GCRF Small Grants
Each year from 2016-2020, the University of Glasgow ran an internal grants call using funds allocated to us from the Global Challenges Research Fund via the Scottish Funding Council. Our competitive selection process awarded different types of grants, including research projects, capacity strengthening activities, meetings & exchanges, Masters student scholarships, network support and fellowships.
The GCRF Small Grants were overseen by the University's GCID Coordination Group and our investment decisions were guided by our GCRF Strategy. The particular goals of our strategy were:
- Development and support for resilient, equitable and innovative research partnerships with the Global South
- Capacity strengthening
- Support for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in the UK and the Global South
From 2016-2021, this fund supported 208 initiatives with 437 partners in 68 countries. We are proud that 51% of these initiatives were led by female PIs and 42% were led by Early Career Researchers.
We continue our commitment to pump-priming and partnership development through a new initiative funded directly by the Unviersity of Glasgow. The GCID Small Grants Fund is anticipated to run from 2022-2025 and will support equitable co-development of funding proposals targeting Low and Middle Income Country challenges.
2016 GCRF Small Grants
Building Sustainable Futures in Africa. Led by Deborah Dixon, this project brought together researchers from Nigeria, Malawi, Botswana and Uganda for the development of new methodologies for engaging in community-driven research. The network completed three pilot projects exploring community responses to human-animal interaction, managing plastic pollution, and environmental sustinability.
Sustainable agriculture and ecosystem services in TZ's livestock sector. Led by Grant Hopcraft, this project explored wildlife and livestock interactions in the Serengeti ecosystem, developing a tool-box for estimating wildlife and livestock abundances, examining shared wildlife and livestock helminth infection rates, and hosting a stakeholder meeting to further develop ideas.
Health information systems in Malawi. Led by Alistair Tough, this project explored ways to collect important medical data for health management systems at the point of care in Malawi.
Implementation of Mexican model of dual vocational education and training. Led by Oscar Valiente, this project piloted a new evaluation metholodology to explore the Mexican model of dual vocation education and training, and shared the results with stakeholders in the education system in Mexico state.
Preserving and promoting the historical cultural heritages of rural communities in West Bengal. Led by John Reuben Davies, this project brought together 12 specialists in archaeology, heritage management, histroy and education from Glasgow, India and Bangladesh to build new partnerships and explore issues related to the promotion and preservation of histotrical cultural tradition in the cross-border region of West Bengal and Bangladesh.
Real-time genomic surveillance to guide rabies elimination programmes in LMICs. Led by Katie Hampson, this project field-tested equipment to develop a "lab in a suitcase" for rabies surveillance in Tanzania. This project teamed with the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology and the Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Tanzania.
Assessment of implementation of regenerative medicine strategies in countries affected by landmines. Led by Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez, this project partnered with Find a Better Way to explore capacity in Cambodia for new technologies to treat amputations caused by landmines. The technology at the heart of this proposal was used in 2017 at the Unviersity of Glasgow's Small Animal Hospital to successfully save the leg of a two-year-old Munsterlander dog named Eva from amputation.
Strengthening the regional engagement role of universities in Africa and Asia. Led by Michael Osborne, this project developed regional profiles for six different universities, exploring the interconnected challenges of urbanization and higher education engagement across a range of low, low-middle and upper-middle income countries.
Geothermal understanding in developing economies (GUIDE). Led by Neil Burnside, this project investigated geothermal and groundwater resouces in East Africa, and developed connections with Ethiopian stakeholders. Glasgow-led ‘Geothermally Sourced Combined Power and Freshwater Generation for Eastern Africa (Combi-Gen)’ project. This project was the vital for the development of the Combi-Gen project, which seeks to provide a disruptive technology to significantly increase the efficiency of geothermal resources in Ethiopia and Kenya, while producing freshwater - simultaneously addressing the long-standing twin challenges of combatting water and energy shortages in East Africa.
Sustainable management of crop pest in Brazil. Led by Shireen Davies, this project focussed on new partnerships to build transnational capacity in insect molecular science to address significant crop losses in Brazilian agriculture.
Framework for the diagnosis and control of viral diseases in West Africa. Led by Emma Thomson, this project explored the passive case detection for and the economic impact of mosquito-borne viral diseases in The Gambia.
Energy autonomous bio-sensor patch suited for affordable self-health monitoring. Led by Ravinder Dahiya, this project was a feasibility study for an energy autonomous pH sensor patch conducted in conjuction with partners in India.
Moving towards integration of syndromic laboratory surveillance of zoonoses in TZ. Led by Tiziana Lembo, this project supported the development of an electronic anthrax surveillance platform, and provided training for laboratory and field staff in Tanzania.
Biomarker discovery for carriers of haemorrhagic septicaemia in water buffalo. Led by David Eckersall, this project supported a workshop and pilot study into haemorrhagic septicaemia in water buffalo, an infectious disease that impacts livestock across southeast Asia.
Experiences of camp/non-camp displacement: Building from Jordan to build learning in Jordan. Led by Teresa Piacentini, this project supported a small project team travelling to Jordan to develop and strengthen links between Jordan and Scotland and to conduct preliminary work for a larger programme on durable solutions to challenges for displaced persons.
Microbe-based malaria transmission blocking in Anopheles mosquitoes. Led by Steve Sinkins, this project explored the potential for Microsporidia sp. to inhibit the transmission of Plasmodium in Anopheles gambiae mosquitos.
2017 GCRF Small Grants
Sustainable fisheries management in the Egyptian Red Sea. Led by David Bailey, this project collected baseline ecological data and used social science techniques co-develop a fisheries management plan with fishers and build the capacity of Egyptian government and academic partners.
Collaborative Digital Innovation for Growth and Inclusiveness. Led by Nuran Acur, this project considered local idiosyncrasies to develop a predictive medicine platform for non-communicable-diseases, with an emphasis on adoption and diffusion in South-East-Asia.
Multidisciplinary investigation of the socio-environmental impacts of non-regulated gold mining (NRGM) on communities in Chocó, Colombia. Led by Neil Burnside, this project strengthened existing links with local partners in order to help develop community led socio-environmental rehabilitation strategies.
Multiplexed Sentinel Paper DNA Sensors. Led by Jon Cooper, this project developed a new paradigm in low-‐cost paper diagnostics, detecting two different infectious diseases from the same sample, namely a finger-‐prick of blood.
One health approaches reducing the impact of drought on human and animal health in semi-arid areas of Tanzania. Led by Alicia Davis, this project explored Tanzania policy around responses to natural disasters and expanded the University's existing One Health network to build a team focussed on resilience and action on short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change.
Visualising Geoviolence in Malawi. Led by Deborah Dixon, this project looked at the needs and concerns of vulnerable communities struggling to make a living in deteriorating environmental conditions and how community-based responses can be given greater visibility.
The Use of Mobile Text Messaging to Increase Participation in Canine Rabies Vaccination Campaigns. Led by Sayantan Ghosal, this project explored the factors influencing participation in rabies vaccination campaigns in Tanzania through community forums, focus groups discussion and household surveys. The project also trialled an intervention to encourage increased participation.
Workshop in Rwanda. Led by Dan Haydon, this project brought together teams from Rwanda and Glasgow to identify new areas for collaboration and began to develop ideas for projects building on both institutions' particular expertise in diversity, conservation, ecosystem management, genetics and bacteriology.
Tanzania-Malawi-Glasgow network. Led by Dan Haydon, this project sought to build south-south collaborations between our medical colleagues in Tanzania and Malawi. Bringing together doctors with expertise in paediatrics and metabolic diseases at a meeting in Malawi in April 2018, we created new connections and developed new ideas that are relevant for both countries.
Inequality in access to education at different stages of development: Scoping study of empirical and normative aspects. Led by Kristinn Hermannsson, this project mapped inequality of access to education across Malawi, Swaziland, Chile and Scotland, and identified principles driving access, key policy documents, data sources and stakeholders for this important topic.
An integrated energy system for co-generation of electricity and heat for drying agricultural products. Led by Nader Karimi, this project collected the information necessary for designing a clean and low-cost energy system for cogeneration of heat and electricity from agricultural waste to support food processing.
Exploring the feasibility of cross-sectoral data linkage to study the social determinants of health in India. Led by Vittal Katikireddi, this project investigated the availability and comprehensiveness of health, social and economic data routinely collected in India, with a goal of developing a network and exploring how such data can be used to identify social determinants of health.
Building up trial research hubs in Uganda and Nigeria for Sustainable Futures in Africa. Led by Daniel Koehn, this project built on the strengths of the Sustainable Futures in Africa Network through grant writing workshops, communications support, and staff exchange.
Citizen Science for Health Surveillance in Failed Sates - Venezuela. Led by Martin Llewellyn, this project established proof of principle for a citizen science approach to disseminated disease surveillance in Venezuela.
Children's literature and international safe spaces. Led by Evelyn Arizpe, this project developed picturebook mediation workshops that were run for a wide range of NGOs and government organisations.
Social Accountability for Sustainable Domestic Water in Dar es Salaam. Led by Neil Munro, this project aimed to find out how local behaviour, motivations, and cultural and institutional constraints affect community-based efforts to make water governance institutions responsive to local needs.
Cultural practices and the arts in socio-ecological sustainability research. Led by Mia Perry, this project developed new methods for incorporating arts-based approaches into community-engagement research practices through pilot studies in Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda.
Towards a modern biodiversity monitoring pipeline in Tanzania: Automated machine learning techniques for processing wildlife image data. Led by Colin Torney, this project applied machine learning techniques to reduce the time required to conduct wildlife censusing in Tanzania, and provided training in these techniques to Tanzanian researchers.
River channel change in the Philippines. Led by Richard Williams, this project applied new methods to estimate erosion rates and predict future changes, and built a collaborative research relationship following a scoping workshop.
Criminogenic Collectables: an Object-Centred approach to studying the trafficking of rare illicit commodities. Led by Donna Yates, this project piloted a unique, multidisciplinary, object-centred methodological framework for illicit commodities trafficking and produced actionable, policy-relevant results to effectively intervene in these criminal markets.
2018 GCRF Small Grants
Markets, Constitutions,and Inequality. Led by Anna Chadwick, this project funded the development of a new inter-disciplinary research network aimed at exploring the role that constitutions, as sources of both political aspirations and legal norms, can play in shaping market activities and in creating the conditions for sustainable and inclusive economic development. The network has developed through the organization of two workshops: an exploratory workshop in Glasgow (March 2019) to scope the key questions informing the relationship between constitutions and economic inequality, and a larger workshop in Colombia (June 2019) that aimed at expanding the network to integrate new members from additional ODA countries.
Counter-mapping for peri-urban social justice: accounting for spatial narratives of community resistance and dispossession in urban transition. Led by Arnisson Andre Ortega, this project was intended to jumpstart a countermapping participatory action research project with the hope of bringing together academics and students, community residents, local organizations, activists and artists. While several of the individuals and institutions in the group worked in disparate community-based activities in the past, the project was created the necessary structure to consolidate counter-mapping efforts. The project also aimed to develop a counter-mapping methodology that would practice participatory engagement with indigenous peoples and farmers who are caught in development aggression and threatened by urban development. Through counter-mapping, the project provided opportunities for communities impacted by development to express their experiences.
Lost limbs, lives and livelihoods: understanding community behavioural change and the role of remote data collection approaches for Mine Risk Education (MRE) in Myanmar. Led by Brian Barrett, this project investigated interdisciplinary approaches to improve understanding of the extent of landmine contaminated areas in Myanmar, helping elucidate the barriers preventing vulnerable populations from adopting safe behaviour in these areas, and exploring the role that maps have in influencing these behaviours. The team worked with the HALO Trust to gain better understandings of Mine Risk Education (MRE) and conducted workshops to train HALO MRE staff in using remote data tools for more effective MRE.
Towards resilient and sustainable tropical livestock production systems in Colombia. Led by Brian Barrett, this project facilitated collaborative meetings and workshops to develop inter-disciplinary partnerships to tackle challenges underpinning the development of resilient and sustainable tropical livestock production systems in Colombia. Meetings and workshops were held to develop partnerships and to co-design and develop interdisciplinary research projects. This activity brought together expertise in the biological, environmental and social sciences at the University of Glasgow, University of Antioquia, and international research and not-for-profit organisations in Colombia in the area of sustainable livestock production systems. The programme of activity involved meetings and field visits in Colombia and Scotland and two scientific exchanges (Colombia to Scotland).
Developing a valid and feasible assessment tool for use in an adaptive intervention for moderate acute malnutrition. Led by Charlotte Wright, this project aimed to 1) further develop the infant diet and eating behaviour questionnaire (IDEBQ) for use in malnutrition treatment by testing how well the IDEBQ discriminated between the diet and feeding behaviour of undernourished and healthy children cross-sectionally and in undernourished children, after starting and stopping RUSF treatment; 2) measure and value the resource use associated with the current management of acute malnutrition using ready to use supplementary foods (RUSF), in order to model the cost of a future, modified intervention; 3) explore future possible research collaborations to run a trial in Nairobi.
Feasibility Studies on Deploying a Self-contained Solar-hydraulic Pilot Power Plant in a Rural Area in Bangladesh. Led by Chong Li, this project was intended to undertake feasibility studies on deploying a self-contained solar-hydraulic pilot power plant in a rural area in Bangladesh. The team carried out a survey on energy sources, market status, usage patterns, consumers’ income, and technical details in 9 villages in Chittagong. Based on the collected data, the team proposed a business model for building and running a hybrid power plant in the selected village. The team exchanged visits between UK and DAC partners and held two workshops. Eventually the team jointly submitted a proposal to InnovateUK Energy Catalyst R6. A conference paper and a 130-page report are produced.
Co-developing a health and wellbeing programme for men who support Malawian football teams, with a focus on preventing non-communicable diseases. Led by Chris Bunn, this project used an action research methodology, informed by the 6 Steps in Quality Intervention development (6SQuID) approach to intervention development, to work with the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and two clubs (and supporters’ groups) to develop and test the feasibility of an Non-Communicable Diseases prevention programme for at-risk male supporters. The team successfully co-developed a programme, trained coaches to deliver this programme, recruited 30 men to participate in the programme and study, delivered the programme, and collected mixed methods data for evaluation purposes. Preliminary results show the programme is promising.
Developing and validating a field-based molecular laboratory to elucidate reservoirs of zoonotic vector-borne diseases. Led by Christina Faust, the project carried out field PCR analysis using a field mobile tool and validated the results against the laboratory PCR machines. This project was intended to develop capacity (personnel and equipment) for conducting molecular epidemiology of vector-borne diseases in Uganda. Molecular techniques are essential components of vector-borne research, particularly when multiple reservoir species contribute to infections. This project focused on providing tools to deploy field-based PCR and training for carrying out these protocols in Uganda. The funding was used to purchase equipment for molecular field laboratories and these were validated for studying schistosomiasis and trypanosomiasis, two important vector-borne zoonoses in Uganda. In addition, training for staff in Uganda ensured the equipment can be incorporated into future local surveillance programmes for vector-borne zoonoses.
Network on Intelligence and Security Practices in African Countries (NISPAC). Led by Damien Van Puyvelde, this project was intended to launch a new collaborative research network on intelligence and security practices in African countries. An inaugural workshop brought together a diverse group of researchers and practitioners to explore the role of intelligence services in sub-Saharan African countries, harnessing the combined insights of the humanities and social sciences to refine scholarly and policy understandings of intelligence and security across Africa.
Ugandan parenting programme to reduce gender based violence: writing-up pre-post evaluation and preparation for large scale experimental evaluation. Led by Daniel Wight, this project was intended to analyse, disseminate and write-up the results of a pre-post evaluation of a Ugandan parenting programme for the early prevention of gender-based violence, Parenting for Respectability (PfR), and to develop plans for a large-scale experimental evaluation. Integral to this main goal was strengthening the Ugandan research team’s capacity to analyse and write-up qualitative and quantitative data and design rigorous outcome evaluations.
Assessing Quality and Outcomes in a Community Form of Palliative Care Delivery in Kerala, India. Led by David Clark, the goal of the project was to establish a method for the evaluation of quality and outcomes of the Kerala model of community palliative care, giving priority to the perspectives of community members. The team held a kick off meeting at Dumfries Campus in November 2018, conducted fieldwork in Kerala in January, February and June 2019, and also hosted a further working meeting in Dumfries in May 2019. Some 50 interviews were conducted with community palliative care stakeholders (service providers and users) across Kerala and field visits were made to service users’ homes and local clinics. From a diverse range of material, an evaluation framework has been developed.
Resilience in Genetic and Cultural Diversity: Supporting Sustainable Indigenous Agri-Cultures in Chiapas, Mexico. Led by Emma Cardwell, this project focussed on a collaborative meeting to build partnerships to support indigenous community agricultural practices in Chiapas, Mexico. The meeting enabled the UK team to develop relationships with Mexican partners to progress potential collaborations, liaise with indigenous communities in Mexico to investigate the best direction for future research on supporting agricultural genetic diversity, and develop research questions that will be relevant for local communities. Three areas of co-developed research have been identified and will form the basis of future funding applications.
Reviving Rwandan Cultural Heritage: Toward a Rwandan Code of Practice for Qualitative Research. Led by Erin Jessee, this capacity-building project was intended to have a transformative impact on the qualitative cultural heritage research being undertaken by Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture (RALC) staff and affiliates in Rwanda. This was accomplished by holding a research symposium and advanced qualitative methods workshop in Kigali in December 2018, which provided participants with focused training in oral historical and ethnographic methods, digital media, and archiving standards. From the resulting conversations, the team drafted a Rwandan code of practice (currently under review at RALC), and have generated materials for an online resource and twinned cultural heritage archive taking shape at the University of Glasgow and RALC’s offices.
Managing the boundaries of protected areas to ensure sustainable ecosystem services: A meeting to develop new conservation strategies for the Serengeti ecosystem. Led by Grant Hopcraft, this project brought together cross-border stakeholders from Kenya and Tanzania to identify the threats, pinpoint specific research areas for the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, and to develop novel threat mitigation strategies. The management of large transboundary ecosystems such as the Serengeti in East Africa requires coordinated efforts to harmonize policies and develop impactful research that informs policies. This project specifically addressed these needs by bringing together wildlife authorities from Tanzania and Kenya, facilitating cross-border management approaches and highlighting the need for future such meetings (the next of which is planned for May 2020).
Developing ecologically sustainable infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa: Integrating animal movement data into national infrastructure plans. Led by Grant Hopcraft, this five day workshop brought together 23 international scientists working across Africa to develop analytical skills and to enhance collaborative research on wildlife movement in Africa. The main training component involved using statistical analyses to infer impacts of infrastructure on wildlife behaviour. Infrastructure that was discussed included: roads, power lines, fences, tourist lodges, railways, and gas pipelines. Participants brought GPS datasets from respective countries/ecosystems, University of Glasgow provided environmental datasets, and we discussed and developed a common analytical framework for assessing impacts on wildlife.
Visit of Africa Prize Winner Brian Gitta to the University of Glasgow to explore collaboration on malaria diagnostics and bioelectronics. Led by Heather Ferguson, funds were used to host Brian Gitta, CEO of the Ugandan health technology start up, ThinkIt Incorporated, for a one week visit to the IBAHCM to explore collaboration on new diagnostics for malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases with researchers and specialists in the university's Bioelectronics Unit. Brian is a young entrepreneur who started his company with the aim of developing a non-invasive malaria diagnostic test; and was awarded the Royal Society of Engineering’s Africa prize in recognition of his work in 2017. During his visit, Brian gave a seminar about his company and “Matibabu”, the malaria diagnostic they are developing , met with members from several research divisions working on diagnostics, and had extensive discussions with the Bioelectronics Team regarding future collaborations on product development.
Shipment and staff training in surplus equipment from Univesity of Glasgow to College of Medicine (COM) Malawi. Led by Helen Arthur, this project shipped Zeiss/Leica fluorescence microscopes from the University of Glasgow to the new Blantyre Blantyre lab at College of Medicine University of Malawi. Their need was articulated by staff at COM and will provide key infrastructure to support a wide range of projects across infection, non-communicable disease and multi-morbidity areas and optimise the impact of a number of on-going projects. Training on microscopy was provided as part of this activity and this initiative includes servicing by UK suppliers at no cost.
Skimming the cream: Developing potential to: learn from each other, co-design research, build networks and, develop dairy farmers’ resilience. Led by Helen Baxter, this project initiated a research and collaboration network for the mutual benefit of dairy farmers in Malawi and Scotland. The objectives were to gain a better understanding of each other’s perspectives, to explore the potential for research collaboration, and to build relationships with stakeholders and academics in Malawi and Scotland to co-design future collaborative research. Over the course of two reciprocal country visits, the team gained understanding of challenges in the dairy sector in each country and identified several areas of research they will pursue via future funding applications.
Groundwork and preparation for a research study to adapt, develop and test the implementation effectiveness of ‘A Stop Smoking In Schools Trial’ (ASSIST) in LMIC settings. Led by Helen Sweeting, this project aimed to build international partnerships to conduct scoping research to determine the feasibility of implementing and researching ‘ASSIST’ (schools-based smoking prevention intervention effective in the UK) in one or more culturally/socially diverse LMIC. Activities included: identifying colleagues with relevant research interests in countries with high (preferably rising) smoking rates and varying social, political and school contexts; producing scoping work specifications and making personal visits to facilitate research partner-led work (desk-based and small-scale qualitative data-collection) relating to the potential feasibility of ASSIST; a Glasgow-based meeting with research partners to share scoping work findings and consider next steps.
The Birds, the Bees, and the Chocolate Trees: Cutting-edge DNA Sequencing to Benefit African Cacao Farmers and Rainforest Biodiversity. Led by Luke Powell, the project was intended to use cutting edge genetics techniques (DNA barcoding and metabarcoding) to identify the birds and bats consuming pest insects on Cameroonian cacao farms, thus promoting cost-effective, sustainable management and benefitting both farmers and local biodiversity. The team sampled birds and bats on 20 different cocoa farms and in primary forest in Cameroon. They developed a DNA barcode for this primary pest as well as many other pest species, and trained five early career Cameroonians in the field. The team discovered the primary cocoa pest (brown capsid) in the diets of both birds and bats through DNA metabarcoding.
Quantitative ecology workshop for Central African students. Led by Luke Powell, this project ran a quantitative ecology workshop in Cameroon to strengthen the statistics and programming skills of early career researchers from Central Africa. The team were very pleased to have had 25 students from 13 different institutions and two countries (23 from Cameroon and 2 from Equatorial Guinea) participate this 7-day workshop.
African Coffee Histories. Led by Jelmer Vos, this project was intended to build a platform for scholars and non-academic experts with an interest in past and current coffee cultivation in Africa to discuss questions related to sustainable coffee production. Within the grant period, two meetings were organised – in Glasgow in December and Kampala in May – to discuss significant social, economic and environmental challenges that coffee growers in Africa are facing today and think about ways in which historical research might contribute to developing solutions.
Developing point-of-need diagnostics for Brucella in rural communities - establishing the real picture of human prevalence and zoonotic transmission. Led by Jon Cooper, this project developed technologies for new, rapid, low cost point-of-care multiplexed DNA based sensors for zoonotic infections, most notably Brucella sp. In parallel, the team delivered capacity-strengthening with academic groups in Uganda through a training programme for staff and students – enabling them to develop their own technologies. The final element of the project initiated translational pathways to investigate if it were possible to establish manufacturing capabilities for the sensors in Uganda, resulting in an MOU to pursue this option.
Strengthening interdisciplinary and intercultural research capacities in Sierra Leone, Namibia and Glasgow. Led by Julie Langan Martin, mental illness among women is a significant burden in Sierra Leone, exacerbated by significant shortages of psychiatrists to diagnose and treat mental illness. Sustainable strategies to address this gap and build capacity are required. This project brought together experts from Sierra Leone, Namibia and Glasgow to develop these strategies. The project arranged 3 knowledge exchange meetings in all 3 centres to strengthen collaborative ties and develop a specific research idea, which could lead to a further grant application.
ColombiOmics: Expanding the Network. Led by Karl Burgess, this project aimed to stimulate new collaborative activities with researchers in Colombia. A workshop was organised in Cali, Colombia, attended by Richard Burchmore and Karl Burgess (University of Glasgow) and ~ 15 Colombian researchers from multiple institutions in Cali, Bogota and Medellin. This served to enable bilateral knowledge exchange, the development of potential research projects, and led to the selection of 3 research projects that were advanced through the collection of data at Glasgow Polyomics.
Strengthening capacity at the start of research careers: MSc-level exchange program in parasitology. Led by Katarzyna Modrzynska, a group of MSc–level researchers from the partner units in low- and middle-income countries were selected to join University of Glasgow parasitology teams for 3 months in order to receive training in latest molecular/data analysis techniques, while working on small individual research projects. The scheme aimed to foster the research capacity of young African researchers by hands-on practical training, provide them with a network of contacts within a leading UK university and empower them towards the future research careers in parasitology.
Strategic planning for national scale up of rabies control programmes. Led by Katie Hampson, this project funded a strategic meeting of policy makers and practitioners aiming to progress next steps in the scale up of dog vaccinations to end human deaths from dog-transmitted rabies by 2030 (http://www.fao.org/3/I8956EN/I8956en.pdf). A workshop was hosted at WHO headquarters bringing together experts with extensive collective experience in rabies control, scaling up of national health programmes, mass health interventions and media campaigns. Challenges and opportunities experienced in scaling up of public health interventions and their relevance to rabies control were discussed. Workshop participants worked within identified groups to develop outputs (scale up strategies and funding applications) and plan next steps for implementation.
Poor among the pastoralists: The importance of bad luck for inequality. Led by Konstantinos Angelopoulos , this project collected survey data from Turkana pastoralists in Kenya and conducted a quantitative analysis of inequality and risk to livestock and human productivity. The team collected data from 1347 households in rural Turkana and are currently conducting the analysis. The aim is to understand the links between socio-economic equality and risk exposure in pastoral communities, where poverty is near ubiquitous but not uniform.
The effect of English-only instruction on skill formation and labour market readiness of young Malawians: First wave of evidence gathering and dialogue between experts and stakeholders. Led by Kristinn Hermannsson, this project was intended to gather evidence of the complex interactions of language, schooling, labour market outcomes and economic development in Malawi. The project had two aims: 1) to promote an informed and effective discussion between academics and stakeholders in Malawi to strengthen the evidence base for policy making and 2) to identify remaining gaps in the evidence base in order to inform an application for a large collaborative research project. This is an interdisciplinary problem, which straddles linguistics, education, labour markets and economics. To gain traction we assembled an interdisciplinary network of academics in Glasgow, Malawi and South Africa and have produced five policy-relevant reports in addition to several academic outputs.
Workers by Self-Design: Digital Literacies and Women’s Changing Roles in Unstable Environments. Led by Lavinia Hirsu, the project aimed to facilitate knowledge exchange through two meetings (one in Glasgow and one in the Philippines) to strengthen and develop new partnerships among academic and non-academic stakeholders on the challenges that women face as they transition into the workplace and develop new digital literacies. Through these meetings, the teams across the three countries (UK, the Philippines and Iran) developed an impact-oriented research agenda on women’s engagement and their changing roles and they have reached out towards local stakeholders to identify potential partners for future research projects.
Asymptomatic malaria in Burkina Faso: a barrier to effective disease control. Led by Lisa Ranford-Cartwright, the objectives were (i) to strengthen a new research collaboration between Glasgow, Burkina Faso and Spain, and (ii) to collect pilot data by isolating and characterising malaria parasites collected from asymptomatic individuals in Burkina Faso. In summary, parasites were isolated from asymptomatic individuals in Burkina Faso, and shipped to the UK, where they were adapted to in vitro culture, and then cloned. The isolates and clones were characterised for a limited number of genotypic differences and their growth characteristics in vitro were established. Parasite genomic DNA has been sent for whole genome PacBio sequencing.
Building capacity for film curation and exhibition in East Africa. Led by Lizelle Bisschoff, this project delivered training in film curation to aspiring film curators in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, culminating in teams of curators implementing film events in their own countries. It was led by the Africa in Motion Film Festival and supported by film professionals in each of the ODA countries who acted as mentors on the project. Each country team identified three trainees who attended training and subsequently curated their own film events. This pilot project has strengthened collaboration and built capacity for African film curation and exhibition in East Africa, ideally leading to further research and impact.
Developing a low-cost electrolyzer for sustainable energy storage and conversion in India. Led by Mark Symes, this project was intended to develop a prototype electrolyzer for the conversion of renewably-generated electricity to give the carbon-neutral fuel hydrogen. This helps to address the challenge of providing access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy in India and other DAC-list countries. The approach combined membrane technology from the Indian partner with electrochemical expertise from the UK partner. A three-month secondment of a researcher from the Indian partner to the UK partner took place, along with a shorter visit to the UK by a PhD student from the Indian partner.
Using flow-cytometry for monitoring waste and water treatment performance; workshop and roundtable. Led by Marta Vignola, this project supported a two-day workshop on Flow Cytometry (FCM) technique and a meeting with Prof Cesar Mota of the University of Minas Gerais and the Brazilian company, COPASA. The main goal of the workshop was also to train PhD students and early career researchers in how to handle and analyse drinking water samples using FCM and learn how to process and interpret the data.
Research Administrators Networking and Capacity Strengthening Workshop. Led by Mary Ryan, this project was intended to develop research administration/management skills and support networks for staff from sub-Saharan Africa research institutions. The workshop gathered 52 participants, including a representative from each of Glasgow’s 4 College Research Support teams, 2 from the UK Association of Research Managers and Administrators, and 2 from UKRI’s Financial Assurance team in Arusha for 3 days of skills development, network development and knowledge exchange. The feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive, with several calls for more initiatives of this type and UKRI noting how useful it was both for African and UK attendees, specifically noting that UK institutions would benefit from more understanding of how UK policies are perceived and operationalized by colleagues in the Global South.
Establishing a partnership in viral genomics and bioinformatics. Led by Massimo Palmarini, this project brought together researchers from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR), Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit (Unit) with the goal of forming a long-term partnership in viral genomics and bioinformatics linked to virus surveillance, epidemiology and human health. In February, a CVR team (including 2 PIs who had not previously visited Africa) travelled to Uganda with Prof Matt Cotten (prior to his appointment as Professor of Pathogen Genomics and Bioinformatics at the Unit). Prof Cotten visited the CVR in May and CVR Bioinformaticians returned to Uganda in June.
Does a poor T cell response to rotavirus vaccination account for reduced vaccine efficacy in children in Malawi? Led by Megan MacLeod, the aim of this activity was to develop a joint project between researchers at the University of Glasgow and the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme to examine T cell responses to rotavirus vaccine in children vaccinated in Malawi. Children in Malawi have a variable response to the vaccine and our long term goal is to understand why vaccine efficacy is less in Low and Middle Income Countries as compared to more affluent countries. We have generated preliminary data for a future application and developed a productive working relationship to ensure that we continue to work together in the future."
Characterisation and survival of individuals with multimorbidity in rural and urban Malawi. Led by Mia Crampin, this project explored the lived experience of multimorbidity as well as the relative survival compared to healthy individuals or those with single conditions. Multimorbidity is of increasing concern in low-income countries. The project team conducted follow-up and mortality estimates of diabetic, hypertensive, HIV-positive and disabled participants in Malawi surveys, explored self-perceived burden and identified key groups for future screens for autoantibodies and markers of inflammation. The coding and analysis of these data is underway and the team is also preparing for major multimorbidity grant calls that will allow them to continue their work.
African Non-communicable Disease Longitudinal data Alliance (ANDLA); Administrative support during transition to sustainable network. Led by Mia Crampin, this project developed research administration skills, and further partnerships in order to facilitate substantial grant applications for the African Non-communicable Disease Longitudinal data Alliance (ANDLA) (est 2017 with GCRF). ANDLA is a partnership between seven African partners contributing to a unique pooled data resource. There was particular focus on development of Esmie Banda, the Malawian administrator of the ANDLA network, and facilitating new areas of research for ANDLA, including initiatives to increase qualitative data sharing across the network.
Sustainable Futures in Africa Network Support. Led by Mia Perry, this project was intended to strengthen and sustain the Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) Network’s leadership, administrative support, and research infrastructure. With a commitment to methodologies of engagement (across disciplines, sectors, cultures), the network is concerned broadly with environmental degradation in relation to education and cultural practices. The long-term goal is sustainability through partnerships that support genuine and decolonial collaboration across Northern and Southern partners. To this end, the project strengthened capacity and leadership across the regions where the Network works.
Is malaria infection a risk factor for hypertension in Malawian adults? Led by Pasquale Maffia, this project was intended to establish proof-of-concept for future large cohort studies investigating relationships between malaria and hypertension. To this aim this project team conducted a short-term case-control observational study, during which they recruited Malawian adults aged between 18 and 45 (85 with malaria and 85 controls) and followed them up for 6 months, taking their blood pressure readings (at 0, 1wk, 1, 3, and 6 months) and collecting venous blood samples at three time points (0, 1 and 6 months). The project has been very successful given that the team have been able to finalise recruitments of all patients. The follow-up is about to be completed.
Bio-banking in Blantyre. Led by Paul Garside, this project set up a -80oC freezer system for storing bio-banking samples at College of Medicine (Blantyre-Blantyre lab) Malawi. Following the successful shipping and set up of two freezers, this facility will provide key infrastructure to support a wide range of projects across infection, non-communicable disease and multi-morbidity areas and optimise the impact of a number of on-going projects.
Evaluating the feasibility of co-using land to enhance sustainable agriculture and electricity production while combating land use conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa. Led by Richard Randle-Boggis, this project established an international, multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral partnership network to determine the potential suitability for co-designing sustainable, integrated energy and agriculture research projects in East Africa. This was successfully achieved through two workshops, one in Glasgow and one in Nairobi. Two potential research field sites were identified during the work trips – one in Kenya and one in Uganda. A preliminary greenhouse study in Glasgow was conducted to investigate the effects of simulated solar array shade on crop varieties relevant to East Africa. Plans for a publication have been drawn up, and additional extramural funding awarded to the project team.
Regional Approaches to the Control of Foot-and-mouth Disease in East Africa. Led by Richard Reeve, the project was intended to develop international research and government links across East Africa to combat trans-boundary livestock disease, especially foot-and-mouth disease. The team hosted a meeting in Glasgow, bringing together the project partners, including academic and government representatives from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, together with other national and international academic collaborators carrying out FMD research in East Africa. Academic researchers brought substantial research experience in the area, which was used to address key research gaps identified by other partners. Non-academic partners provided critical knowledge of the local context and constraints under which any proposed solutions will have to operate.
Southeast Asian group B Streptococcus – Creating a network to address the regional threat to public health and aquaculture (SEA-BeaSt). Led by Ruth Zadoks, this project was set up to address the emerging threat of foodborne group B streptococcus (GBS) in Southeast Asia through development of an interdisciplinary network of collaborators, and by strengthening epidemiological and genomic evidence for the impact of GBS on food production and public health. The team brought together representatives from the public health and aquaculture sectors across 5 priority countries in the region, international public health (CDC, WHO) and food security organisations (FAO), mathematical modellers, engineers and social scientists, and initiated data generation activities, career development for regional scientists, and funding applications.
Building Research Collaboration with India and Kyrgyzstan to explore the role of universities in developing skills for smart cities. Led by Srabani Maitra, this interdisciplinary project was intended to bring together leading academic researchers, policy makers and community organisations from India and Kyrgyzstan to build new partnerships with the University of Glasgow. Through four international partner meetings, two roundtables, three seminars, one workshop and site visits to smart cities in India and Kyrgyzstan, the project engaged in critical knowledge exchange to explore the core problem of capacity building of universities in emerging economies, particularly in the context of inclusive and equitable smart cities. This knowledge exchange was geared towards identifying the gaps in scholarship and develop culturally relevant understandings of the universities.
Establishing capacity for research with children and young people in Africa. Led by Tiziana Lembo, this project was intended to address skill needs in Africa in research methodology targeting children and young people. The team hosted a Tanzanian scientist, Lwitiko Sikana, at Glasgow University to expose him to social science training relevant to his research on family aspects of dog care in rural Tanzania to inform rabies prevention. We subsequently held in-depth social science workshops in Tanzania that provided Sikana with an opportunity to benefit from the perspectives of African and international scientists. Tanzanian government representatives were involved in further workshops to brainstorm appropriate public health research and awareness interventions focusing on children and young people.
Building sustainable capacity to develop and evaluate social and public health interventions: piloting a workshop to train researchers in East Africa. Led by Victoria Palmer, this project aimed to develop and pilot a workshop to train East African early/mid-career researchers in understanding and delivering a course on the development and evaluation of social and public health interventions. The team adapted the content of the existing UoG Improving Health and Society(SPS5022) Master’s course for delivery to and further co-adaptation with workshop participants. Twelve participants were recruited (nine attended) to the nine-day workshop, where they supported finalising the course materials, were trained in adapting these for their own deliveries and contributed to the design of future training to further sustainable capacity strengthening within East/Central Africa in this priority area.
Building capacity to use arts-based methods for non-communicable disease prevention in Malawi and Tanzania. Led by Zoe Strachan, this project was intended to develop a tailored, fit-for-purpose arts-based methodology that could be used by local researchers/arts practitioners to trial an arts-informed approach to developing culturally-situated understandings of non communicable disease drivers (as part of the larger MRC/AHRC-funded GCRF project Culture and Bodies MC_PC_MR/R024448/1 – ‘C&B’). Capacity-strengthening occurred through a 5-day workshop in which local researchers were trained in arts-based enquiry data generation, collection and analysis techniques. Together the project team developed a protocol for a method which was trialled in Bagamoyo and Area 25, Lilongwe in Spring-Summer 2019.
2019 GCRF Small Grants
Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) network’s administrative support. Led by Brian Barrett, this project supported the Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) network, a collective of researchers, educators, artists, and communities across Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria, Botswana, and Scotland who develop understanding, research, and practice in socio-ecological sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. This project provided essential resources for administrative support and research development across this network.
Priming elimination of hepatitis C in sub-Saharan Africa; development of a treatment and bioresource network. Led by Emma Thomson, this project aimed to initiate an administrative and clinical network that would be able to provide support for the development of diagnostic and treatment strategies designed to prime the elimination of Hepatitis C Virus in Africa. The project successfully engaged with treating physicians and national blood banks in 12 Sub-Saharan African countries. Information was gathered about the availability of treatment and testing resources in the participating countries as well as prevalence and types of hepatitis C. Network members were consulted, and commitments gained to ongoing participation with the network to further engage with the issues raised going forward.
Blantyre – Glasgow study course in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Partnership. Led by Mike Barrett, this project financially supported 10 Malawian doctors (5 of whom were female) and 2 Malaysian students to undertake the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTMH) at the University of Glasgow. Support included course fees, travel, visa & accommodation costs to attend the residential teaching weeks and the examination.
Strengthening diagnostic capacity for anthrax in support of epidemiological studies in endemic settings. Led by Taya Forde, this project established critical diagnostic capacity in Tanzania to improve our understanding of the epidemiology of anthrax – a neglected zoonosis with major impacts on health and livelihoods in rural livestock-keeping communities. Linking partners in Tanzania with anthrax experts from the UK, laboratory staff from the Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute received hands-on skills training in both the UK and Tanzania that will strongly support studies on anthrax transmission in endemic areas, a critical step towards improved disease control.
Reviving Rwandan Cultural Heritage, Part II: Publishing for Academic, Policymaker, and Public Audiences. Led by Erin Jessee, this is a collaborative project between Erin Jessee (History) and the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture (RALC). In December 2019, we held a very successful academic publishing workshop at RALC’s offices in Kigali, attended by approximately 25 people. It included presentations on historical research and publishing for academic, policymaker, and public audiences to enable RALC researchers to submit high-quality reports and articles to appropriate journals, institutions, and media outlets for consideration.
Strengthening capacity at the start of research careers: MSc-level exchange program in parasitology. Led by Katarzyna Modrzynska, a group of MSc–level researchers from the partner units in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) were selected to join the Glasgow University parasitology teams for 3 months in order to receive training in the latest molecular/data analysis techniques, while working on small individual research projects. The scheme aimed to foster the research capacity of young African researchers by hands-on practical training, provide them with a network of contacts within a leading UK university and empower them towards future research careers in tropical parasitology.
Community engagement in international and development-led research. Led by Mia Perry, this interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral project aimed at increasing the level of understanding of community perspectives, communication needs, and successful engagement tools for community integrated research and intervention in international contexts. The focus was on building capacity for researchers and aid organisation stakeholders, as well as community participants. A workshop in Malawi had been planned to follow a series of initiatives to gather lived experiences from these key actors in international and development-led research projects. However, due to COVID-19, the workshop had to be cancelled less than a week prior to departure.
Research Managers and Administrators Workshop for sub-Saharan Africa. Led by Mary Ryan, the overall aim of the project was to provide skills development and knowledge exchange opportunities to Research Managers and Administrators from across Africa and the UK. In February 2020, 79 attendees from 51 institutions across 12 countries attended a 3-day workshop of interactive sessions covering topics ranging from due diligence and tracking expenditure to communications and reporting.
Nature based river management solutions: learning, practicing and evaluating. Led by Richard Williams, this project delivered a River Styles training course to Philippine river managers and scientists. To assess the course, a mixed-method, qualitative approach was applied. This identified key factors which created space and opportunity for the co-production of knowledge, and which served to reduce the power gradient between instructors (from Global North) and participants (predominantly from Global South).
Strengthening social science capacity in non-communicable disease prevention in Tanzania. Led by Cindy Gray, this award support a fellowship aimed to support a female Tanzanian social scientist to build an NCD prevention research programme in Tanzania. To date, the fellow has attended evaluation design training, built scientific networks, played a lead role in three COVID-19 grant submissions (totalling £668K) and developed a hypertension prevention proposal. Due to delays in start date and disruptions to planned field activities due to COVID-19, the project is now extended to early 2021 using funds from the 2020-21 allocation.
Towards eliminating human rabies in Kenya: optimizing access to life-saving rabies post-exposure vaccines. Led by Katie Hampson, this project supported a fellowships that aimed to undertake geospatial analysis of dog bites, rabies cases, and travel times to determine the optimal allocation of PEP within health facilities in Kenya. A georeferenced public health facility dataset has been obtained and analysis is ongoing. Secondly, the team sought to assess the effectiveness of integrated human-animal surveillance for improving bite patient care while reducing unnecessary vaccine use for those bitten by healthy dogs. A pilot study on Kenya's national control strategy has been implemented. Work will continue into 2020-21 due to disruptions from COVID-19. The fellow also became heavily involved in Kenya's national response to COVID-19.
Bat Consumption of Malaria Vectors while Developing the Genetic Skillset of a Cameroonian Ecologist. Led by Heather Ferguson, the aim was to support the career development of Ms. Tabe Claire, an outstanding early career ecologist from Cameroon and key member of a research partnership between the UB and UoG. This award allowed Ms Claire to undertake the Masters of Research in Ecology and Environmental Biology programme at UoG through which she conducted research on the role of bats as consumers of mosquito vectors in Cameroon. During her studies, Ms Tabe received training in laboratory and quantitative analyses methods that will enable her to play a leading role in UoG-Cameroonian partnerships and develop her independent research career.
Education and Youth Enterprise in Malawi. Led by Srabani Maitra, this award supported Stewart Paul to build academic skills enabling him to progress in his career trajectory in socio-ecologic sustainability and community education in Malawi. Specifically, he undertook the MSc in Educational Studies in Adult, Community, and Youth Contexts. His independent research explored the implications – for access and attainment – of international educational aid on local policies. The nature of this project directly addresses Sustainable Development Goal 4 of Quality Education, as well as Goal 17 “Partnerships” as this project brings together Universities and NGOs across the UK and Malawi.
Plastic arts and EcoAction through education. Led by Mia Perry, this project focussed on building the foundational research skills and evidence to support a plastic waste reduction project in schools and marginalised communities in urban Uganda. The main objectives were: 1) to build Reagan Kandole’s capacities in basic research skills to support his practice; and 2) to understand and document an ongoing school-based waste reduction project entitled “Clean Air Project”. This project 1) created of a new waste management community involving diverse stakeholders: University of Makerere, AWOC, Kampala City Council, five primary schools in Kampala, etc.; 2) built capacities in waste management in these schools and stakeholder organisations; 3) strengthened Reagan’s capacities in research, documentation, project management and community engagement.
MSc Developing and Evaluating Interventions studentship for Ala’ Suboh, Projects Coordinator, Bethlehem, Palestine. Led by Daniel Wight, this project aims to provide Masters training in Developing and Evaluating Interventions at Glasgow University for a promising female early career mental health practitioner in Palestine. This should strengthen Palestinian capacity to develop interventions in a logical, evidence-based way, to evaluate their outcomes rigorously and explain these outcomes through process evaluation, thus improving the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of health interventions in Palestine. Ala’ Suboh has attended three core courses and three selected courses and attained suitable marks to proceed to conduct her masters dissertation which is to develop an evaluation strategy for her NGO in Palestine.
Nigerian illegal mining: Can we learn from Colombian ‘worst practice’ to avert catastrophic socio-environmental impacts? Led by Neil Burnside, this project facilitated knowledge exchanges with researchers working in Chocó, Colombia to avoid the scale of illegal mining there which has resulted in catastrophic socio-environmental impacts. The meetings that were able to proceed highlighted similarities and differences between both contexts and the mutual learning opportunities that further collaborations could foster. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a planned project meeting in Malawi (March 2020) was cancelled and the associated activities have been postponed to 2020-2021.
Transformative ideologies, technologies, and cultures in the changing climate of the Indian Ocean Rim. Led by Ophira Gamliel, the primary aim of the project was a workshop with scholars from India, Indonesia, Japan, and Australia, who collaborated on developing research proposals since April 2017. The workshop included a session aimed at drafting a research proposal and identifying funding opportunities. Additionally, we aimed at engaging scholars and practitioners from Glasgow on issues related to equitable resilience focusing on social-ecological systems around the Indian Ocean littoral, while aspiring to form connections between global South and North. A representative of Glasgow City Council’s resilience programme was present as well.
Identifying a novel approach to tackling the illegal trade of birdlife in Indonesia. Led by Chloe Heys, this project, involving meetings, exchanges and satellite activities, examines key knowledge gaps regarding this illicit trade by providing a forum for novel collaborations among zoologists, economists and sociologists. We explore new measures to change behaviour in wildlife traffickers and consumers, as well as determine the effect the trade has on wild populations of rare and endemic birds.
Co-Designing Future Landscapes in Cancer Research Malawi. Led by Nicol Keith, the main aim is to create the conditions needed for effective university development cooperation around cancer research in Malawi. We developed a co-design approach that involved a pre-design stage (pre-workshop) and the main design stage (Workshop in Malawi). The main Malawi workshop (16-19th March) was cancelled due to Covid19. However, due to the preparatory pre-design stage, we were successful in developing shared aspirations and a deeper alignment around a common purpose and understanding between partners in Glasgow and Malawi. In particular, collective interests in clinical cancer research, patient priorities, education and training, infrastructure and environment.
Illustrated children’s book on gravitational wave astronomy - promoting partnerships and education with local Indian communities. Led by Mariela Masso Reid, this project created a dynamic illustrated children’s book with moveable elements to educate on gravitational waves, translated to Marathi, to help encourage children, particularly between 6-8 years old, in India to be curious about astronomy. There is a unique opportunity to promote STEM subjects during the building of the LIGO India gravitational wave observatory and this book is a crucial tool for this. Furthermore, local communities to the observatory site are of lower socioeconomic status, and this is an important time to create positive, long-term partnerships and to demystify science. The book contains movable panels that allow children to manipulate flaps and show the effects of stretching and squeezing.
Supporting the development of viral genomics & bioinformatics capacity and capability in East Africa. Led by Maria McPhillips, this project was designed to bring together researchers from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit and the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya. Two face-to-face meetings were planned to facilitate the initial sharing of knowledge, expertise, technology and best practices, with the long-term aim of strengthening capacity and capability in viral genomics and bioinformatics to address pressing virus-related public health problems in East Africa.
Fact-finding and user-centred approach to new point-of-care diagnostic for Group B Streptococcus (GBS). Led by Julien Reboud, the project was planned to deliver a week-long workshop to establish the rationale for our new origami diagnostic platform to detect GBS infections during labour, to provide targeted and timely treatment delivery. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is an important cause of neonatal mortality in Ghana. Infections can be treated by providing antibiotics but current diagnosis is complex and expensive, while antibiotics cannot be provided to all pregnant women due to costs and risk of resistance. However due to COVID-19, and Dr. Sayibu’s associated commitments in managing the pandemic in Ghana, this was not possible. He is now invited to online workshops from a new EPSRC network grant in August and September.
Equity Impacts of Housing and Urban Amenities for Sustainable Development in South Asian Cities. Led by Sohail Ahmad, this proposal challenges current planning practices (and resource allocation) where neighbourhoods are not considered as a planning unit. We developed a credible mean using large datasets to identify factors that can improve housing and urban amenities conditions of socio-spatial disadvantaged communities focusing on Delhi and Dhaka.
Reducing Gender Inequalities in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania. Led by Katarzyna Borkowska, the overall purpose of this project is to work with spousal couples from low-income families to encourage them to reflect on gender norms and to provide them with some of the competencies needed to address unequal gender relations within their own households. To achieve this end, two specific objectives were set up, namely: To co-produce a programme on reducing gender inequalities in informal settlements and pilot it to maximise the design; To critically examine the real-life impact of the programme on participants’ gender attitudes and family lives. The programme was successfully developed, while piloting the programme and examine the real-life impacts have been delayed by COVID-19.
Building single cell and bioinformatic analysis capability with Kenya. Led by James Brewer, the project enabled a UoG registered, Kenyan PhD student, Rowland Osii to undertake training and data analysis in single cell genomics. COVID-19 severely disrupted the planned activity, but Rowland has been remotely trained in bioinformatics analysis and has been engaging with UofG colleagues remotely.
Community Led Science for Climate Adaptation: Supporting Indigenous Water Management in Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico. Led by Emma Cardwell, the aim of this project was to explore how university researchers and NGOs could work on citizen science environmental initiatives in indigenous communities in a way that is community led, and driven by participants’ on the ground needs. The objectives of the project were to explore how communities could be supported to lead their own water management. Through partnership with local communities and indigenous-led educational establishments, we aimed to see if communities could deliver scientifically rigorous data collection around changes in water availability and use this to identify and evaluate adaptive responses to water management.
Developing regional south-south-north capacity to study long-distance migrations in South Sudan. Led by Dan Haydon, through reciprocal meetings in Glasgow and South Sudan, this project aimed to strengthen internal capacity for South Sudan research on long-distance migrations by (1) enhancing south-south scientific knowledge exchange between East African countries, (2) developing a GIS database for the ecosystem, and (3) developing joint funding proposals. Decades of civil war have had long-lasting impacts on South Sudan, including its technical capacity to manage the country’s rich biological diversity. The Boma-Badingilo-Gambella Ecosystem supports Africa’ second largest mammal migration, involving over 1 million white-eared kob, tiang, Mongalla gazelle and Bohor reedbuck. Yet, ecological knowledge about this migration is almost non-existent.
Gardens Can Grow Here: Humanitarian Place Making, Citizen Science, and Farming Expertises in Refugee Camps. Led by Lazaros Karaliotas, this interdisciplinary project interrogated the new ecologies built by residents in the fast-growing Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi. Glasgow and LUANAR University researchers collaborated with camp residents and the NGO CARD (Church Aid and Relief Development) to analyze the farming practices and alternative modes of organizing everyday life that camp residents develop through citizen science and creative geo-visualization methods, including: water, soil and air quality monitoring, mapping and walking interviews. Camp residents collected and analyzed data supported by Glasgow and LUANAR researchers. Preliminary findings were presented to community leaders and NGO and UNHCR practitioners in Dzaleka during a Local Symposium.
Is inflammation a risk factor for stroke in Nigeria and Ghana? Led by Pasquale Maffia, this project proposed to measure a wide range of cardiometabolic, immune and inflammatory protein biomarkers in selected samples from the Stroke Investigative Research and Educational Network (SIREN) study, a multicenter, case-control study done at 15 sites in Nigeria and Ghana. This approach is now possible due to Olink technology that will allow us to simultaneously assess around 400 biomarkers in few microL of serum. The plan is to identify the main immune-inflammatory proteins linked to stroke development and severity. At this stage, optimization of the experimental protocol has been completed.
Addressing marginality and informal labour within smart cities in India. Led by Srabani Maitra, this interdisciplinary proposal addresses a core problem in emerging economies of ensuring sustainable inclusion of urban marginalised young people within digitally enabled and data-driven smart cities of the global South. By foregrounding the learning needs, expectations and aspirations of marginalised young people in India, the study advocated for an inclusive smart city that employs technology driven by social justice and active participation of all citizens. The core outcome derived from three major platforms: the development of international partnerships; the capacity strengthening of academics in DAC countries; the development of culturally contextualised and justice driven understandings of the role of technology.
The insurance role of education in pastoralist communities. Led by Rebecca Mancy, and using key informant and household interviews, supplemented by focus groups, we examined whether respondents believed education improves resilience by: (i) supporting additional income opportunities; and/or (ii) building knowledge to better respond to negative shocks, complementing or replacing traditional risk mitigation strategies (livestock hoarding, polygyny). Respondents typically recognised the importance of education in increasing the likelihood of obtaining alternative employment, but more general benefits of education were more rarely acknowledged.
Development of a novel malaria diagnostic. Led by Nosrat Mirzai, this project is supporting a collaboration with Matibabu, a Uganda-based start-up company that has developed a mobile phone-based personal device to diagnose malaria in a non-invasive manner, using optical features and magnetism. The team hit some technical challenges with electronic design and development and needed help to design and perform efficacy trials with malaria parasites. A partnership with Glasgow University is assisting further development of the electronic monitoring of infection, coupled with expertise in malaria diagnostics and field testing. Due to Covid19 lockdown, we did not finish trials.
Indirect impacts of the socio-environmental conflict on communities’ health in Chocó, Colombia. Led by Nelly Montcoudiol, this project aims to support communities in their struggle for water infrastructure by focusing on the relationship between water quality and health using complementary social scientific, water chemistry and molecular genetic analyses. We trained a Colombian researcher in the UK, and members of the consortium visited Choco to initiate social scientific surveys.
IMPRESS: Integrative Malawi-Glasgow Programme for Research Examining Single cellS. Led by Christopher Moxon, this project supported new lab capacity in Malawi. Single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) is a transformative technology re-defining key areas of biology. The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology purchased a single cell device for Malawi, this grant then provided funds and harnessed Glasgow: Malawi expertise to establish this device in Malawi – as the first single cell facility in South Eastern Africa. We trained a Malawian post-doc on single cell methods in Glasgow. The device and reagents were shipped to Malawi where we undertook optimisation and generated single cell libraries. Sequencing is currently in process – delayed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Role of Music Practices for Peace Education in Conflict (MuPPEC). A Scottish-Latin American Research Project. Led by Oscar Odena, this interdisciplinary project including College of Social Science and College of Arts researchers critically examines the contribution made by music practices in developing peace education and inclusion with individuals affected by violent conflict, beginning with Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. Although fieldwork was disrupted by Covid-19 the project has delivered reviews of relevant programmes, policies and organisations. The project benefitted practitioner, policy and research-leaders in ODA-recipient countries by helping to develop research-informed-practices.
Proving the feasibility of field-enabled pathogen detection in fish farms in Vietnam. Led by Julien Reboud, this proof-of-concept study was aimed at adapting our low-cost DNA origami sensors to detect Streptococcus agalactiae (SAG) in fish, directly on farms, enabling farmers to take timely measures to curb infections and reduce preventive use of antimicrobials, thus limiting drug resistance development. The team developed and validated the molecular assay in the lab and developed a new front-end sample preparation to allow larger volumes to be processed. However, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, field work was not possible and will be carried out in future by the Vietnam collaborator.
Capturing Silenced and Periphersized histories of South Africa. Expanding and building South African History Online. Led by Alexandra Ross, this is a collaborative research project with the organisation and online resource South African History Online (SAHO). The primary aim of this project was to focus on the silenced and peripherized narratives of South Africa, challenging dominant histories, with particular attention paid to working with women's voices. This project has gathered new content for their open access platform, creating new teaching resources, instigated oral history community groups and designed and launched a new associated archive for the community in museum in Simon's Town.
Global synchronization and the illicit antiquities trade: understanding community crime prevention in post-earthquake Nepal and Myanmar. Led by Emiline Smith, this project compares local community-based security models in Nepal and Myanmar to assess why and how looting of cultural heritage takes place. It explores key issues and stakeholders related to the custodianship of movable cultural heritage, while clarifying how the pressures of globalization and post-earthquake restoration influence relevant crime prevention strategies. This project results in an evidence-based overview of looting in Myanmar and Nepal which demonstrates the (in)effectiveness of current formal and informal crime prevention strategies, leading to more effective crime prevention strategies, policy change and increased public awareness of the detrimental effects of looting and trafficking of antiquities.
Feasibility and impacts of Bioenergy Trigeneration systems (BioTrig) in disadvantaged rural areas in India. Led by Siming You, this project aims to evaluate the techno-economic and social feasibility, and socio-environmental impacts of bioenergy trigeneration (electricity, clean cooking fuel, and green soil conditioner) systems that tackle the triple crisis of poor electrification, household air pollution, and farmland contamination in rural India. This system is called BioTrig. A project workshop has been held in November in India to discuss and finalise action plans. A questionnaire has been developed to understand the energy, resource, and new technology acceptance of rural households in India. Chemical process modelling, life cycle assessment and cost-benefit analysis has been conducted to evaluate the environmental impact and economic feasibility of BioTrig.
Return visit to Malawi to disseminate PhD research findings. Led by Antonia Ho, the key aim of this funded activity was to communicate the findings from her PhD, that identified a high burden of influenza infection in adults in Blantyre, Malawi, and also highlighted HIV infection, household crowding, poor sanitation and food insecurity as significant risk factors for symptomatic influenza and severe disease. This occurred through dissemination meetings/forums with the relevant and interested stakeholders in Malawi.
COVID-19 Response in Chocó, Colombia. Led by Mo Hume, this action research project enhanced the capacity of the Diocese of Quibdó – a member of Chocó’s Emergency Response Committee – to respond to COVID-19. Chocó, the poorest and most ethnically diverse region of Colombia, has been living through a humanitarian crisis for decades due to armed conflict. The region is extremely vulnerable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team developed local collective responses to the pandemic, based in recognition, respect and learning from the common and differentiated challenges faced by distinct ethnic communities due to poverty, geographic location, and diverse livelihood and cultural practices. The project’s vital public health measures and psychosocial support reached approx. 5,000 people in total. These responses are generating best-practice lessons for future crisis planning in Chocó and other fragile contexts.
New tools for indirect and in situ mapping of COVID-19 transmission in Venezuela and Venezuelan migrants in Colombia. Led by Martin Lewellyn, our aim was to leverage our existing GCRF network (VeConVen www.vbdvenezuelanetwork.com) to deploy alternative surveillance tools to delineate COVID-19 epidemiology in Venezuela and identify appropriate control measures. The Venezuelan economy has collapsed during the socio-political crisis that has gripped the country. >1.6 million citizens have fled to Colombia. Eighty percent of Venezuelans now live in extreme poverty. This hand-to-mouth scenario frustrates COVID-19 quarantine measures. Healthcare infrastructure has also collapsed. Hospitals lack water, electricity or basic sanitary products. Intense urbanisation, high population density, poor living standards, and a dilapidated healthcare infrastructure make Venezuela acutely and perhaps uniquely sensitive to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Laboratory Diagnostics Support for Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute. Led by Jo Halliday, the project aimed to provide critical support for Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI) to establish capacity for COVID-19 diagnostics, genomic analysis and epidemiological studies. During implementation some objectives were changed and funds were reallocated from diagnostics to purchase PPE and provide additional time support for clinical staff responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Uganda COVID-19 Serological Responses (UGANCOSER). Led by Brian Willett, the UGANCOSER project supported the creation of a Ugandan biorepository (a secure freezer with known content of biological samples linked to a database describing the sample origins) of blood samples from COVID -19 patients and community controls. In partnership with the Uganda Ministry of Health, two COVID-19 sampling sites at Entebbe and Masaka Regional Referral hospitals were established and supported to track and sample COVID-19 cases. Respiratory swabs (for confirmation of virus infection), appropriate blood samples and clinical information were collected from acute cases close to the start of infection and appropriate times post-infection. Samples from this biorepository will be used to evaluate commercial and in-house immunoassays to identify the most suitable tests for countrywide surveillance to understand the prevalence of COVID-19 infection in Uganda.
Characterising COVID-19 occupational exposure among healthcare workers through the validation of point-of-care diagnostics. Led by Antonia Ho, the key aims of this project were i) to ascertain whether HCWs were at greater risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and exposure, compared to community members in Blantyre, Malawi; ii) to evaluate and validate SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests (in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and point-of-care (POC) tests), and iii) to develop and evaluate low-cost POC test using reverse-transcriptase loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), through a longitudinal cohort study of HCWs and community members. The epidemiology of COVID-19 in Africa is poorly described. Healthcare workers (HCW) in Malawi are particularly vulnerable due to poor access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control measures.
2020 GCRF Small Grants
Building an Endangered Haitian Archives Recovery Network. Led by Rachel Douglas. This project builds new partnerships around one of Haiti’s most significant and endangered archival collections split between the Archives Nationales d’Haïti (ANH) and the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH). This collection was severely damaged in the 2010 earthquake and is now at risk of being destroyed. We will start capacity-building now with a 4-day training workshop with Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC). We will undertake an initial survey, purchase equipment, and carry out sample digitisation (5% of collection).
Sustainable solar energy for the Blantyre-Blantyre Clinical Research Facility, College of Medicine, Malawi. Led by Paul Garside. A sustainable and clean energy source will support a laboratory providing a wide range of training, clinical service and research projects across a range of disease areas, reducing dependence on expensive and polluting diesel fuel. In addition to this health system capacity strengthening there will be development of training for local sustainable energy engineers. Finally, this proposal will reduce air pollution on COM campus where the laboratory is located close to student and health care worker residences.
Determining antibiotic quality for effective access in Africa. Led by Tiziana Lembo. The trade in substandard and counterfeit antibiotics is widespread in Africa and likely a significant contributor to the development of antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotic quality coupled with correct administration define their effectiveness, therefore mapping and monitoring quality is a critical step towards tackling resistance. We will build capacity to enable measurements of antibiotic quality in Tanzania and Uganda where such capacity is currently weak. To ensure sustainability and retention of methodology, we will engage with both academic research and government partners.
Data science without borders: Empowering 100 Cameroonian biologists with statistical training and quantitative analytical skills. Led by Jim Lewsey. We aim to build the capacity of 100 early career Cameroonian biologists to analyse their own data using free, powerful R software. Objectives: 1. Train eight trainers at four Cameroonian Universities through a workshop and online statistics courses taught by Glasgow Professors. 2. Support trainers as they carry out week-long, hands-on data analysis workshops for 100 students at the four universities—this will establish four regional stats hubs. 3. Support bimonthly mini stats workshops at each stats hub.
Malaria mosquito development: determinants of variation in cuticle composition with age and Plasmodium infection. Led by Simon Babayan. This project aims to understand why malaria-transmitting mosquitoes appear to age differently depending on their environment. This is crucial for estimating risks to human populations and effectiveness of vector control programmes, as only old female mosquitoes can transmit malaria. We will test which ecological factors among nutrition, temperature, and humidity best explain and predict such variability using infrared spectroscopy, machine learning, and causal inference modelling. This will help generalise our current models across environments and inform future vector control strategies.
Understanding Refugee Re-location in Malawi the context of Covid-19. Led by Kate Botterill. The project will provide funding for Grace Chilongo to undertake an MSc in Earth Futures. This will comprise: substantive and methodological training in the environmental and societal challenges of sustainable development in the Anthropocene; and a dissertation on a key challenge faced by refugees and host communities globally - how to manage safe and fair re-location of refugees from overcrowded Refugee Camps to new sites, and what impact processes of re-location have on environmental health and community livelihoods.
Estimating the effect of conservation interventions to reduce human-elephant conflict in Serengeti. Led by Sarah Cleaveland. Human-wildlife conflict poses a major challenge for conservation and economic development in many African countries and inter-disciplinary approaches are needed to tackle its complex dimensions. This project provides supports for a Tanzanian conservation scientist, Loyce Majige, to develop these skills by undertaking the Conservation Management of African Ecosystems MSc at the University of Glasgow. The taught component of the MSc course will be complemented by research on human-elephant conflict in the Serengeti, carried out with conservation partners in Tanzania.
Strengthening capacity for laboratory colonization of the major African malaria vector Anopheles funestus. Led by Heather Ferguson. Anopheles funestus is a major malaria vector throughout Africa, but detailed understanding of its’ biology is limited by the difficulty of colonizing it in the laboratory. Led by Emmanuel Hape, an outstanding candidate from Tanzania, researchers at the Ifakara Health Institute have made significant progress in colonizing An. funestus. This project will enable Mr Hape to develop the advanced quantitative skills required to identify key determinants of successful laboratory adaptation from his experiments, and enhance ongoing collaboration between IHI and UoG.
Masters in Global Health studentship for Cynthia Kairu, Social Scientist, Nairobi, Kenya. Led by Cindy Gray. This studentship will allow Cynthia Kairu, an independent social scientist with experience in health projects in Nairobi with Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and University of Glasgow (UoG), to undertake a Global Health Masters at UoG. Attaining this degree will provide this exceptional early career researcher with the advanced social science-based training that will support her aspiration to become a future global health research leader in Kenya. It will also strengthen links between KEMRI and UoG (via joint dissertation supervision).
Estimating the human footprint in the Serengeti ecosystem. Led by Grant Hopcraft. Humans in many ODA countries depend directly on ecosystems for resources such as bushmeat or grazing opportunities, however estimating human impacts inside protected areas remains challenging for governments. This project supports a MSc studentship for Kelvin Munisi in the CMAE program at UG. Kelvin was a top candidate for the Karimjee Scholarship and has been provisionally accepted into the CMAE programme. The project brings together several partners including the Serengeti Biodiversity Programme, Grumeti Reserves, IBAHCM, and the School of Mathematics.
The transmission dynamics of antibiotic-resistant bacteria at the human-pig interface in Uganda. Led by Tiziana Lembo. In sub-Saharan Africa, unregulated antibiotic use in livestock has been linked to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant infections. Concerns exist related to the onward transmission of these untreatable infections to humans. We will support a Masters studentship in the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases & Antimicrobial Resistance (EIDAR) programme for a food safety specialist, Tadeo Kakooza, to provide him with key skills to unravel the transmission dynamics of antibiotic-resistant bacteria at the human-animal interface in Uganda and their associations with antibiotic use.
Facilitating sustainable livestock-wildlife production systems in East Africa. Led by Thomas Morrison. This studentship builds upon an ongoing GRCF-funded project in Tanzania (PI Cleaveland) aimed at facilitating sustainable livestock-wildlife production systems in East Africa. The funding would support Bakari Mtili, a candidate who has been provisionally accepted into the CMAE programme at UG. Bakari’s background in wildlife ecology (second class BSc degree in wildlife management) makes him an ideal candidate for receiving training in human-wildlife interactions, and for translating this research into actionable strategies that improve conservation outcomes of livestock vaccinations.
Plastic arts and EcoAction through education. Led by Mia Perry. This project addresses plastic waste pollution through participatory research methodologies to look at the implications of social arts and pedagogies that cross the Global North and South. The Studentship will support Reagan Kandole, Ugandan artist and director of EcoAction. Through the MSc in Educational Studies in Adult, Community, and Youth Contexts, he will investigate the impacts of social arts in the global challenge of plastic waste.
Constructing Covid-19: Understandings, Attitudes and Health-Related Practices in Rural Uganda. Led by Lucy Pickering. This project builds on current University of Glasgow research into everyday practices and schistosomiasis transmission in rural Uganda, which found that ideas about responsibility often ran along already-established lines of inequality. This project builds on this to explore how responsibility is constructed in relation to a novel disease – Covid-19.
MSc Infection Biology/ Effects of secreted products from Anopheles midgut bacteria on human malaria parasites. Led by Lisa Ranford-Cartwright. Esinam Akorli is a promising female graduate from Ghana, with a keen interest in malaria control. The GCRF will give her the opportunity to complete a Masters programme with the emphasis on Infectious Disease, a major cause of death in Ghana. During the MSc, she will undertake a research project in the PI’s laboratory, gaining new skills in malaria and mosquito biology, which she will transfer to her home research institute, strengthening a new collaboration there between PI and co-investigator.
Modelling the potential impact of supplementary tools for malaria vector control in south-eastern Tanzania. Led by Mafalda Viana. This project will support Mr Ismail Nambunga MSc studies. Ismail is an excellent early career Tanzanian researcher interested in mitigating public health challenges. This fellowship will enable him to develop important quantitative skills in this area, in particular to explore the impact of vector control interventions on malaria burden, and will also put him in ideal position to take a key role within our collaborator, Ifakara Health Institute, latest initiative to enhance in-house quantitative capacity.
Lockdown Pains & Mass Exodus: Rental housing in megacities of the Indian subcontinent. Led by Sohail Ahmad. Covid-19 has exposed major structural, social and governance fault lines of developing countries. One of the most heart-wrenching images of the Indian lockdown would perhaps remain the inhuman habitation of migrant labour in financial capitals, followed by their mass exodus to their home villages, walking for hundreds of miles. As governments announce its economic and rental housing package, we investigate stakeholder needs, market & policy landscape for sustainable rental housing of migrant labour in megacities of the Indian subcontinent.
Developing inclusive lifelong learning policies and practices in the Global South. Led by Yulia Nesterova. To address the exclusion of marginalised and disadvantaged groups from quality and relevant lifelong learning in Benin, Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe, we propose to hold a three-day symposium in Nairobi in Spring 2021. The symposium will bring together diverse stakeholders (academics, educators, policymakers, NGO workers, international organisations) to share knowledge, develop solutions, build partnerships, and strengthen varied capacities. The symposium will produce a topical technical report, policy briefs, post-symposium seminar, and a follow-on research proposal for a competitive funding scheme.
Sustainability and Equity through infrastructure: Sustainable Futures in Africa network’s development & digital capacity. Led by Brian Barrett. The Sustainable Futures in Africa network is a collective of researchers, educators, artists, and communities across Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria, Botswana, Eswatini and Scotland who develop understanding, research, and practice in socio-ecological sustainability. This project will address an urgent gap in the network’s capacity to progress in a sustainable and equitable way through the provision and development of essential resources and capacities in information communication technology (ICT) and research development support to enhance the impacts and efficacy of this growing network.
Remote healthcare system for diabetes management. Led by Qammer Abbasi. According to WHO, diabetes prevalence is more rapidly rising in low- and middle-income countries and 50% cases are diagnosed several years later, when complications have already set in. In this project, with the support of The Diabetes Centre, Jinnah Hospital Lahore and Rehmania Hospital Pakistan, we will apply machine learning techniques for developing early prediction models for diabetes based on collected data from these organisations using both standard technique’s and our developed cheap prototype of non-invasive diabetes system.
Kitchen Life: Towards Clean Cooking Services in Bangladesh and Malawi. Led by Lisa Bradley. This project is an interdisciplinary research pilot on sustainable cooking as it relates to energy, air pollution, and nutrition in two regions in Africa and Asia. Taking the ‘kitchen’ as the unit of analysis, three interlinked aspects will be investigated: everyday cooking practices, cooking economy and cooking materials. A cultural understanding of everyday kitchen life in Bangladesh and Malawi will contribute essential and often overlooked insights to the related fields of energy, sustainability, and health.
Novel diagnostic platform for decentralised diagnosis of Hepatitis C: moving towards global elimination. Led by Jon Cooper. 71 million people are currently infected by hepatitis C, the majority of whom live in low-income settings. Readily available direct-acting antivirals are now able to cure > 95% of patients, if treated in a timely manner. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted the urgent need for community diagnostic testing to enable disease elimination. The ECR supported through this project has the ambition to show the feasibility of such a low-cost point-of-care device by trialling its efficacy in East Africa.
Immunological outcomes to SARS-Cov2 infection: A Blantyre-Blantyre “real-world” comparison. Led by Carl Goodyear. The ability to generate a robust and protective immune response to infection is dependent on a multitude of factors including both genomic and environmental (e.g. lifestyle and prior/concurrent infectious challenge). On-going studies at the University of Glasgow are profiling the immunological response to COVID-19 across the Glasgow population. This proposal is aimed at generating equivalent data in the Blantyre population in Malawi, to enable the direct comparison of immunological outcomes that may guide future vaccine approaches.
Language, livelihoods and well-being in multilingual countries: Reaching the research-frontier with secondary data for Ghana. Led by Kristinn Hermannsson. We examine how language skills affect earnings, health and other life-outcomes in Ghana, a multilingual country in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is important as supporting multiple languages in education, labour markets and public services is expensive, but minority groups not achieving their full potential can be even more costly. Due to underlying differences in life chances, linguistic groups are not directly comparable. We disentangle this in collaboration with local experts using statistical decomposition methods that allow us to approximate like-for-like comparison.
Understanding the Effects of Climate Change on Remote Fishing Communities in the Brazilian Amazon. Led by Shaun Killen. Rural Amazonian communities are critically reliant on artisanal fisheries for food and financial income. These communities are economically deprived, but we lack information on their income, infrastructure, and fishing practices. Worldwide, fisheries are experiencing detrimental effects of climate change, with tropical fishes being particularly vulnerable to further warming. This project will combine studies of socio-economics and fish biology to examine how Amazonian fish species will be affected by changing climates and how this will affect remote fishing communities.
Socio-demographic, clinico-pathologic and immune predictors of severe disease and mortality for COVID-19 among Nigerians. Led by Pasquale Maffia. The predictors of severe disease and mortality from COVID-19 in Nigeria are not yet known. There are anecdotal reports which suggest that the disease may present differently or with different severity in Africa. There are also a growing body of data globally identifying predictors of severe disease and mortality which may be difficult to extrapolate to the Nigerian population. We propose to describe these predictors in Nigerians so that at-risk groups for severe disease/mortality can be identified and managed aggressively.
Investigating COVID-19 co-infections at the single cell level: a postmortem study in the Brazilian Amazon. Led by Matthias Marti. Infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus can result in severe respiratory complications and death, especially in patients with co-morbidities and compromised immunity. Hence, immunomodulation is a major target of current intervention strategies against COVID-19. Here we plan to investigate the pathology of COVID-19 in the context of co-morbidities in the Brazilian Amazon region, where the population is already under the burden of endemic diseases such as malaria, dengue, zika and chikungunya.
Re-costing the earth: indigenous governance of silviculture in Southern Mexico and the redesign of ‘sustainable development’ consultation and impact assessment. Led by Julia McClure. Under the UNDP “Supporting Mexico’s Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through Open Government and Citizen Participation”, the Mexican government is committed to realising sustainable development though inclusive governance. In 2019, Mexico launched a flagship reforestation programme, ‘Sembrando Vida’ (sowing life). Despite the participatory rhetoric of Sembrando Vida, indigenous communities have denounced it as oppressive, violent and environmentally destructive. We analyse Sembrando Vida in the context of traditional forest governance, exploring how inclusive indigenous forest governance can be achieved.
Levelling the field study: Empowering female biologists to protect endangered wildlife in Central Africa. Led by Luke Powell. We will work with Equatorial Guinea’s protected areas institution to monitor critical wildlife populations and provide data driven conservation tools while introducing gender equity education and providing new opportunities for women in conservation. This will be accomplished through: 1) Kickstarting Female-led Fieldwork: Empowering female personnel through small grants for locally-driven field research of endangered wildlife including elephants, chimpanzees, and gorillas using field cameras. 2) Gender Equality Engagement: Conservation workshops and activities. 3) Female-led Database Management and Website Creation.
Art, Feathers, and Crime: New Approaches to Studying Natural and Cultural Heritage Trafficking in Indonesia. Led by Emiline Smith. Hugely understudied and lacking prior comparisons, this pioneering pilot project maps two global illicit trades - birdlife and antiquities - in a renowned source, transit and recent market country: Indonesia. We trace the transformations that these objects undergo as they move through the supply-demand chain, identify stakeholders involved, and determine how these networks converge. This information is used to explore innovative counterstrategies and intervention points in terms of space, community and practice on a national, regional and international level.
African Coffee Histories, African Coffee Futures. Led by Jelmer Vos. The Inter-African Coffee Association considers expanding the domestic market for coffee in Africa to be the main challenge for the sector. Examining the histories, cultures and practices of coffee consumption in Uganda and Rwanda, an interdisciplinary team of historians and agricultural economists will generate a set of policy recommendations informed by the historical complexities of African consumer markets and the coffee industry. The project directly addresses UN SDGs 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).
How does energy vary with types of nutrition? Led by Charlotte Wright. In order to study appetite and eating behaviour in malnourished infants, we will use an established method to assess how well Ghanaian malnourished children recognise when they are hungry or full, compared to healthy children, as well as testing for genetic markers associated with appetite. A Ghanaian student will spend 5 months in Glasgow learning these research techniques and applying them in a pilot study of 10 children attending a clinic in Glasgow for children with severe feeding problems.
Optimising decentralised low-cost wastewater infrastructure by managing the microbes. Led by William Sloan. Stephanie Connelly is an early career researcher at UofG and Co-I on the EPSRC-GCRF grant which aims to develop and demonstrate a low-cost molecular monitoring tool that will enable decentralised sanitation users to monitor system health and system failures including the discharge of pathogens and antimicrobial resistant microbes to the environment. She plays a lead role in managing the experimental and capacity building programs in both Glasgow and Thailand. Funding will enable her to see this vital work to completion.
Novel low cost diagnostic tools and their impact in Africa. Led by Jon Cooper. Working in a collaboration between Engineering, IBAHCM, HEHTA in Glasgow and partners in the Ministry of Health, Makerere University and Mulago Hospital in Uganda, and University of Rwanda and industry, we aim to develop low-cost diagnostic technologies for malaria and schistosomiasis. Funding is requested to support our Impact Officer over a period of 5 months of an EPSRC no-cost extension.
Supporting the National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance in Tanzania (SNAP-AMR). Led by Alicia Davis. GCRF funds are intended to support our field team based in Tanzania while data collection is paused because of COVID-19 precautions. SNAP-AMR is continuing to pay field team salaries for 9 full-time staff and 3 part-time staff to avoid causing undue hardships during this uncertain time. These funds will be used to pay staff for 6 additional months of data collection to meet project goals including an investigation of antimicrobial use and resistance in communities and hospitals.
The Arts of Inclusion (TAI): Examining the role of performing Arts for Peace Education in Conflict. A UK-Latin American Countries Network. Led by Oscar Odena. Fiona Lees, Project Administrator, is integral to the project because of her experience supporting international projects and managing engagement with research users. She is responsible for the day today operation of the Network, overseeing post-award financial management, maintaining oversight of international recruitment and purchase of services, coordinating with admin offices of international partners, organising Advisory meetings and Workshop II in Glasgow (postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19).
Can dual apprenticeships create better and more equitable social and economic outcomes for young people? A comparative study of India and Mexico. Led by Oscar Valiente. The supplement would allow the project to extend the contract of fixed-term staff in India, Mexico and the UK for four months. This staff would carry out research and knowledge exchange activities that had to be postponed due to the pandemic. They would be able to complete the second round of qualitative interviews with apprentices, analyse empirical data, prepare dissemination materials and participate in national workshops and showcase events in India and Mexico.
Catchment susceptibility to hydrometeorological events: sediment flux and geomorphic change as drivers of flood risk in the Philippines. Led by Richard Williams. Project progress has been delayed by an estimated four-months due to the postponement of ground-based fieldwork (scheduled April 2020) that was to be undertaken by Philippines based researchers. Fieldwork results are critical to correct and validate airborne laser scanning surveys that were acquired in January 2020. Funding is requested to extend the fixed-term contracts for 2x Philippines-based research associates (RAs), 1x Philippines-based administrator and 1x Glasgow-based RA. This will enable the delivery of the original, main project objectives.