DBD/OAD Infrastructure Call 2022

The Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), in partnership with DARA Big Data (funded by the Newton Fund), are pleased to announce a computing infrastructure call for proposals. The call is restricted to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the SKA Partner Countries. Those countries are: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia

This call seeks to help HEIs to build on their existing computing resources, which will in turn benefit students and researchers, in line with the objectives of DARA Big Data. Examples of what could be purchased include, but are not limited to:

  • Laptops and desktop computers
  • Associated hardware e.g. screens, keyboards etc
  • Networking hardware
  • Licensed software packages
  • High Performance Computing (HPC) equipment

Proposals from individual institutions will be accepted, however collaborative bids from several institutions (coordinated by one on behalf of the others) are encouraged. Each grant will be funded up to a maximum of £20k. 

Points to note:

  • Applicants must be from an institution in one of the above-named SKA Partner countries, applications received from elsewhere will not be considered 
  • If a collaborative bid is submitted a lead institution must collate the required information on behalf of their partners and submit a single application
  • Up to one bid per country will be funded
  • Please ensure that all relevant questions are answered in detail to allow a full and fair assessment of the application

Note that there are a limited number of awards to be made. Funds will be awarded based on the selection criteria below. We are keen to see national partnerships and collaborations develop as a result of this call. 


  • Applying institutions must offer teaching programmes that support the key themes of both the OAD and DARA Big Data (astronomy & astrophysics, and/or data science in relation to astronomy, agriculture and medical sciences)
  • Proposers should be able to provide a verified institution bank account through which funds can be paid if the project is selected for funding
  • All project team members listed in the proposal should have discussed the proposal and committed to executing the project
  • Proposals should ideally be submitted via the online Application Form before the deadline. However, if you are unable to submit the proposal online for any reason, you may contact us at least a week before the deadline to arrange for an alternative submission method. This includes anyone with visual or other impairments who may require assistance
  • Proposals should ideally be submitted in English since the selection process will be conducted in English. However, if you require assistance in translating your application or wish to submit in another language, please contact us immediately and at least 2 weeks before the deadline so we may try to make suitable arrangements

Selection criteria

A selection panel, consisting of members of DARA Big Data, OAD and the DARA Project, will score proposals based on the following selection criteria. The panel will score the response to each applicable criteria from 1 – 10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest):

  • The capacity of institution(s) to carry out proposed installations 
  • The institution’s need for updated equipment
  • The institution’s current usage of similar equipment
  • If applicable – the usage of previous equipment funding received from DARA and an assessment of the outcomes of it 
  • The feasibility of equipment to be ordered, installed on time and within the budget proposed
  • Cost effectiveness and evidence of strong collaborative work between institutions
  • Teaching programmes that support astronomy, astrophysics, and/or data science in relation to astronomy, agriculture, medical science or other development context.


Proposals should be submitted via the online application form by 23:59 CAT on Friday 6th May 2022.

Feedback will be provided by Friday 20th May 2022.

Grant agreements are expected to be negotiated, and grants paid, by June 2022. The full grant will be paid to the lead institution of each successful bid, and, where applicable, this lead institution will be expected to distribute the funding to all partners as outlined in the application.

All equipment should ideally be installed in institutions ready for use by 30 August 2022.

Questions relating to this call should be directed to Vanessa McBride at OAD: vanessa@astro4dev.org