RAPID Research and Innovation Proposals on COVID-19 in Pakistan

RAPID Research and Innovation Proposals on COVID-19 in Pakistan

RAPID Research and Innovation Proposals on COVID-19 in Pakistan

The RAPID Research and Innovation Initiative (RRII) invites researchers to use the RAPID Research and Innovation funding mechanism, which allows HEC to receive and review proposals dealing with topics and issues of severe urgency with regard to availability of or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment as well as quick-response research on COVID-19.

The said fund is supported by the World Bank and implemented by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The RRIF will provide funds to selected institutions based upon a competitive, yet swift peer-review of proposals.

Themes

The priority themes for RRIF support include:

  • Development of Infectious Diseases Surveillance Systems Systems using big data analytics and artificial intelligence: Including integrating the response into the entire medical system, from primary to secondary to tertiary.
  • Disease Epidemiological Modelling: Data systems and evidence-informed modelling for disease prediction, outcome prediction and impact assessment of interventions.
  • Immune Patterns of COVID-19: Immune Mechanisms of COVID-19 infections and recovery, implications for diagnostics and therapeutics, including understanding localized factors and responses (such as ethnic, genetic, social, behavioral, and climatic factors, etc.).
  • Treatment modalities and strategies: Including concentration on local and traditional medicine. Diagnostics kits: Rapid diagnostics based on antigen detection vide RTPCR systems, Gene EXPERT systems or alternatives.

    Indigenous manufacture of Low cost Intensive-care equipment: Oxygen supply and monitoring equipment, Intravenous fluid devices, Ventilators/CPAP units, Cardio-respiratory monitors etc.

  • Development of disinfectants particularly using indigenous herbal ingredients: Low-cost sterilization and sanitation material for hospitals, general-purpose consumer hand sanitization material.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: N-95 Masks, other Personal Protective Gear (clothing gowns, goggles, and gloves), preferably reusable materials.
  • Information Collection and Dissemination IT platforms:Identify hotspots and growth patterns, Contact tracing modeling of affected people.

    Funding Instruments

    Each applicant seeking funding through the RAPID Research and Innovation Fund can propose an idea based on one of the above-mentioned priority themes and can apply through one of the following three funding instruments:

    The RAPID Research Grant

  • The RAPID Research Grant will support multidimensional research projects of strategic importance related to the above-mentioned priority themes.

    The present call is for research proposals that have the potential to contribute to the understanding of coronaviruses, including the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in order to improve the clinical management or public health response.

    Projects should include relevant and cutting-edge research activities and should ensure WHO alignment.

    Research conducted in RRG projects must address specific challenges associated with the targeted priority theme and must clearly demonstrate a solution or significant progress in addressing a grand challenge.

  • Budgets for RRG awards will be up to a maximum of Rs. 15 million (USD 100 000), with a maximum project duration of 12 months. Principal Investigators are encouraged to seek co- and complementary financing from other sources.
  • Rapid Research Grant Proposals must be designed to include milestones and key performance indicators that should (ideally) begin providing valuable information and advice right from the start of the project and not wait for all the results at the tail end of the proposed project.

    To the extent possible, the project must also be designed in a manner that research teams can begin working right away rather than waiting for lengthy procurement or hiring.

    Those projects that have a steady stream of high-value immediate outputs and outcomes will be preferred. The Project Steering Committee may review progress on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis.

    RAPID Technology Transfer Grant (RTTG)

    The RAPID Technology Transfer Grant (RTTG) seeks to support university-industry technology transfer of a previously developed an existing prototype or an advanced model (or equivalent).

    Owing to the nature of the COVID-19 crisis, the RTTG shall be ideally utilized to quickly transition science or technology to an actual industrial partner (or partners) that will result in significant and qualitative improvement in the latter's capacity to meet the emerging challenge of COVID-19. Budgets for RTTG awards will be up to a maximum of Rs. 7.5 million (USD 50 000) with a maximum project duration of 6 months.

    Principal Investigators are encouraged to obtain co-financing – including in-kind and/or cash contributions – from the industry collaborators.

    The requested amount of RTTG funding for the academic institution cannot exceed the co-financing committed by the industry collaborators.

  • The RTTG Proposals must be designed to include milestones and key performance indicators that should (ideally) begin delivering an impact right from the start of the project and not wait for all the results at the tail end of the proposed project.

    To the extent possible, the project must also be designed in a manner that teams can begin working right away rather than waiting for lengthy procurement or hiring.

    Those projects that have a steady stream of high-value immediate outputs and outcomes will be preferred. The Project Steering Committee may review progress on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis.

    RAPID Innovation Seed Fund (RISF)

    The RAPID Innovation Seed Fund (RISF)will be implemented through the existing BICs located at HEIs. Within the RISF competition, the Higher Education Commission aims to support a portfolio of entrepreneurial teams that, as a whole, will lead to successful start-ups addressing the COVID-19 national response.

    To take full advantage of the national research and innovation capacity in Pakistan, the portfolio of awards will reflect the diversity of potential entrepreneurs in Pakistan, including current students, recent graduates, and faculty members.

  • The budgets for RISF projects will be Rs. 5 million (USD 35,000) for a period of 6 months.

    The project budget will finance the following activities:

  • Working capital or initial order costs
  • Certification, registration or endorsement
  • Laboratory testing
  • Marketing costs or arranging demonstration
  • Funds to scale the venture
  • Financial management, or other

    Eligibility Criteria

    RAPID Research Grant

    Lead Principal Investigators (PIs) must:>

  • Be university faculty member (PhD or FCPS/MCPS/FRCS) from medical institute or research-intensive institution (The VC/Rector shall ensure that max. two exceptional proposals per HEI will be submitted)

    Project Team may include:

  • A consortia of faculty members from multiple university departments and/or multiple universities
  • Private sector participants, particularly when they bring prior IP or capability to the consortium and/or significant deployment, implementation, or scale up capability
  • International partners

    International collaborations are encouraged:

  • When the international partner brings a unique added value to the project team.
  • RAPID Technology Transfer Grant (RTTG)

    Principal Investigator (PI) must;

  • Be a regular faculty member (PhD or FCPS/MCPS/FRCS) of universities (Public or private sector) (The VC/Rector shall ensure that max. two exceptional proposals per HEI will be submitted)
  • Co-financing (including in kind or cash contribution) by the industry partner is mandatory.
  • RAPID Innovation Seed Fund (RISF)
  • Students, recent graduates and/or faculty from universities (Public or private sector)
  • (The VC/Rector shall ensure that max. two exceptional proposals per HEI will be submitted).

    Selection Criteria

  • The selection of RRII awards will be made through an open, rigorous, transparent, competitive and merit-based process consistent with international standards for funding academic research projects.
  • All Proposals submitted in response to this Call for Proposals will be evaluated by independent experts.

    The Evaluation process consists of two sequential steps:

    administrative screening; and Desk/Panel Evaluation of all eligible Proposals

    Apply by 3rd April.

    For more information and application details, see; RAPID Research and Innovation Proposals on COVID-19 in Pakistan

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