Funding call: UCT sustainability campus projects

12 February 2020 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has made funds available for projects that are focused on establishing and/or strengthening the environmental, social and financial sustainability of the university on all of its campuses.

The project leaders, as the holders of the project funds, will be responsible for carrying out the individual projects. Each project team is expected to actively include professional, administrative support and service (PASS) staff, academic staff and students in project conceptualisation and implementation, so that outcomes are co-created by representatives of the full university community and have the quality of the institutional fabric at heart.

Proposals must cross over at least two areas of sustainability: environmental, social or financial. Proposals must also confirm which of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) the intervention will be addressing.

Examples of such projects are:

  • the co-creation of a sustainable food security programme across UCT
  • recycling in residences that enhances sustainable social engagement between students (as campus citizens) and the university staff
  • the co-creation of redesigned finance and human resources systems that assure agile management of research grants/contracts and sustainable relations with researchers through collaboration with PASS staff in finance, human resources, faculty offices, and information and communication technology services
  • the co-creation of solutions to tackle Scope 3 carbon emissions (from travel or procurement of goods and services) by proactively reducing indirect carbon emissions, while optimising business processes and saving costs at the same time. (This would require co-investigation across many layers of multiple PASS departments to achieve economies of scale and consistency of data systems, data collection, data processing and analysis, supply chain management, procurement strategies and policies.)

The current call is focused on the planning and design of such interventions (including a theory of change – see below) and how these could be implemented, with potential for pilot implementation components. Where actual implementation requires funding beyond the award amounts, the university will assist successful applicants to raise international grant funding or to fundraise where the benefit of the project to UCT is confirmed.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must be members of UCT staff, already appointed by UCT on permanent conditions of service, or on contract for the grant period. Joint staff (excluding registrars) who are on permanent conditions of service with their primary employer (UCT, the Western Cape Government or the National Health Laboratory Service) are similarly eligible.

Grant value and duration

There will be at least two awards that run for up to five years at a budget of up to R1 million per annum, making the maximum total for each award R5 million.

Deadline for submission of applications

A brief email signalling your intention to submit an application must reach by Wednesday, 19 February 2020. An application template will be sent to you on receipt of your email. Applications on the correct template must reach the Research Office by Wednesday, 1 April 2020.

Depending on the scope of the projects, at least two applications will be selected for funding and implementation, with the winners being announced at the gala dinner of the International Summit on SDGs in Africa, being hosted at UCT from 20 to 22 April 2020. Should no applications meet the criteria, UCT reserves the right not to award funding.

Application requirements

An application template will be sent to you on receipt of your emailed intention to submit, as indicated above.

The following will be required when filling out the application template:

  • Impact statement: This is a motivation (not more than 5 000 words) outlining the purpose and objectives of the project whereby campus sustainability will be achieved or enhanced, crossing over at least two of the required sustainability areas (environmental, social, financial), as well as the SDGs the proposals will cover. The statement must explain the extent to which the project will have the desired impact on UCT’s institutional fabric.
  • Methodology: The description of the methodology (not more than 2 500 words) must include identification of the lead UCT staff member and signed acceptance of their role, as well as an outline of the mechanisms whereby they will be active agents in co-creating the proposed outcomes.
  • Theory of change: The development of a project-specific theory of change that complies with the generic example.
  • Business/operational plan: Line-item budget, with timelines, taking into account the financial categories indicated below.
  • An inclusivity statement: This is a statement (not more than 2 500 words) that explains the experiences and commitments of the project leader and team to transformation and inclusivity and how that will shape the work of the team. Three areas that might be included in an inclusivity statement are 1) values related to transformation and inclusivity, 2) experiences working with diverse populations, and 3) future plans related to inclusivity. Evidence of prior consultation and buy-in from the proposed team members should form part of the inclusivity statement, as well as a description of the extent to which co-creation by the different constituencies will occur.
  • Abbreviated CVs of the project leader and key co-leaders.

Financial categories

Funds may be used for running costs, short-term contract appointments of staff, student bursary top-ups or postdoctoral fellowship top-ups.

Expense exclusions include office equipment (computers, laptops, etc), consultants’ fees, large equipment, and project management fees.

Conditions of awards

  • Successful applicants will be required to sign off on UCT’s standard conditions of grant, with the funding being released in the form of five 12-monthly tranches.
  • Release of funding will be dependent on satisfactory progress reports submitted annually, commencing 12 months after receipt of the award, with the first being made in July 2020 (project start).
  • Delivery of a presentation to the Leadership Lekgotla after two and a half years, and again at the end of five years (altered if the project duration is less than five years).
  • The proposals will be considered in the light of UCT’s current active work or feasibility studies to ensure that the projects do not duplicate work already in process but add to its innovation or introduce new areas of benefit. A list of current projects under way will be available with the proposal template and theory of change template.

Support for the application

The international grants team in the Research Office is available to respond to queries and advise on the development of theories of change.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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