Call for Research Proposals in Priority Areas of Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management (VIHSCM)



Kigali, Rwanda – January 2020. 



One vital part of health systems is an efficient supply chain management for the provision of health commodities technologies like vaccines, diagnostics, medications, medical equipment and products for family planning. 


The East African Community (EAC) established the EAC Regional Centre of Excellence (RCE) for Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management (VIHSCM) in 2015 at the University of Rwanda (UR) in Kigali in order to address challenges of vaccines and other health commodities supply chain management by strengthening the human resource capacity. Among the RCE’s objectives are achieving excellence in research and dissemination of knowledge that informs the evidence base and best practices for VIHSCM and innovation in VIHSCM. 

Even though the number of peer-reviewed publications on VIHSCM in the EAC region has increased over the past years, there is still a dire need for the creation and expansion of a more solid evidence base upon which to base policies and practices to improve the supply chain management of health commodities. Research conducted by national researchers, who have an in-depth understanding of the context and local realities, is lacking.

For this reason, the RCE-VIHSCM in collaboration with health supply chain management experts has identified gaps and key areas where further research on VIHSCM in the EAC is needed. This is the basis for the current Call for Research Proposals on VIHSCM and they are : 

Topic 1.  Access to essential medicines and vaccines 

Topic 2.  Use of innovation and technologies in PSM 

Topic 3.  Effective management of vaccines

Topic 4.  Supply Chain workforce : availability and strategies to build HR

Topic 5.  Medicine quality

Topic 6.  Financing of medicines


Through a competitive process of selection, funds will be provided to successful research proposals in these areas. The research proposal should ensure specific emphasis on promoting equitable access to vaccines and medicines. Therefore, the needs of marginalized groups and the rest of the population should be considered, and where possible data should be disaggregated by sex, age and socioeconomic quintiles in the analysis plan.

Applications are invited to pay specific attention to the following cross-sectional issues : access to medicines and Universal Health Coverage ; Climate Change ; the involvement of the private sector ; medicines/vaccines in migration/disaster/outbreaks ; medicines for non-communicable diseases. In addition, research projects on one of the above topics that include or make comparisons between different EAC countries (cross-countries studies) are encouraged. 




Objectives of the grant

The general objective of the grant is to promote regional research capacity in the six priorities areas of VIHSCM in the EAC region.

The specific objectives of this call are to :

  • generate local knowledge relevant to the six priority areas
  • strengthen the link between evidence generation and health policy making
  • enhance experience exchange between the researchers in the EAC Member States
  • stimulate capacity building for research and interest of (junior) researchers in VIHSCM

Who should apply ? 

This Call for Research Proposals is open to all public universities and public research institutions in the EAC, as well as Government organizations with expertise in the VIHSCM based in the East African Community region. VIHSCM-related scientists, researchers and scholars based in EAC countries are encouraged to apply as well. However, the Principal Investigator (PI) shall be an EAC national. Nevertheless, the research team may include researchers from outside the EAC. Proposals respecting a gender quota of 30% for women will be prioritised. In addition, collaborations between research institutions from different EAC Partner States on multi-country proposals are encouraged

Award and duration

The award amount will be a maximum of EUR 20.000 for each proposal, and the research project shall be implemented within a period of 12 months from the date ethics (IRB) approval has been obtained. Grants are expected to be awarded in June 2020. 

Submission of research proposals

All proposals should be submitted in English language only via email at The applications must be signed, then scanned in PDF by the Principal Investigator and must be accompanied by a letter of support signed (PDF format) by the Head of the concerned institution. Unsigned copies will be considered incomplete and will not be processed. See the “Guidelines & Application Form” for more details and information.


The deadline for submission of completed applications is 15th April , 2020 at 5pm GMT. Any applications received after this date will not be considered. 


For more information, please contact Regis Hitimana, Research Coordinator, RCE-VIHSCM, at the Email :







Download the Guidelines and Application Form for the Call for Research proposals in Priority Areas of Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management (VIHSCM)
Grants for 2020-2021