The Project Development Objectives (PDO) for the proposed ACE II is to strengthen Eastern and Southern African higher education institutions to deliver quality post-graduate education and build collaborative research capacity in Health.
1. The IDA credit beneficiaries are:
- Students in participating universities and their partner institutions across Eastern and Southern Africa who will benefit from high quality education and training in high growth sectors;
- Employers and targeted industries who will have easy access to high quality/skilled personnel, results of applied research, and scientific knowledge for productivity improvement; as well as knowledge partners (including companies, governmental or non-governmental organizations) who will use research produced by the ACEs;
- Faculty and staff in the ACEs who will benefit from improved teaching and research conditions and professional development opportunities;
- Regional institutions such as EAC and SADC will benefit from improved capacity of the ACEs; and
- Faculty and students in STEM and other priority-sector disciplinary areas who will benefit from fellowships/scholarships, exchange visits, and other knowledge-sharing activities across the ACEs organized by the ACE II Regional Facilitation Unit.
2. Regional Priority Areas for ACEs
Priority Area: Pharm-Bio technology (drug discovery, science-driven traditional medicine and development).
3. Proposal development and Selection Process
The ACEs financed under the ACE II project has being selected through an open, objective, transparent, and merit-based competitive process. The Call for Proposals was issued on July 31, 2015 and a total of 109 proposals were submitted by the nine participating countries, out of which 92 were deemed eligible1 by IUCEA. The eligible proposals which covered eight countries2 were evaluated using a set of clearly defined criteria3 by an Independent Evaluation Committee (IEC) consisting of over 60 African and international subject-matter experts. The technical evaluation where each proposal was evaluated by three experts produced a shortlist of 40 proposals which then moved into the second phase of the evaluation – onsite leadership evaluation. During the onsite evaluation, members of the IEC visited each of the 40 proposed ACEs and submitted their results to IUCEA. Reviewing the compiled scores from the technical and onsite evaluations, and considering geographical distribution and balance among priority areas, the RSC recommended the conditional selection of 23 ACEs. [These conditionally selected ACEs are undergoing FM, procurement and safeguards review, and will be confirmed by the WB Board]. The 23 conditionally selected ACEs were selected to ensure balance across countries, priority areas and importance of the proposal to the region’s development.
The ACEs will have the autonomy to implement their own proposals, with the support from their host universities and governments as well as the RFU. For assuring the achievement of targeted results, the ACE II project will employ a performance-based financing mechanism to disburse funding from their respective Ministry of Finance (MoF) to each selected ACE against a set of agreed Disbursement Linked Indicators. To ensure regional collaboration for greater impact, the project will provide a mix of funding requirements and incentives to promote regional mobility of students and faculty, and partnerships with regional and international institutions as well as with the private sector. Each ACE will sign a performance and funding contract with its government (i.e., the Ministry of Education) which will be further developed during appraisal.