Seed Grant for New African Principal Investigators (SG-NAPI)

Type: Research Grant

Field: Science and Technology

Partner organization: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Application deadline: July 27, 2021

The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) is slated to launch a new programme to help early-career scientists in developing African countries, primarily those within institutions that lack appropriate research facilities.

In partnership with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), TWAS created the Seed Grant for New African Principal Investigators (SG-NAPI), which aims to “strengthen the capacity of African countries lagging in science and technology” through awarding grants to promising research projects in the following areas:

  • Agriculture
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Information Computer Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Medical Sciences
  • Physics

Through this programme, young, up-and-coming African researchers in their country or are about to return home to an academic position will be given the support they need through a research grant of up to $67,700. This is fully funded by the BMBF.

Furthermore, the grants, provided over the course of 24 months, can be used to obtain and maintain scientific equipment, pay for fieldwork consumables, as well as purchase related textbook literature.

Please do note that the grant does not cover salary of the awardee, travel expenses unrelated to the research, laboratory animals, and the purchase of gadgets such as laptops, tablets, drones.

Other details

The awarded Principal Investigator (PI) may choose to support a Masters of Sciences (MSc) student as part of the project. Additionally, they are also allowed to request funding for international conference grants, industrial link grants, and mobility grants, and open access publication grant.

On another note, SG-NAPI offers a supplementary component geared towards helping female scientists return to academia after a maternity leave via the Scientist-After-Child grant.

For further specifications of each component, please refer to the official SG-NAPI Application Guidelines.

Grant specifications

Once selected, a trilateral written agreement will be drawn up between TWAS, the PI and the home institution. 

For its part, the institution is tasked to administer the grant according to the agreement. They will provide the necessary laboratory space, salaries, and other facilities for the project. Equipment, consumables, and literature obtained through the SG-NAPI grant programme will remain the property of the home institution after the project is completed.

The grant funds are kept at TWAS for the purchase of items requested by the grant holder. TWAS will be responsible for placing orders with the supplier(s) upon receipt of proforma invoices submitted by the grant holder in accordance with the approved itemized budget.

Meanwhile, grant holders are expected to submit a final report within one year from the date of the last purchase.


TWAS has identified 47 eligible African countries that are lagging in science and technology. To be considered, the aspiring PI must:

  • Be a national of an eligible country (refer to list and guidelines) and has good research experience
  • Hold a PhD that has been obtained in their home country within the last 5 years
  • For Africans studying abroad: have returned to their home country within the last 36 months or will return home before the end of 2021
  • Hold, be offered, or be in the process of accepting a position at an academic and/or research institution (including international research centers) in their home country
  •  Not have an active research grant with TWAS or OWSD Early Career Women Scientists (ECWS) Fellowship at the time of application
  • Submit a strong Research Proposal (PIs may find further information on how to write one by visiting AuthorAID)

NOTE: Please be advised that applicants may apply for only one programme per calendar year in the TWAS and OWSD portfolios. Applicants will not be eligible to visit another institution in that year under the TWAS Visiting Scientists the Visiting Professor programmes.

However, there is one exception: The head of an institution who invites an external scholar to share his/her expertise under the TWAS Visiting Professor programme or the TWAS Visiting Expert programme may still apply for another programme.

SN-NAPI grant applications are to be submitted via online forms. Kindly refer to the aforementioned link for further notice about the process. In case there are any more queries, visit the official SG-NAPI webpage or please contact the TWAS SG-NAPI Grants Office via: [email protected].

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