How the Trust Identifies and Supports Research Projects
Over the last ten years, the Trust has established two main legume research consortia which it funds: the first in West African countries, focuses on cowpea, and the second, in East Africa countries, on common bean. The Trust's aim in these programmes is to bring the power of modern genetic methods, such as marker-assisted breeding techniques, to the improvement of crops. The Trust has worked with the grantees to design the project and to set in place appropriate funding for staff and consumables. In some cases we have provided molecular biology and pathology equipment and other resources.
Most existing grantees have joined these programmes by invitation. The projects are always built around an existing experienced legume breeder, located either in a National Agricultural Research Institute or a University. With few exceptions, research projects supported by Kirkhouse Trust are located in countries where local support of science is under funded.
The Trust is willing to engage with scientists whose interests fit within the Trust’s two main consortia (please see our projects page). However, the Trust prefers enquirers to make an initial informal approach to check if a project is likely to be successful, rather than submitting a formal application. It should be noted that most applications from institutions in countries where science is well developed and well-funded are likely to be rejected.
Application ProcessTypically, the application process will be as follows:
Applicants are asked initially to submit an outline application. This will include a brief description of the scientific aims of the project together with the proposed methodology and time scale to achieve these; and an outline budget to enable the funding implications to be gauged. The Trust will review the outline application and either decide to reject it at this stage, or invite the applicant(s) to move to:
Applicants will be asked to liaise closely with a Project Administrator to expand on the outline project application and to work up a more detailed budget. It is likely that a plant scientist will liaise with the Principle Investigator (PI) to discuss the proposed programme of research and firm up on a timeline and milestones.
When the detailed research project and budget have been agreed, a contract document will be drawn up by the Trust for signing by representatives of the Trust and the PI's home institution.
The Trust may elect to approve the budget for the first year of the project initially, and to fix the budget for future years based on the experience of the first year.