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African universities may be losing out on cost reimbursements

Image: Andrew Silver for Research Professional News

Inorms 2023: Programme manager laments financial toll for institutions of not reclaiming costs

Some higher education institutions in Africa are failing to ask research funders to reimburse eligible administrative or procedural costs, research managers and administrators have been told.

“Universities or the institutions, their research is expensable, but [in some cases] they have actually not costed their own contribution to this research, or they have not costed their actual costs of doing business,” said Allen Mukhwana (pictured second from right), a programme manager at the Science for Africa Foundation, a charity in Nairobi offering grants for pan-African projects.

She made her remarks at the annual meeting of the International Network of Research Management Societies in Durban, South Africa, during a session on how international funders can best support research management in Africa.

Mukhwana said some institutions are requesting reimbursement for eligible costs, but others are not, and “the perpetual erosion of institutional resources to support research has now made it very expensive” to be in the latter group. She added the matter needed to be addressed “very quickly”.

This was supported by Garry Aslanyan (pictured second from left), a manager for partnerships and governance at the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, which is co-funded by bodies including the World Health Organization and United Nations Children Fund.

Aslanyan said some groups do not detail all eligible costs with appropriate labels. “The funder will fund [such costs] if we explain what we want them to fund,” he told attendees.

Research Professional News is media partner for the Inorms 2023 conference in Durban. Read all of the coverage here