AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship 2019/2020 for Early-Career Researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa | Funding up to €70,000


Applications are invited from up-and-coming researchers residing in or wishing to relocate to sub-Saharan African for the 2019/2020 AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship. The deadline for submission of applications is 27th November, 2019.

AREF:EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship

Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) and the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) are jointly calling for applications from emerging researchers for the Preparatory Fellowships 2019/2020.



The purpose of the AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship is to enhance the competitiveness of up-and-coming post-doctoral sub-Saharan African scientists and clinicians aspiring to receive international/regional/national fellowships or grant support, such as the EDCTP Career Development Fellowships. The AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship targets outstanding early-career researchers residing in or wishing to relocate to sub-Saharan Africa, who demonstrate independent scientific thinking and have potential to deliver locally relevant research with measurable impact and within the scope of the EDCTP2 programme.

AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship Objectives.

The objectives of this call are to:

  • Enable outstanding sub-Saharan African researchers (0 to 3-year post-PhD) to
    • further advance their research skills, through short-course(s) and hands-on training, especially using biological samples and data they or their home organisations have generated;
    • strengthen their competencies in project and proposal design;
    • enhance essential generic/transferable researcher skills that will allow them to secure research partnerships, and make effective use of fellowships;
    • contribute to creating a pool of researchers optimally equipped with the expertise and skills to address local research needs.
  • Enable individuals to deploy their own resourcefulness and research relationships to best effect in competing for early/mid-career fellowships, such as (but not limited to) the EDCTP Career Development Fellowships;
  • Enhance career development and retention of postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate medical researchers in research in and for sub-Saharan Africa;
  • To provide a firm foundation and increase the quality, efficiency and impact of fellowship projects funded by organisations such as the EDCTP Association.

AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship Eligibility.

Open to outstanding early-career researchers residing in or wishing to relocate to sub-Saharan Africa, who demonstrate independent scientific thinking and have potential to deliver locally relevant research with measurable impact and within the scope of the EDCTP2 programme.

A proposal/application will only be considered eligible if:

  • its content corresponds, wholly or in part, to the topic/contest description for which it is submitted;
  • it complies with the eligibility conditions for participation set out below, depending on the type of action:
    • The applicant must be a legal entity established in sub-Saharan Africa (the applicant legal entity)*;
    • The fellow must be employed or have guaranteed employment by the applicant legal entity (the host organisation) where they intend to remain working for a minimum of two years after the expiration of the grant.
    • The applying fellow must:
      • be a post-doctoral scientist;
      • have been awarded their doctorate within 3 years before the submission deadline of the AREF-EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship application;
      • have been either a PhD student or MD, who have been active researchers for up to three years following award of their doctorate;
      • be a resident of or be willing to relocate to a sub-Saharan African country;
      • not have been funded under this fellowship scheme before**.
    • The requested EDCTP2 contribution per action shall not exceed EUR 70,000;
    • Placements sought shall be for a period of at least 3 and up to 9 months, following which there will be a re-integration period of up to 3 months. The maximum fellowship duration shall be 12 months.

AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship Funding.

  • Successful applicants will use the funding for a 3 to 9 months placement at a centre of research excellence in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa contracted to host the fellow before spending a 3-months re-entry re-integration period at the fellow’s home (employing) institution, making a total training period of up to 12 months. The re-integration project will be developed by the fellow with approval of the home institution so that it is aligned with its institutional research and human resources development plan.

AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship Expected Impact.

Projects funded under this call for proposals should:

  • Contribute towards the achievement of SDG3 ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’);
  • Enhance the ability of fellows to design, plan and execute clinical biomedical and/or social science/ethics research proposals, and manage research relationships within the scope of the EDCTP2 programme, and to generate competitive proposals and into effective projects;
  • Promote and enhance competitiveness for the next tier of fellowships and grants, such as (but not limited to) the EDCTP Career Development Fellowships;
  • Lead to high impact research outputs by junior sub-Saharan African scientists who have not been supported by major funders previously;
  • Foster new collaborations and mentorship opportunities for newly trained fellows;
  • Equip the next generation of African researchers to sustain excellent and relevant research in sub-Saharan Africa, and engage as African citizens with African leaders, policy-makers and industries to drive forward evidence-based health improvement.

How to Apply for AREF/EDCTP Preparatory Fellowship.

  • The application must be submitted online via EDCTPgrants;
  • Only registered users of EDCTPgrants system can apply for grants and therefore you are advised to register on the system as soon as possible.
  • Please click here to download the Word version of the application form.
  • Please note: this Word version serves as the full application form which should be submitted via the tab Proposal upload in EDCTPgrants.

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