTAS AfricaToC conceptualises the achievement of these long-term outcomes as dependent upon the achievement of four short-term goals: 

  • Production of high quality scientific research.
  • Development of researchers who demonstrate the capacity to lead large, internationally competitive and globally recognised scientific research endeavours.
  • Improved research management through enhancing the availability of support structures, systems and infrastructure that are needed to efficiently facilitate the management of internationally competitive and recognised scientific research endeavours. 
  • Enhanced societal engagement by researchers through community, public, media and policy activities. 

Phase 1 of the DELTAS Africa programme, implemented 2015-2020, focused on developing research leadership capacity in the health and biomedical sciences. It resulted in the provision of large grants to 11 African-led health research consortia, involving 54 institutions from 23 African countries. These consortia have studied a broad range of health-related challenges on the continent, from basic research in genetics and specific diseases to population and one health approaches.

In phase 2, the DELTAS Africa programme has been expanded to also promote research leadership capacity development in the social science, humanities and arts (SSH&A) disciplines. This extension of DELTAS Africa recognises the cross-cutting relevance of SSH&A scholarship to sustainable development on the continent, as well as the unique contributions SSH&A enquiry makes to understanding the context, rationale and specificities of the transformations needed to improve wellbeing in Africa.

For example, SSH&A research is uniquely suited to defining the “shared values and ethics” that are conceptualised as underpinning sustainable development in the African Union’s Agenda 2063. SSH&A research is also required to inform the country specific components of UN-SDGs and their targets, for example what concepts like “quality”, “sustainability” and “empowerment” should look like, in different cultural and geographic locations. SSH&A enquiries and their products (e.g. models and theories) also have a salient role to play in bridging the gap between technical efficiency and real world effectiveness, for example in developing strategies to promote the uptake and increase the acceptability of efficacious biomedical interventions such as vaccines and drug therapies. Therefore, SSH&A research leadership capacity development is fundamental to achieving the AAS’ ultimate goal of enhancing Africa people’s wellbeing. For further background information see: 

African Academy of Sciences

DELTAS Africa Overview

DELTAS Africa Phase 1 Grantees

Social Sciences and Humanities Consultation Report

Agencies are invited to submit a proposal to conduct a Situation Analysis of Social Sciences,Humanities and Arts Research Leadership Capacity and Development Needs in Africa, considering both individual researchers and research institutions and SSH&A research ecosystems. This evidence will inform the adaptation of the DELTAS Africa programme and ToC, to enhance its relevance to the SSH&A disciplines. Evidence generated through the situation analysis may also be used to inform other AAS programs, as well as policy and community dialogues. 

The aim of the consultancy is to:  
Generate evidence to inform the trajectory of SSH&A RLCD initiatives within the African Academy of Sciences and particularly the DELTAS Africa program.  

The objectives are to:

  • Characterise the current state of SSH&A research leadership capacity, and conditions that would support the development of a critical mass of SSH&A research leaders, on the African continent. 
  • Characterise SSH&A RLCD needs and critical gaps that require interventions and make recommendations for their interventions that would have maximum impact 
  • Identify key players in SSH&A in Africa, including institutions and individuals with established research leadership capacity and those in need of RLCD support. 
  • Characterise the key opportunities and challenges for RLCD in the SSH&A disciplines in African universities and research centres, with reference to evidence for effectiveness of various RLCD interventions. 
  • Identify key SSH&A priorities for African policy makers, including the African Union, higher education policy makers and economic blocks (e.g. Economic Community of West African States, Southern African Development Community, Economic Community of Central African States and East African Community). 

The consultancy team should provide details of the methodology they will use to address these aims and objectives. The methodological overview should include, but not necessarily be limited to, details of how the consultants will conduct:  

  • Secondary data analysis of institutional and bibliometric: including details of how existing data will be identified, accessed, extracted and analysed. This aspect of the consultancy should include but is not necessarily be limited to: 
    • Bibliometric analysis (i.e. of published peer-reviewed literature) from African researchers and/or institutions, inclusive of the full range of SSH&A subdisciplines.
    • Descriptive multivariate analysis of performance indicators of African universities: 
    • May be restricted to a diverse subset of African universities, depending on data availability. 
      • Should be inclusive of established and emerging institutions in different countries and regions and reflect the diversity of income classifications and languages on the continent. 
      • Should also reflect the diversity of institution types (e.g. public, nongovernment and private, universities and dedicated research centres).
      • Performance indicators may include but should not necessarily be limited to student, faculty, institutional and funding metrics (see reporting for further details). 
    • Qualitative analysis, subject to data availability.
  • Empirical research and analysis of policy makers priorities, including: 
    • Collecting data using qualitative and possibly mixed method techniques and virtual approaches, for example from individual interviews or discussion forums. 
    • Data analysis using established approaches such a thematic analysis.
  • Produce a report that presents the results of both analyses. 

The situation analysis report should address, but not necessarily be limited to, the following topics:  

  • Indicators of the current state of SSH&A RLCD needs in Africa, potentially including:
    • Institutional metrics, including
      • Policies, committees and support structures, relating to:
        • Research management and administration.
        • Faculty and departmental structure
        • Career progression and promotion.
        • Financial and grant governance and good practice.
        • Ethical research practice (including safeguarding and malpractice).
        • Administrative support.
        • Scientific quality.
        • Community and Public Engagement.
        • Diversity and inclusion.
        • Teaching and postgraduate supervision.
        • Collaborative research, including interdisciplinary and/or inter-institutional collaboration
      • Tuition and other fees in various SSH&A disciplines
      • Course entrance criteria
      • Structure of SSH&A faculties, including SSH&A sub-disciplines that are often groups in separate faculties (e.g. education, economics)
      • Policy and governance environment (e.g. existence of research policies, ethics committee, research support) 
      • Funding sources (e.g. national and international governmental, non-governmental, philanthropic, industry, endowment, student fees and other).
      • Funding allocation (by discipline or faculty) to teaching, research, capacity development, infrastructure.  
      • Salary scales.
    • Publication metrics, including: 
      • Outputs by type (books, chapters, journal articles)
      • Citation rates and impact
      • Authorship trends, considering sole and co-authorship, within and beyond African institutions and researchers.
    • Student metrics, including: 
      • Proportion of students studying SSH&A discipline, disaggregated by subdisciplines.
      • Overall numbers of SSH&A students and graduates on the continent.
      • Selection criteria for entry to various SSH&A degrees. 
      • Rates of undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral retention, attrition, completion and progression to higher degree and/or employment. 
      • Employment and life opportunities for SSH&A graduates. 
      • Mobility to different institutions within their origin country, on the African continent and globally, following graduation.
      • Funding opportunities for African undergraduate, postgraduate and 
        postdoctoral students, their strengths and weaknesses.
    • Faculty metrics, including:
      • Proportion of faculty in SSH&A disciplines, disaggregated by subdisciplines
      • Qualifications
      • Gender and diversity
      • Student-faculty ratios
      • Teaching and postgraduate supervision and mentorship commitments 
        and support programmes or interventions
    • National, regional and institutional differences in SSH&A RLCD. 
  • Inception report, including detailed methodology, workplan and budget
  • Datasets. The consultant will be expected to provide complete deidentified and translated (to English, as applicable) set of primary data collected to the AAS, in an appropriate format for future use (e.g. transcripts of interviews audio, excel or similar sheets for metrics data extracted from secondary sources). 
  • Final report- approximately 30 pages, excluding executive summary (up to ten pages)and appendices. The report should include a title page, contents, executive summary and full text (structured in the following sections: Background, Methods, Results,Discussion and Recommendations, Conclusion) and appendices. 

The consultancy team should include SSH&A scholars who collectively:

  • Possess English, French, Portuguese and Arabic language competence and ability to translate from these languages back to English 
  • Represent a range of SSH&A sub-disciplines and a variety of African countries and/or regions.
  • Possess methodological and analytical experience to match data collection and analysis requirements of the consultancy (e.g. bibliometric, qualitative and multivariate statistical analysis skills).

Individual team members should have the following qualifications and experience:

  • PhD in a SSH&A discipline.
  • Be an African citizen and/or based in an African country.
  • Knowledge of the current situation of SSH&A research in Africa or specific African countries.
  • Demonstrable experience conducting similar research consultancies.
  • Excellent written and oral English language proficiency. All consultancy outputs must be provided in English language.
  • Professionalism and cross-cultural competencies. 

Proposals will be technically evaluated, and only successful consultants will be shortlisted and invited to interview.  

The following is a summary of the rated criteria and weightings for the technical evaluation of proposals. Individuals/firms who do not meet the minimum threshold score on technical capacity will not proceed to the next stage of the evaluation. Successful consultants will be shortlisted and invited for interview upon which the recommendations for award shall be made. Only the successful bidder will be contacted for negotiations on scope of work and cost. 

Response will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 

Criteria scores
Adequacy of the proposed work plan, milestones, outcomes, deliverables and methodology in responding to the terms of reference. 40% 
Specific experience and skills of the consultants related to the assignment (i.e. evidence that experience and skills are adequate for all aspects of the consultancy)  30%
Qualifications and competence of the key staff for the assignment
(SSH&A scholars and individual   Consultancy team qualifications)
Total 100%


Activity End date
Deadline for response to RFP 14/01/2021
Assessment and Award to Successful bidder/Contract signing 10/02/2021
Inception meeting 17/02/2021
Inception report 28/02/2021
Draft final report (for comment) 30/05/2021
Final report and other outputs 30/06/2021 


Proposals from bidders should include a technical proposal and financial proposal and must include the following elements:   

  • A covering letter introducing the submission.
  • An executive summary not exceeding three (3) A4 pages providing an overview of your response to the scope of work citing previous experience and expertise.
  •  A methodological proposal (maximum 5 pages).
  •  A financial proposal (i.e. budget) in USD. The financial proposal shall clearly indicate the total cost to the AAS, to be disaggregated to enable partial payments and/or scaling of services. The Prices quoted should be inclusive of all taxes and delivery costs and shall remain valid for (120) days from the closing date of the tender. 
  • Detailed CVs of applicant (s) outlining the relevant skills and experience (not exceeding 3 pages per consultant). 
  • Two examples of recent research reports emanating from similar consultancies conducted by the team or individual members of the team, as appropriate. 
  • Current business licenses where applicable.
  • Valid VAT and PIN Certificate where applicable.
  • Vendors are encouraged to include any additional information they believe demonstrates added value for the AAS within the scope of this project

This document is the property of the AAS and contains proprietary and confidential information. Recipients may use or reproduce the information detailed within this document and any other supporting information only to provide a response to this RFP. 
The AAS makes no commitment to any consultant/service provider unless a contract has been awarded and signed by both parties. The AAS reserves the right to cease this exercise at any time. During the period of this activity, no contact should occur between any members of the supplier's staff and any member of the AAS staff in relation to this exercise other than through the designated contact points as detailed within this RFP. It is however recognized that preexisting relationships if any, shall be respected.

The Agency is required to observe the AAS procurement ethical code of conduct which includes but is not limited to observing the highest standard of ethics regarding corruption, collusion, conflict of interest and fraud. If the agency does not observe confidentiality or ethical practices, they shall be disqualified from any further work with the AAS. 

Where appropriate, any costs for travel and subsistence must be clearly shown in the proposal. 

Consultants should be aware that inappropriate publicity could have a serious effect upon the AAS’s business. The information contained within this document or subsequently made available to the consultant is deemed confidential and must not be disclosed without the prior written consent of the AAS unless required by law. 

By submission of a proposal, the consultant warrants that the prices in the proposal have been arrived at independently, without consultation, communication, agreement or understanding for the purpose of restricting competition, as to any matter relating to such prices, with any other potential consultant or with any competitor. 

It should be noted that this document relates to a Request for Proposal only and not a firm commitment from the AAS to enter into a contractual agreement. In addition, the AAS will not be held responsible for any costs associated with the production of a response to this Request for Proposal.