In many ways, 2017 was a rather special year as it marked a new beginning for the Danida Fellowship Centre.
We redirected much of our support to competence and capacity development to match the needs of Denmark’s new Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility.’
We completed the application rounds for development research grants within a much shorter period of time than in previous years and we introduced a new funding modality to suit the new Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility.
Furthermore, we welcomed a new Board of Directors appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, celebrated 25 years in Frederiksberg and launched the new Danida Alumni Prize, a festive way to show-case and celebrate some of the effects of Danish Development Assistance. At the same time, we carried on our daily business with our usual diligence, energy and commitment to make tomorrow possible.
Below please read more about our results and further Facts and Figures 2017.
Research programme management
In 2017, the Danida Fellowship Centre ensured the effective implementation of a condensed application round, successfully managed the introduction of a new funding window, facilitated the bridging of Building Stronger Universities (BSU) from Phases 2 to 3, and took steps to further promote the exchange of knowledge and results from and between research collaboration projects.
Shortened application rounds and a new window for support
The previous two-phased application round of 21 months was reduced to 12 months in order to shorten the interval from project idea to funding.
In Phase 1, a total number of 205 applications were received for research collaboration projects in Danida’s priority countries from research-based institutions in Denmark, Ghana, and Tanzania (Window 1). The large number of applications received was most likely a result of the government’s cancellation of the 2016 application round.
At the same time, a new window of support (Window 2) was introduced for grants to research collaboration projects in the emerging economies with which Denmark collaborates under the Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility. 51 applications were received for research projects within this new funding window.
The processing of 256 applications in Phase 1 and 43 prequalified applications in Phase 2, and the identification of around 210 peer reviewers led to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ final selection of 11 projects to be funded in Window 1, and 11 projects in Window 2.
Other activities in 2017 included the administration of on-going project grants, the quality assurance of project reporting, the organisation of thematic meetings in Ghana (“Research and Capacity Development in Partnerships between Ghana and Denmark”) and in Tanzania (“Green Growth, Development and Climate Change”), the dissemination of good stories from the projects, participation in several international seminars and workshops concerning research and research support, and the introduction of mobility grants for research stays in Denmark for researchers from the countries with which Denmark collaborates under the Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility.
A new phase of Building Stronger Universities
The BSU2 projects officially ended in September 2017, after being extended to allow the finalisation of planned activities, including bridging activities to BSU3. The initial reports from the universities involved in BSU2 show that it has led to invigorated administrative research capacity and support across the universities.
The BSU3 programme was officially approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 5 September 2017, following a vast amount of preparation, including onsite visits to the six universities involved, reviews and the circulation of a number of draft project documents.
Competence and capacity development
In late 2016, the Danida Fellowship Centre’s support to continuing education was linked to the Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility anchored in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Building on our many years of providing learning opportunities for Danish supported partners, the new DFC Scholarship Programme was born.
A new DFC Scholarship Programme
The Danida Fellowship Centre took several steps in 2017 to ensure that the new DFC Scholarship Programme is relevant, needs based and complementary to the Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility.
We held face-to-face and virtual meetings with the Sector Counsellors from 14 countries to understand the needs of our new partners and the context in which they operate. We discussed the content of the new scholarship programme with Sector Counsellors and focal points from Danish partner authorities during two Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ information seminars, and held individual meetings with many of the Danish partner authorities to discuss the best use of the programme.
We also established a reference group across the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sector Counsellors and Danish partner authorities. The group reviewed the guidelines for the new DFC Scholarship Programme, and the guidelines were finalised in December 2017.
Blanca Aurora Mena Vela
Participant in the Danida Fellowship Centre’s “Cardio-metabolic diseases” course at the University of Copenhagen under the Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility. “
What we offered
Based on our dialogue with the Sector Counsellors, Danish partner authorities and Danish universities, the Danida Fellowship Centre developed and provided scholarships for 10 new thematic courses and 3 cross-thematic courses in 2017. The latter are open to partners from the Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility countries and Danida priority countries.
Well-tested methods from our experience with tailored courses since 1990 were integrated in the new programme during 2017, making it mandatory for all tailored courses to focus on learning by seeing and doing, including action planning – a unique feature of our courses.
We granted 13 scholarships for university summer courses, 4 scholarships for full Master’s degree programmes and negotiated 130 seats for summer courses at the Universities of Aarhus and Copenhagen in 2018.
We continued to invest in eLearning, and we launched two new eCourses on results-based management and action planning in 2017.
We supported 10 tailored competence and capacity development initiatives funded by Danida programmes in 7 countries. These initiatives ranged from specialised courses, workshops and study tours to eLearning.
More than 300 staff of Danida funded partners took part in our short interdisciplinary courses held in Denmark and selected African countries.
Danida Alumni Network
It was an exciting and busy year for the Danida Alumni Network that now counts more than 2,000 professional profiles from the low-income and emerging economies with which Denmark collaborates.
Consolidating and expanding the network
Our prime focus this year was to consolidate and expand the network and to initiate relevant activities for alumni and network partners, Danish academics, private companies, public insti-tutions and third sector actors.
The highlight of the year was the award ceremony for the newly inaugurated Danida Alumni Prize 2017. It was awarded to the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia.
“The time I spent here as a Danida Fellow was so valuable. It made me a better scientist and a better human being. It gave me new knowledge and skills that I used to help my own people back in Ethiopia.”
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
In Ghana, Vietnam and Uganda, the local Danida Alumni Networks arranged networking activities with private sector partners and educational institutions. In Burkina Faso, Kenya and Tanzania, the initial steps were taken to establish local Danida Alumni Networks.
To boost the local alumni activities, the Danida Fellowship Centre offered activity grants to Danida alumni with an open call in December 2017. The plan is to advertise open calls 1–2 times a year depending on the lessons learnt from the first round.
Looking ahead, a number of new local Danida Alumni Networks will be established in 2018 to nurture and encourage activities involving alumni and relevant Danish stakeholders so that all parties can enjoy the benefits of the network and the ties between Denmark and Danida alumni around the world.
Dr Cheikh Mbow
Executive Director, International START Secretariat.
The quarterly newsletter was relaunched in Mailchimp. The distribution list got an overhaul and maintenance and management was improved.
We produced text, video and photo content to fit the new social media channels and significantly increased the visibility of the programmes and activities Danida Fellowship Centre supports and promotes to external interest groups.
Result stories and other stories of interest were posted on a bi-weekly basis throughout the year on social media. The festive 25th anniversary and the Danida Alumni Prize award event in particular, attracted attention, as did an end-of-year competition that ran on all social media channels during December.
Researchers, Danida fellows and collaborating universities expressed their satisfaction with the new communications effort. Some contacted us to promote their results and success stories. In addition, selected external Danish media channels amplified the stories e.g www.globalnyt.dk and DR1.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed a new Board of Directors in 2017.
The Board consists of three external members and one staff representative. A representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is present at the board meetings as an observer.
We finalised the Strategy for the Danida Fellowship Centre for the period 2018-20.
Permanent staff at Danida Fellowship Centre totaled 17 at the end of 2017. An additional three staff will be recruited in 2018.
We arranged visa, travel and study stays and provided accommodation for 300 Danida fellows at the Danida Fellowship Centre in 2017, while 256 were provided with suitable accommodation at hostels outside Copenhagen or at hotels.
We also arranged evening debates and several excursions as part of introducing the fellows to Denmark in line with Denmark’s strategy for public diplomacy, one of the focus areas of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ globalisation strategy.
We managed research collaboration projects totaling DKK 140 million in 2017. Twenty-two new research collaboration projects and one Mobility Grant were granted.
We implemented capacity development activities for a total amount of DKK 33 million.
139 staff from 7 Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility partner countries came to Denmark in 2017 through the new DFC Scholarship Programme. 118 additional scholarships were approved for courses and studies in 2018.
An additional 352 staff of Danida funded partners in 31 priority countries joined the Danida Fellowship Centre’s interdisciplinary courses held in Denmark, Ghana, Uganda or Burkina Faso.
The final 34 BSU Master’s students completed their studies in Denmark in 2017, the vast majority with excellent results.
See also Facts & Figures 2017.
2018 direction and goals
When Denmark’s Finance Act 2018 was adopted in December 2017, it included an increase in the budget allocated to the Danida Fellowship Centre.
The budget allocation for the capacity development of partner institutions increased from DKK 30 million in 2017 to DKK 45 million in 2018. The allocation for development research and research capacity development totaled DKK 140 million in 2017. In 2018, this has been increased to DKK 225 million.
The budget increase for the Danida Fellowship Centre in 2018 reflects the Danish Government’s efforts to strengthen international cooperation across ministries through the Strategic Sector Cooperation Facility, introduced in 2015. It also accommodates the continued support to research and learning programmes in Danida’s priority countries.
We look forward to scale up our support to Denmark’s collaboration with low-income and emerging economies.
The Annual Report is part of our brochure 2017