Research Council of Zimbabwe: Call for Proposals on COVID-19 Pandemic

Scope of the Call

Zimbabwe has a strong socio-economic and cultural heritage that has served the society for centuries. Against this backdrop, Zimbabwe takes pride in its heritage which makes it unique as a country. However, the advent of the novel COVID-19 has brought unprecedented disruptions to the country’s socio-cultural identity. Based on oral history and available literature, Zimbabwe has experienced pandemics and other unfamiliar diseases in Humans. Our ancestors were able to cope using indigenous knowledge and practices. Coupled with the Government guidelines and efforts to manage the impact of COVID-19, Zimbabwe gets confidence to succeed in its curtailing these effects. Against this background, the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic requires coordinated, responsive research as well as effective, evidence-based communication and science engagement nationally and beyond. Proposals on the novel COVID-19 are, therefore, being called for multi-disciplinary research and from multi-institutional research teams that include researchers from beyond our borders. A proposal may have a Principal Investigator (PI) and a co-PI or co-PIs. However, the Principal Investigator shall be a national and from a public university in Zimbabwe.  Full research proposals modelled in a longitudinal study research design are being called for, in order to allow researchers to follow progress in real time, establish the real sequence of events, allowing them to get insights into cause-and-effect relationships and results trackers.

Priority Areas of Research

The Research Fund supports heritage-based research, covering areas related to the COVID-19 pandemic including indigenous knowledge and practices applicable to prevention, control, promoting wellness, socio-cultural dynamics of transmission, mental health and vulnerability, informed by the heritage-based health governance and management systems, and science engagement.

Expected Outcomes

It is envisaged that interventions guided by collaborative research results will provide viable solutions that have socio-economic benefits leading to combating and mitigatory strategies which will in the long term control the disruptive effects of COVID-19. In short, the expected outcomes are translation of applicable scientific results into guidelines, policy briefs, products and services.

Funding Level

The budget limit for project activities in the collaborative research proposal will be not more than ZWL$7 000 000 local costs and USD20 000 for external collaboration. Collaborative research projects will be implemented for a period not exceeding twenty-four (24) months. Permissible budget items include the following:

  • Materials costs, if they are directly linked to the research project, in particular material of enduring value, the cost of expendable items, field expenses, travel expenses or third-party charges.
  • Direct costs incurred through the use of research infrastructure linked to the research.
  • Costs of organising conferences and workshops in connection with the funded research.
  • Costs of national and international cooperation and networking activities directly associated with the funded research.
  • Results dissemination.

Note:   Salaries of applicants are not eligible costs.

Eligibility Criteria

The collaborative research must involve researchers who are Zimbabwean nationals and collaborative researchers from Africa and beyond, with a Zimbabwean national PI from a public university in Zimbabwe, plus an option of co-PI(s) from collaborating institutions from within or beyond our borders. The PI and their Institution will bear the overall responsibility for the funded research, including technical and administrative co-ordination as well as the timely submission of scientific and financial reports to RCZ. Research proposals must be submitted in conjunction with the formal support letters from heads of institutions. Proposals without institutional approval through support letters will not be considered.

General Writing Guidelines

RCZ particularly encourages collaborative research projects across institutions, disciplines and individuals. The following should be taken into consideration.

  1. Proposals should be well presented meeting known scientific criteria.
  2. The management structure should be well defined as well as a clear sustainability plan.
  • Applicants should “make the case”, i.e. to explain the steps that led to the proposed research concept/questions and focus.
  1. Demonstrate scientific potential, research capacity building and a description of how gender and diversity will be included in the implementation of proposed projects.
  2. Budget should not be inflated and/or expenses should be adequately justified.
  3. Applicants should declare originality of their work and sign off to confirm ownership.

Terms and conditions

The proposals should show collaborations, multi-disciplinarity and multi-institutionalism

Gender inclusivity is an added advantage

RCZ’s decision is final

Applications: Full proposals must be submitted electronically to: or

Closing Date: 24 February 2021

Enquiries: For programme/content related queries contact Forbes Chinyemba email: or Timothy Marango email: