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Ms Marian Swart and Professor Koleka Mlisana, a
WILL Committee member, take questions at the
end of an insightful workshop.

A UKZN workshop examined the issue of how raising the research profile of a university required meticulous management of research grants as this was a prerequisite of all funders.

The workshop was hosted by the College of Health Sciences’ Women in Leadership and Leverage Committee (WILL) and led by Ms Marian Swart, Chief Operations Officer at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

Staff and postgraduate students from various disciplines within the College heard Swart emphasise how critical it was for more academics to learn about research grants management as UKZN’s grant portfolio expanded.

‘The management of research grants guarantees compliance with the grant requirements and proper management of grants thus enhancing the function of UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Nelson Ijumba, the University’s Authorised Official for handling grants,’ said Swart.

Swart took participants though the grant cycle which she said involved application preparation and submission, the review and approval process, receiving the grant award/agreement letter, undertaking the process, accounting for grant income and expenditure, fulfilling the narrative, writing a final report and then the close-out process.

It was necessary to have a good knowledge of funders’ policies and procedures as this was needed to ensure compliance with their requirements.

Swart alerted participants to various grant opportunities, grant funding schemes and provided useful guidelines for the management of grants.

‘International funders include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Gates Foundation, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), and the Department for International Development (DFID).’

Some of the local funders highlighted were the Department of Science and Technology (DST), National Research Foundation (NRF), Medical Research Council (MRC), Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Department of Health (DoH), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Swart said grant opportunities were available on the eRA Commons which is the NIH electronic research administration system, and on the federal government’s single online portal to funding: www.grants.gov

Participants got guidelines on administration requirements, compliance pitfalls, how to make their results available, and advice on cost considerations and how to avoid conflict of interest with funders.