African research funders in global spotlight through Dimensions indexing project

African research is receiving a major visibility boost with the indexing of 10 national funders in Dimensions, the world’s largest linked research database.

This project is a collaboration with Digital Science, the Africa PID Alliance (APA), the Association of African Universities (AAU), the Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa), and the Research Organization Registry (ROR).

“This project connects the research outputs from leading African funding bodies to the global research ecosystem,” said Joy Owango, Executive Director of TCC Africa and Project Lead at the Africa PID Alliance.


“Indexing and linking their data in Dimensions allows these African national funders to increase transparency around their research investments, demonstrate the impacts and outcomes of funded projects, facilitate new regional and global collaborations, inform strategic funding priorities through insights on research trends, and amplify Africa’s overall research contributions on the international stage,” she said.

Digital Science CEO Dr Daniel Hook said: “We’re excited to be able to partner with research organizations in Africa, and to help drive improved visibility of African research both to Africans and around the world. As Africa increases its investment in research, it is critical to ensure that its funding is routed to the most impactful projects that make a difference for Africans; and for Africa to showcase its research insights in a global context.


“Digital Science’s Dimensions will help researchers and decision-makers across the continent to garner deep, strategic insights into research – such as areas of strength or areas of opportunity in collaborations, expertise, and resourcing. We hope this collaboration can form part of the foundation for a stronger research ecosystem across Africa that will lead to global recognition of Africa’s unique research proposition,” he said.

“The continent has few science repositories and data there are rarely openly shared. We are, however, moving in a new direction that now opens doors for more research collaboration and increase the sharing of data, thereby promoting trust among researchers … as well as availing data to policy makers to use in making important decisions in government,” said Professor Olusola Bandele Oyewole, Secretary-General of the AAU. He urged African researchers not to fear sharing data so long as this is done in a responsible manner.

Director Government and Funders – Middle East & Africa at Digital Science, Amna Babiker, said: “Africa’s research landscape has been undergoing rapid change, with many nations recognizing the importance of research to their future economic, cultural and societal prosperity. It’s been a pleasure working with our many partners in Africa to understand what role Digital Science can play in helping African research institutions to reach their potential, and for their voices to be heard within global research.”

The SGCI is a multilateral initiative aimed at strengthening the institutional capacities of 17 public science funding agencies across Sub-Saharan Africa. However, until now, little was known globally about the research investments and outputs from most of these key funders, except for South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), which was already indexed.

“This lack of visibility has hindered efforts to comprehensively understand, evaluate and build upon African nations’ critical investments into advancing knowledge – something we now hope to turn around,” Ms Owango said.

ROR Director Maria Gould said: “One of the key use cases for ROR is helping funders track the research outputs they have supported, and this is especially critical to raise the visibility of research activities across the African continent. We are happy that ROR can support this effort.”

The SGCI funders now globally accessible in Dimensions are:

National Research Fund (Kenya)

National Commission For Science, Technology & Innovation (Kenya)

Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology

Uganda National Council for Science and Technology

Malawi National Commission for Science and Technology

Fundo Nacional de Investigacao (Mozambique)

Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) (Nigeria)

National Science and Technology Council (Zambia)

Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (Ghana)

Efforts are underway to index the remaining seven councils to fully capture funding across the 16 SGCI participating nations.

In the long-term, indexing the SGCI funders lays the groundwork for more effective research management, evidence-based policy-making, and amplifying the impacts of African research outputs globally.